Not your average marriage advice post …
My husband Daniel caused an epiphany today just outside the Costco parking lot. We’d both ordered a super-sugary frozen coffee drink to take with us (nevermind that it’s January in Colorado). With two more stops to make, the caffeine would be appreciated.
After buckling up, I promptly reached for my cup and kept sipping. It was really sweet.
Three big swallows, and I examined it more closely. The tell-tale signs of chocolate drizzle. I could’ve sworn that mine didn’t have chocolate a minute ago…
I started laughing — glad I hadn’t lost my mind. As my cup sat smugly in the door holder, my husband’s chocolate-flavored coffee grew smaller by the second.
My giggling apology brought a smile to his face. “Marriage is about sharing the love … and everything else,” he replied.
I immediately pondered what the “everything else” could mean. Did I ever mention I’m an analyzer? Daniel laughed and said it just means everything else.
His statement was pure simplicity paired with a bottomless element of truth. It’s that jar in the Bible that could never be filled. Everything else pours steadily in for a lifetime.
What is that “everything else”?
It’s the good and the bad. The tragic and the triumphant. The funny and the not-so-funny. Drinks and fries that are yours, and the ones that are not. Inherited families, inherited furniture, kids that are yours, cats that are not, and the list continues with no end in sight.
Way above-average marriage advice…
I’ll go first.
And then, I’d like to do something extraordinary and out-of-the-box.
Because, honestly, as soon as my hubby said that earlier today, my blogger mind kicked into overdrive.
Let’s start an awesome marriage advice discussion for anyone who wants to contribute.
Now my brain is smoking … I’ve seriously already composed a Tweet, in my mind, to Ellen. I’m going to ask for a marriage advice video clip from Ellen (yeah …THAT ELLEN!).
And President and Michelle Obama. What’s the secret to their magic? [I’ve already written to them, and eagerly awaiting their response!]
What kind of amazing post could we all write together?
What kind of help — comic relief, funny advice on marriage, serious advice about riding out the bumpy parts, tips on living in the moment… that everyday good stuff — could we give others?
Here’s our marriage advice [then we’ll hand the mic over to you]
- If an amazing, out-of-this-world handsome Swiss man asks you to dance, SAY YES!
- Two years later, when you’ve found that your daughter has died, and that man still wants to marry your very broken soul … say YES.
- When you hit the unavoidable lulls, just imagine your life without that other precious heart. Go walking, try dancing, hold hands, or run to Costco and eat an oversize slice of pizza. Always remember that life is short.
- The “worst day” is only one … don’t let it define the others.
- Your significant other is your soul mate. Keep it that way.
- Enjoy all the quirks and habits of your partner. Look in the mirror when you’re tempted to complain about them.
Let’s hear from you — marriage advice that’s funny, serious, or in between
Here’s what we don’t need:
- Bashing-on-the-ex comments
- Advice and tips that aren’t helpful
- Avoid criticism of spouses
- Anything lewd or inappropriate
- Use common sense…
Marriage advice and tips we’d love to have:
- Funny anecdotes that are original to you and your marriage
- Serious advice and tips for couples
- Ridiculous things you’ve experienced together and the lesson learned
- Words of wisdom for the longevity of your partnership
- Sage advice on how to navigate life together
- What are your “everything else’s” … name a few
- Things you’ve lived through to tell the tale
How to contribute your own marriage advice
I’ll be reaching out to various people in my life, as well as well-known couples, people of interest, and family members who’ve stood the test of time. Daniel and I will most likely add to our own tips above as well.
We want to hear from you, too. Your tips and comments don’t need to be extraordinary, they just need to be yours.
Please … no quotes from others, famous quotes we’ve all heard, or experiences that aren’t your own. Be yourselves — share what you know. We can all learn and laugh together!
Leave your advice, stories, and wisdom in the comments.
Make them brief and to the point. We’ll work them into the article as they come in. I can’t promise to publish them all, but we’ll certainly try.
Marriage advice from around the globe…
Words of wisdom:
Charisty, Fire Dept. Family
“Do your best to split the housework, the chores and taking care of the kids. Working as a team for simple stuff, and having already established the basic daily communication makes it so much easier when things get hard to lean on your spouse.”
Russell and Maleah Barbour, Unconventional Prosperity
1. All that matters is you, your spouse and your love for each other. We
prioritize this over everything else.
2. We do our best to understand each other. For example, if one spouse has
a mental illness it is so important for you to be patient and
understanding with them.
3. We are two halves of a whole. Where she is weak I am strong and where
she is strong I am weak. I would be one sloppy mess without her! I turn
her ideas into reality in our businesses. We worked on this synergy and it
has really helped our marriage.
Carly, Mommy on Purpose
“I think the best marriage advice I ever got was this – The secret to not getting divorced is to decide not to get a divorce. The trick to making that work is to decide it together. Marriage has very little to do with the feelings we have, and much more to do with the decisions we make. (It all sounds very cliche when things are fine; it’s when you really want a divorce that this rubber hits the road!)”
Katie Lutz, Living the Stream
“The best marriage advice I received was when I was 9 months pregnant with my second baby. Another mom told me to make sure that my marriage came first. Your marriage is the rock of your family, you can’t let it crumble. It’s easy to focus on your kids and neglect your marriage. The best thing you can do for your family, is to keep your marriage healthy.”
Mallory Herrera, Mama on Parade
“The best advice I ever heard was that I was a wife first and a mother second. When my baby was born I put so much effort into making sure that he was taken care of that I completely forgot about taking care of my husband and our relationship.
Once I stopped stressing about the baby, I was able to take care of me, and in turn take care of my husband. It’s been night and day since then.”
Christina, Mom in the Six
“Kiss. Everyday. If you have children, show your affection to one another, in front of them too! It’s important to maintain the physical connection through the years.”
Myrtle Marie, DIY with My Guy
“Never keep score. Focus on what your spouse does right. Make a habit of being kind to your spouse, they will return the favor. My marriage thrives on daily kindness. ”
Kimi Kinsey, May the 4th Be With Us
“Never forget to take time together… to stop and laugh.
My husband and I have been married less than a year, but we’ve been together for 5. In those 5 years, we’ve managed to not get into any fights or really let stress get the better of us. And I attribute a lot of that to our ability to just laugh together.
My husband and I laugh every day together. We take time our of our busy lives to enjoy one another’s company. And I think we’ve got a long life ahead of us thanks to that.”
Andrea Tran, Breastfeeding Confidential
“I’ve been married almost 40 years. What’s good advice has changed over the years.
When we had two young kids we realized things were going south because we weren’t paying attention to each other. We started making date nights. We couldn’t afford to go out with a sitter, so after we got the kids down we’d pour a glass of wine and just sit and talk.
It was a relationship saver. We also would have nights where I’d make a really nice dinner. It was important to set aside time for us, even if we couldn’t afford to go out. Can’t argue with 40 years.”
Amy Brotherman, My Three Readers
“Don’t discuss deep topics when you’re tired, let the little things go, and always find something to laugh about together. ❤️”
“Choose to be married every day. Marriage is a choice you make every day. Some days it’s really easy. You look in the eyes of your spouse and see the person you fell in love. Or, even more reasons to fall in love with them again.
Other days it’s hard. Your spouse didnt pick up their dirty socks again. You’re feeling distance, unconnected… alone. You’re tempted by the overly flirty attention. But you choose marriage and every day you need to see it as a choice, for both of.”
Ilana Schattauer, Life Well Cruised
“After 25 mostly fun years of marriage, my best piece of advice is to travel together. Have adventures, discover new places or things, laugh, have fun, and relax. If you can make time to enjoy each other’s company, you’ll have a happy marriage ❤️. Life’s about more than paying bills and a mortgage 🙂.”
Chhavi Agarwal, Mrs Daaku Studio
“Every relationship takes work and so does marriage. You have to consciously try to keep that spark alive between you and your spouse which made you marry him/her. I am not talking about over the top gestures, small and cozy works too! So, don’t stop dressing up or admiring your spouse..
Also, instead of assuming what your spouse is going to do or say, take time out to communicate without making any assumptions. With time and circumstances, a lot of things changes and it is off-putting if you don’t allow the other person to tell their side of the story.”
Cheryl Schmitt, Simplher
“Be kind…it doesn’t matter about what you did for your spouse if you said unkind things to them. Once words are out you can’t take them back.”
Audrey Marshall, Mommy Enlightened
“Remember that marriage is a promise, not a guarantee. Be grateful when your partner chooses to give you something–even something as simple as their time. Their time is given, not owed.”
“Get back to basics and Be kind and appreciative of what your spouse does. Even if they’re not doing everything YOU want them to do still thank them for what they’re doing. Appreciation fosters kindness and respect and makes spouses WANT to do more for each other.”
Raquel Boyes, Pretty Easy Life
“Don’t ever take for granted the fact that you have a partner to go through life with. It is a precious partnership that makes life grand, fun and happy!”
Sarah Carrido, Foxy’s Domestic Side
“A relationship shouldn’t be 50/50, it’s got to be 100/100, sometimes your partner will need more from you, other times you’ll need more from them. Don’t go through life/marriage trying to make everything fair and equal because that’s not how life works plus it’s exhausting keeping track.”
“Pick your battles. Not everything has to be a source of tension. You have to know when to stand your ground and when to give.”
Amanda Mitchum, AmandaMitchum.com
“Choose to be happy, and laugh every day.
When he goes out of town (which is often), we sing the song from Armageddon. (“I’m leavin on a jet plane…) It’s fun and makes it less sad.
Also, when you get mad at them, instead of yelling, buy them a small something (a candy bar, or a soda, or something similar). It will change the entire atmosphere and your ill feelings will disappear. It works!”
Judy Karlin Rubin
“Be considerate and don’t assume.”
Bianca Spano, The Strawberry Onion
“The relationship between you, your spouse, and God is the most important thing. Keep dating your spouse because any flame will eventually die if it sits stale.
Always remember to communicate no matter how hard it may be and with communication comes compromise! Have fun, be silly, and make each other laugh!
Shawn Findlay, Abundant Blogger
“My wife and I have been married 20 years. Don’t be a score keeper, don’t keep records of wrong, forgive each other and start fresh after disagreements or arguments.
Be supportive emotionally for your spouse, lift them up with encouraging words, be their cheerleader whether he or she is winning or going through a tough time.
Don’t be self-focused; we have all heard the term, “there is no “I” in team”. It’s the same in our relationships. It is a unity of two. It is a team. If one falls, the other must be there to catch them.”
“A trick that has worked for my husband and me. Do-overs!
Every once in a blue moon when things are particularly stressful, we’ll have a fight that somehow escalates out of control. Feelings get hurt. Egos bruised. It can even last a whole day or two. These don’t happen often, maybe once a year or two. But when they do, one of us will often suggest a “do over.” It’s a habit that neither of us knows where it came from, but we realize that everything that was said and done during the fight was completely irrational and not helpful. Instead one of us will ask for the do-over.
As soon as its initiated, the tension falls, the apologies flow easily and peace is restored. We both know that basically, it means nothing that was said or done counts. And we just agree to drop it and start fresh. No resentment allowed, no more bringing it up. It works for us, and ends what would be a long-winded pointless hurt fest.” Stormy, Pregnant Mama Baby Life
Trinity Owen, The Pay at Home Parent
“Marriage is a partnership, not a competition. I find that when my husband and I are not where we should be, we start to compare incomes, work hours and even who’s spent the most time playing with our son.
But that’s treating marriage as a competition and it’s not the way to look at it! Instead, tell your spouse how thankful you are for what they’ve done recently (and ignore the urge to tell them what you’ve accomplished in the same sentence).”
Ashleigh Allman, Smart Cents Mom
“The best marriage advice I received is to choose the hill you want to die on carefully. You are going to fight in your marriage, but you don’t have to fight about every little thing that drives you crazy. Think about what is really bothering you about the situation and if you decide to bring up the issue do it when you are both calm. Realize that compromise is going to be an important part of marriage.”
Amy Esplin White, So Goes Life
“Sometimes it is okay to go to sleep angry! I’ve found that having “discussions” when I’m tired never helps the situation. Some days it is better to get a good nights sleep and then talk about the issues when you are fresh and ready to face a new day.”
Marriage advice with a little humor:
“They key to a happy marriage is giving your spouse as much grace as you expect to receive, sticking to each other like gum on a shoe through the valleys of life, and ALWAYS using separate comforters!”
Sonila Cami, Mediterranean Latin Love Affair
“If you are in a multicultural marriage, watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Fools Rush In over and over and over:)). Chances are one of you will roll their eyes at something the other’s family does. Try not to compare families in front of your partner or the kids, even if your father in law sprays Windex everywhere 😂.
Work at getting to know the essence of the person you married, after all as they get older some of those habits they learned as a kid will come back little by little. Maybe they like to listen to music in Spanish all day long or you like to add feta cheese to every meal you eat! That’s who you married, don’t try to change who they are!”
Sara Bacon Conklin, Frozen Pennies
“Earplugs. As a wife of 26 years, I value sleep and my sweet husband is louder than a chainsaw. I would not sleep at all and would be miserable and resentful the next day.
If the children woke in the middle of the night (they are 17 and 20 now) he would get up to check on them. I think that earplugs saved our marriage! :)”
Becky Fisher, Simple and Sane
“Our 40th anniversary is in two weeks. We’ve decided it’s because we’ve both heard how good the food is in prison.
We’d been married a few months and I decided to make Chicken Parm for dinner. It ended up looking like a cow patty and completely unappetizing. What followed involved a broken unbreakable plate and a few choice words and me wielding a chair like I was a lion tamer.
Hilarity did NOT ensue and it took 40 years for me to attempt Chicken Parm again – but totally redeemed.
Seriously, though, my best marriage advice is to remember you’re a team. You’re working for the same goals. Little annoyances should stay little and the big ones should be addressed. And learn how to bend.
The joke at our house is about how good prison food tastes is all due to Chicken Parm – the first time 🙂 When I’d put a new recipe on the table he’d say, “Is this better than prison food?” and I’d always answer. ‘We’ll see.'”
Tiffany Barry, Mom Goes Mental
“Just buy a separate tube of toothpaste. There are always going to be more important things to fight about.”
“23 years happy! Hubs always says “Same Team” we are on the same team. It always works when I get a little PMS cray cray….”
Tessa Rose, Tessa Rose Designs
“I have been married 2 years and my silly/ extremely helpful advice is to watch the Steve Harvey show together with your spouse and laugh about the ways humanity shares the inevitable reality of marriage conflict trigger and resolution. Steve provides humour and realistic advice and we always have a great takeaway!”
Crystal Lynn, Mommy Thrives
“My best marriage advice is to ALWAYS keep communicating with each other. I don’t mean just talk about your day or your feelings but become each others best friends.
Robert and I often get completely lost in a conversation with each other about ourselves, each other, plans, goals, and our future. We lean on each other and we grow as individuals together. Be each others best friend and everything else gets easier.”
Tracie Fobes, Penny Pinchin’ Mom
“Talk. Talk about everything — especially money. You have to both be on the same page with your spending, savings and goals. If you aren’t you will feel resentment towards one another.
That means not hiding your purchases and having a budget you create together. Your money is not mine or theirs – it is ours. You need to treat it as such.
This does not mean you can’t still spend money on what you want. Not at all. Set rules such as any purchase of more than $100 must be discussed. You can also give yourself free money in the budget each week. This is what you can spend on anything you want — without having to discuss it (well, within reason, of course ;-).
Even when money is tight talk about it. The more open you can be about your financial relationship, the stronger it will be.”
Jill Vera, Organizational Toast
“The best marriage advice I ever got was from a Psychic! She told me and my husband to always maintain respect and that it was the most important thing for our marriage. Truth be told, I don’t think her psychic powers were part of that message!
We do work hard to communicate respectfully (even when we are angry!) And even after 10 years we continue to maintain a high level of respect for each other.”
Ashley Kosky, Unveiled Tales
“We communicate respectfully with one another. When we have a disagreement/get upset with one another, we go to different rooms to get our thoughts together to a point where we can talk things out calmly. And, we compromise when we don’t agree on things. It’s been working for 12 years for us, so we must be doing something right.”
Taylor Nicole Lee, The Accomplished Family
“ALWAYS share what you feel. Do not let it build up inside and hope it will go away. It’s important to be upfront about how you feel about everything. Staying bitter doesn’t work in a marriage, communication is key!”
Kate Martin, KateMartin.co
“Talk. Always talk. Not talking – not communicating – breeds resentment. It makes you stressed, angry, frustrated. If it’s something you’re having difficulty with, take a shower together. It’s hard to get too upset when you’re naked and standing under hot water.”
Hayley Muncey, Miss Manypennies
“Talk and listen, even when it’s hard. If you don’t talk about how you’re feeling you can’t work through it together, and in the same way, if you don’t listen, you can’t hear.
The best advice we were given recently is to remember you stand shoulder to shoulder – that way you face anything that comes together.”
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