Communication is key. Don’t let resentment foster; have those awkward painful conversations and grow from them.
Avoid “you” language in discussions. “You never take the trash out” “You are always nagging me”, etc. Use “I feel”. When you tell someone “you do this”, it puts them on the defensive, and it shuts down dialogue, because they’ll defend themselves rather than your perceptions. It’s much harder to argue against how someone feels, and it opens up more dialogue.
In most cases, when your spouse shares a problem with you, they do it because they want you to understand that they are having a problem, NOT for you to solve it for them on the spot. Most likely, your spouse KNOWS the solution, but right now they’re simply frustrated at the problem and just need an ear to listen.
This is huge. Took me a painful year to figure out. Small things don’t bug me, I’m very tolerant. After a few months of a prolonged annoying behavior before I communicated it bugged me… the conclusion from my wife was that I was building a huge case against her.
Another big thing is, establish that you’re never intentionally trying to hurt the other person (then stick to it!), once that’s established any disagreement is either a misunderstanding, or an unintentional wrongdoing.
My advice, just do the little shit. If your wife doesn’t like a messy sink, for example, just do the dishes. Seriously, just do them. Get into a routine and just knock them out. She’ll appreciate the effort to make her happy.
Also, never forget marriage requires compromise. It’s cliché for a reason.
(Getting married in 5 days. This thread is relevant to my interests.)
We’ve been together about 15 years, so I’ll still throw in my two cents. First things that come to mind are:
Keep dating. The longer we’re together, the more we look forward to escaping hectic life stuff together with a weekly (or, more realistically, every other week) date night with something as simple as getting out to a diner for an hour on a Tuesday night.
Being the first to say “I’m sorry” is more important that “winning” an argument.
I’ve been married for nine and a half years, will be 10 in September. We’re faithful to each other and I would say mostly happy or at least content. There have been good times and bad. Through the good we have been there for each other to enjoy it, and through the bad to support each other without regard for fault or cause.
My problem was that I didn’t care terribly much at first. It was stupid shit like not rinsing out dishes. I don’t care if they sit there for a few hours, but at least rinse out your oatmeal or protein shake so it’s not concrete or a hazardous material when you get to them.
Make sure you chose the right spouse. This is the most important choice you will ever make. Consult whoever you need to consult (God, Family, Friends). There should be no doubt in your mind. Now you may have doubts about future events or if you’ll be a good husband. But no doubts about her.
Burn your boats. You and your wife should be committed to this thing. Make sure you both have a “the only way out is in a casket” mentality. You guys are one solid team. Go all in: Joint bank accounts, make major decisions together etc…
Put her needs before your own. You are about to be a husband. Husbands provide: financially, emotionally, spiritually and any other area she needs. You can be a selfless provider without being a doormat.
Learn how to disagree like grown ups. No marriage ever ended when things were going well. You need to know that when the poop hits the fan that you’ve got each other’s backs. Even if you disagree. Practice disagreeing and hashing out situations (fun game really). Don’t air your problems, solve them in house.
Women can be irrational at times, and you won’t understand why she’s upset. It may not even be at you. You won’t be able to fix the problem right then. This is really frustrating. Take a breath, shut up and be there for her.
Try to empathise with her problems, not just fix them. I’m terrible at this. She has to know you give a shit.
Make spending decisions together. Money problems and resentment tear up marriages. Doesn’t have to be the Spanish inquisition. Just a simple “Hey I’m thinking about buying _____ what do you think?” This is where the ability to hash stuff out helps. Get on the same page about your goals.
No secrets. You should feel safe telling your spouse anything about your life. If there’s something you’re doing or thinking that you’re ashamed of that says more about you then her.
Don’t cheat. Should go without saying. No sex with a stranger could be worth ruining your entire life. If you aren’t getting enough attention then it’s probably half your fault. If you treat her right she’ll keep the home fires burning.
Been married for just under 1 year, so perhaps my advice is somewhat less sage than a few others here, but I’ll throw another two cents in.
To this, I would add that you can almost always use positive language rather than negative language even in situations of conflict. Turn things into “We can…” and “Let’s try to…” instead of words like “never” and “don’t” etc.
I thought this was great as well. Whether you feel like you have one specific love language or not, there’s a useful framework in understanding different ways you & your spouse share affection for one another. It can open your eyes (and ears) to understanding ways that your spouse is showing affection that you might not be noticing, and
Agree, but a useful flip side is also “Don’t get too worked up over little shit, either.” You can make each other happier by doing the dishes, taking the trash out, and so on, but there’s almost never a good reason to hit the roof if he/she forgets to do a chore (on sparing occasions, that is). I’m a fairly neat person; my wife is on the messy side (leaving her purse on the floor, books on the coffee table, etc). Would I do this myself? No. Is it worth fighting over? Of course not.
Basement_Gainz hit on a lot of great stuff, but I’ll just highlight a couple:
^IMO, these are basically the same thing. It’s been mentioned several times, so all of us are in the same boat. Many of us start trying to fix a problem immediately; but what she really needs is a chance to air her frustrations and process her feelings first.
Well who needs marriage counseling when you get this stuff for free on here? Wow, I’m really impressed and agree with everything posted ahead of me. Been married 8 years, 9 in June.
I am also in favor of this. My wife and I got this at counseling after our first child was born. Our relationship turned into her against me because she turned into the super protective mother. We got the point that the very sight of each other made the other mad. I’d look forward to her getting home all day. She’d walk through the door and give me a bad look and it was over. I was mad; she was mad and neither of us had even said a word. We finally talked about it and figured out that she thought I was mad so she was giving it right back to me. I thought she was mad so I was getting abrasive and withdrawn. It was ridiculous!
Marriage takes effort and commitment. It’s not easy like the early stages of dating. You have to make the decision that she’s the only one, ever. There’s no way out when things get bad; you will see it through. After taking the 5 love languages test we learned that the things I valued/wanted most from her were the least important to her. It was the complete opposite for her. I value physical affection and my wife nearly zeroed out that category on the test. She desires words of affirmation and my score was more like “what’s that?” It is definitely not easy for either of us but if I put forth the effort to encourage her and make her feel like she’s doing a good job at work, as a mom, anything then I get a lot in return.
Money does not buy happiness but the lack of it can make life miserable. I suggest reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover or Financial Peace University. When your finances are in order and you’re on the same page there is almost no reason to stress. Sewer line collapsed? Well, crap. That’ll be $5000 to fix. That could add a bit of stress to life. But it didn’t for us. We had an emergency fund in the bank and just wrote them a check. It sucked, but it didn’t really phase us. I can’t imagine what we would’ve done if we hadn’t planned for unexpected things.
Our conversations regarding money typically consist of asking each other if we can spend a little extra on _____ and then how much are we putting into our savings at the end of the month.
Some advice that was given to me before we got married (8 years ago this month):
Try to make marriage feel like a 75/75 proposition rather than a 50/50 proposition. If you feel like you are getting as much as you are giving in a relationship, you’re probably the selfish one. On average and over time, you’ll tend to overestimate your own contributions and underestimate the contributions of your wife.
I have to say this is #1. I was married for 28 years to the wrong woman!!! At first it was good, we were young and screwed all the time, then the baby came and it was still ok. My daughter owned me 100% and i wasnt going to do anything to fuck up her life. After I went to school (both BS and MS) my world had expanded and my wife stayed the same, Even became more withdrawn over time. Her ignorance grew along with her stubbornness. After a while we stayed together for my daughter. I worked with alot of professional women who were super smart and funny and could talk about more than what kind of fucking make-up to wear!
Finally after the loss of one of my best friends to cancer, I realized: 1) that life is too short and 2) i was becoming an old man before my time because my wife refused to enjoy life. She hated people and crowds, etc. The highlight of my week was the trip to the grocery store. Finally I said fuck this and I left. It crushed her and my daughter was crushed too (daughter was in college at the time). She wrote me scathing emails about how we should have gone to counseling, tried harder, something… but I knew my wife would never change. Anyway, I met an awesome intelligent sexy woman who I married and my daughter finally saw how unhappy i’d been and how happy i am now.
I dont regret ending it but i do regret the pain i caused people.
Sorry for the long rant, the point is, you had better think about how you will feel about her after the sex peters out and the kids are gone and it just you two again.
I’m not married and I’ve never been formally. But I’ve already spent quite a few years under one roof with the woman I am currently with, so I hope what I write will counts.
First, crucial - Despite marriage, keep your individual life alive. Your friends, your own hobbies, your interests. Many men make the mistake of making their new wives their only world, which does not have serious consequences while the marriage/relationship is still fresh. Later on the story becomes completly different. Don’t let the river of comfort and deceptive security to carry you away. You’ll be drowned.
Second, crucial - Say no. Holding back the “No” when you actually feel like you should say it can literally ruin your life. It can be slow and painful. The bad thing is the element of surprise - the pain can come either in small portions or a single big one when you expect it the least. A woman who is in a disagreement with you will stick with you far longer than one who does not respect you. In fact, the way she responds to your dissagreement will project you how your life with her is gonna be.
When you say no, does she try her all best to show you that this can be unpleasant for both of you? Does she become upset? Does she purposedlly tells you that it is all fine with a stone face? Or does she ask you what else you can do together instead? Where else you can go together? The kind of response and reaction you get from her when you say No is the kind of life awaits you. Literally. Look carefully for that.
Third - Lead. Lead like a Tsar. The harder you hold the bridles of the carful, the more she feels good at the back seat. If you try to switch the seats, the carfful is going down in the river. The more initiative you take, the more control you’ll have over any outcome.
These are the big three that can save you a lot of headache, nerves and other things dear to you.
Agree that this is important - and one more addendum, it has to work in both directions. If the man wants to retain their semi-independent social life - an occasional Friday happy-hour with the boys, a weekend fishing trip, etc - the woman has that same right to a pedicure with the girls, and so on. My wife and I both want to spend a lot of our time together, but we still have some of our own friends and make a point to (sometimes) do those things with “our own” friends (typically not things that would interest the other partner, anyway, so it’s fine).
Thank you everyone for all the replies! I will definitely listen to the advice given!
We have been fighting a bit more lately, but I think that’s due to me just being a jerk and not truly listening to her. I will definitely make sure I tell her how I FEEL compared to just saying YOU to her. Thanks again everyone, I really appreciate it!