Advice That Might Save Your Marriage, According to Reddit
Get. Your own. Blanket.
Advice That Might Save Your Marriage, According to Reddit
No one gets married expecting to get divorced. About 40-50 percent of marriages, however, end in divorce in the U.S. As for the rest, just because they stay married doesn't mean they're happily married. It's the handful of folks who seem to have cracked the happy marriage code that we want to emulate. You know, the cute old couple holding hands in the park as if they've never gotten into a yelling match over paper towels or in-laws in their lives.
We took to Reddit to find out what married couples who have gone the distance can teach the rest of us. The gems we found might not replace couple's therapy, but they're guaranteed to give your relationship a push in the right direction.
Take Care of Each Other, Only More Specific
"'Don't do anything that will make the other person's day more difficult.' Simple, but still the best advice I've ever received. Miss ya', Gramps." — StixxEnormous
Before getting married, it's easy to underestimate how much your lives will intertwine once you tie the knot. Everything that happens in the home has a ripple effect. If you don't take the trash out like you said you would, your partner is stuck scrambling to take it out the next morning when they're already late for work. Little things like that add up. Don't let them.
*Note: Responses have been edited for grammar, punctuation and conciseness.
Remember Your Spouse Comes First, Always
"Someone once told me 'once you get married your wife becomes your family and your family become your relatives.' It really helped me through any stressful family gatherings, knowing we had each other’s backs, being our own team." — johnthestarr
When you get married, you're starting a new family. Your own parents and siblings still matter, but their opinions or demands are no longer the most important ones. If it comes down to it, always back your partner up. Even if you disagree with them, that's a discussion to have in private. You're a team, so never throw each other under the bus, even when your overly involved aunt has a point.
If You're Already Married, This One Might Be Too Late to Hear
"As Rita Rudner said about changing your SO, 'That pie’s baked. If you want a different flavor, get a different pie.'" — SMKnightly
You and your partner should always be in the process of growing together. If you've had a major hang up about them from day one, however, you're in for a rude awakening. You're not going to change their sense of humor, their taste in music, their love language or anything else that's a significant part of their personality. If there's that much about them you want to change, we hate to say it, but maybe they're just not the one for you.
Have Fun Doing the Normal Stuff
"The advice I’ve given people is this: if you can go grocery shopping with your person and have the best time ever, you have yourself a keeper. It’s all about making the best of the mundane things, because after years of being together, life becomes predictable. You’ll need to keep the spice going, regardless of what you’re doing. Source: married 15 years." — LemonFizzy0000
The honeymoon phase is fun and all, but when it's over, you're not sharing a dream life. Instead, you're waking up to a shared reality. Date nights and surprises are always encouraged, but most of your life isn't spent going to dinner or trying out axe throwing. You have to run errands, clean the house, pay bills and walk the dog, so figure out how to have fun doing ordinary things together. The live, love, laugh signs are cheesy and overdone, but they're not wrong.
Don't Try to Be Their Whole World
"Know that you cannot be everything to your spouse. Allow them 'alone' time where they can regroup or enjoy a hobby. When they greet you, they will be recharged and ready to enjoy time with you." — MsLiz535
You can — and should — be the center of each other's worlds. You don't need to be the entire thing. It's healthy to give each other space to spend time with friends, take up a new sport or craft, or just be alone. Space gives you both room to breathe.
Fight Problems, Not Each Other
"If you win a fight, you didn’t. Fights in marriage aren’t win/lose. Unless you end up finding common ground, you BOTH lose and it makes your marriage weaker. Forty years." — EVRider77
We totally understand the temptation to try to "win" arguments, but who's the winner if your best friend in the world feels misunderstood or like they got the short end of the stick? Married or not, you're two different people. You're not going to agree on everything. In a healthy relationship, it's important to be able to trust that your partner wants you both to be happy, not just to be right or get their way. It takes practice, so don't feel bad if you still argue from time to time.
The Whole 'Never Go to Bed Angry' Thing Isn't Always Sound Advice
"It’s ok to go to bed upset. Sometimes you just need some sleep." — SuperTFAB
It's a nice concept overall, but it glosses over one major detail: Human emotions are influenced by way more than the situation at hand. If you both had exhausting days at work, one of you is starving and the other hasn't gotten a full night of sleep in a week, the odds of having a productive, mutually beneficial discussion are slim to none. If tensions are running high, it's okay to put a pin in it. Let everyone cool off, get some rest and revisit the issue when you're both recharged.
No Secrets, Period
"Eighteen years here.
DON'T KEEP SECRETS FROM EACH OTHER.
Now, I don't mean you can't have surprise birthday and Christmas presents. I mean don't have locks on your phones the other doesn't know. Don't go out with the boys and say you are working late. Don't lie to each other. Don't hide things from each other. Be open with one another. Everything you do will affect the other one way or another, so let them know, or at a minimum do not hide it. Keeping secrets is a sure way to breed mistrust, and is a path which leads to misery." — EbenSquid
Surprise parties aside, be transparent. You don't have to go tell your partner their fedora looks stupid, but don't hide things from them just because it's easier. Don't pretend you're working late when you're really just going out for drinks with friends. Don't hide your internet history from them. Trust each other enough to be open with them, always.
Comparison Is a Thief of Joy
"Your marriage is your marriage, not anyone else's. Don't try to compare your marriage to other married couples. Just because the Jones vacation together every year doesn't mean you have to. My wife and I take vacations together, but we also take short solo vacations. It's ok to spend time apart and have separate interests.
Understand that you both will continue to grow and change as people. Be willing to accept that with yourself AND your partner. It's ok that you are not the exact same person as when you got married." — Deleted account
Especially with social media around, it's hard not to compare your relationship to the seemingly perfect ones shoved down your throat 24/7. Remember, those are just snapshots. An Instagram post doesn't tell the whole story. Even in person, a happy couple on the outside isn't always happy behind closed doors. Don't worry about others. Focus on your own marriage and do what works for you, not what works for the neighbors.
Don't Expect Your Partner to Always Know Why You're Upset
"Your SO cannot read your mind. If something is wrong, talk it out. Don’t let the fear of discussion poison your relationship. Be kind, be honest and be the one who loves the most." — DsDaisy
Sure, some things should be obvious, but remember that you and your partner are different people. You come from different backgrounds and see the world through the filter of your own unique experiences. It's no wonder that you think differently. Assuming they don't care just because they don't automatically know what's wrong is setting both of you up for disappointment and frustration. It's also not fair. Just communicate. As your understanding and compassion for each other deepen, you'll gradually start knowing what they're thinking without them saying a word.
With Your Spouse, Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve
"BE VULNERABLE! I spent way too long not sharing my feelings (good and bad) because I didn’t want to appear weak or thought he’d think I was silly. We’ve been married 14 years, have four kids and our relationship is a million times better and more intimate (think lovey-dovey) than when we met/engaged/first married.
Also, you’ll go through seasons of marriage. Set your expectations now. Sometimes you won’t feel as close — and that’s okay. Life gets busy, tragic events happen, etc. It just takes time and effort to make your relationship a priority, which is a good segue into my final point...
If/when you have children, put your relationship first. One of the best gifts you can give your children is an example of a healthy marriage, which means prioritizing your spouse." — lindseytheunicorn
There's no place for stoicism in a marriage. Being strong for each other is one thing, but you have to know your spouse's deepest fears to know how to be strong for them. Open up about how you feel, whether you're happy as a clam or in desperate need of more quality time. The more challenging life gets, the more important vulnerability becomes. If your marriage lasts a lifetime, it'll weather job changes, family turmoil, loss and everything in between. Your partner is the one person who's in it with you, no matter what. Let them in!
Don't Hold Your Partner Responsible for Your Own Happiness
"25 years. Your spouse is not responsible for your happiness, you are. If you spend your time trying to change them, you're going to be miserable. Don't get too serious. Be silly with each other. Laughter can save just about anything. There will always be a clogged drain, flat tire, crying baby or squeaky door. If you can laugh through it, you'll be ok." — Dr_Whos_Cat
If you don't make each other happy at all, that's different. If you're lonely, bored, unhappy with your job, unfulfilled or just about anything else, don't put that on your spouse to fix. That's on you. Self-care shouldn't end when you start dating, get engaged or walk down the aisle. Continue taking care of yourselves and working on personal growth. You'll be better equipped to care for each other if you start from within.
This One Should Be Easy
"Dad said 'Be kind even if you’re not feeling it. Maybe especially if you’re not feeling it.'" — Deleted account
We all learned it in kindergarten: Be nice. That's it. Be nice even when you're hurt, angry or frustrated. Being upset with your partner is never an excuse to be a jerk in response. Anger happens, but don't let it control how you speak to each other. Always remind each other that you're not going anywhere, because under the temporary fury is the love and respect you've always shared. Don't let a fight make you forget that it's there.
Do What Works, Even If It's Not the Norm
"There's some great advice in this thread but here's something that often gets overlooked: Don't try to share blankets in bed. Just each have your own [expletive] blankets. It's just such a simple solution to nightly tug of war and your farts are mostly contained under your own blanket." — Ziaki
What's "normal" just means what's average. Average doesn't mean better, does it now? If what most people do doesn't work for your marriage, who cares? Do your own thing. Some couples can't sleep well while sharing the same bed, so they snuggle and then sleep on their own. Some couples love working together. Others can't stand it. Both are fine. And get your own blanket. Trust us on that one.
Don't Take a Single Moment for Granted
"Always act like it's the last time you'll see them because it might be. My mother passed last year at 45 from her second bout with cancer. In the middle of the night. My dad said he's glad he stayed up later to spend a few more minutes with her. To tell her he loved her. You never know when you'll never see them again.
Also, pride doesn't belong in your marriage. If you have any self-pride leave it at the door. Both you and your partner serve each other and support each other, each putting the other first and accepting that [the other is] giving it their all even if their all isn't what it was last month." — Dwarven_Archer97
In the heat of an argument or a string of stressful weeks, life feels pretty dang long. It's not. Recall how quickly you got to where you are now. How it was just yesterday that you met, and now you're sharing an entire life. How soon it will be the holidays, and then spring break, and summer vacation, and your birthdays and somehow another year has gone by. And another.
And another, until there aren't any days left. We never know when we'll run out of time to hold our partner's hand or to put down our phone to spend 10 minutes talking and doing the dishes together. You got married because you love each other, so show them every chance you get.