Marriage No-Nos for Newlyweds to Ensure Wedded Bliss
The wedding was the happiest day of your life. All the family and friends gathered. The partying. The cake. The booze. The dancing. The gifts. Being the absolute center of attention for one amazing day.
It’s said that comedies end with a wedding while tragedies begin with one. Whether that’s true in fiction, for real life, the wedding is really just the beginning of a lifelong, committed relationship with your spouse. That means work — a lot of work.
Getting lazy and comfortable in your marriage isn’t an option if you want to have a healthy and long-lasting relationship with your beloved. We’ve combed through a variety of sources to bring you the best marriage advice on what not to do as you transition into newly wedded bliss. You can thank us later!
Don’t Forget Your Anniversary
Celebrations are important. It’s why we gather for birthdays, Christmas and the 4th of July. They are, as Jean Shepherd once said “mileposts” giving our lives a sense of continuity. The same is true for your marriage anniversary, whether it’s your first, 7th, 31st or 75th if you’re so fortunate.
A big trip or party for a 10th, 20th or 25th is a good idea, but even token gestures like flowers, chocolates or just a nice anniversary dinner with your sweetie are lovely ways to mark the occasion — and to remember why you two came together in the first place. Trust us, you’ll sometimes need the reminder!
Don’t Stop Being Friends With Your Spouse
Ideally, your spouse is not only your partner but also your best friend. The person whom you can turn to to share any burden or joy, who will always be on your side. This doesn’t mean you have to like all of the same things, and you can of course disagree, but as with any friendship, a marriage must be based on mutual respect.
You’ll probably encounter long-married couples who seem to actively dislike one another. (It’s said you can love someone without liking them, which is sad.) This is a terrible situation to be in, and it goes to show once again that if you can’t even be friends with your spouse, it’s all but impossible for love to blossom.
Don’t Stop ‘Dating’ Your Spouse
Remember how excited you were when you and your sweetie made a Friday night date for dinner, a movie, maybe some music and cocktails, and then capped it all with some … milkshakes? Dating doesn’t end when you get married, and many experts say that continuing to “date” your spouse is rather healthy for the relationship.
This can be as simple as going out for mini golf or having a special night in with pizza and a movie. The key is to keep enjoying one another’s company, no matter if the activity is prosaic or banal.
Don’t Slack on the Bedroom Fun
Back in the day (or so we’ve been told), people didn’t know much, if anything, sexual about their spouse until the wedding night. Thanks to modern birth control and shifting societal mores, premarital sex is pretty much the norm in the 21st century, with only 5 percent of women walking to the altar as virgins, according to one study.
This means that in all but the rarest instances couples have had sex long before getting hitched. Thus, like any “old” habit, bedroom activity can become routine or, dare we say it, even boring. To keep this from happening, spice up the fun between the sheets with new positions, role-playing or even (cover your mom’s ears) watching erotica together.
The only rule here is that the activity must be consensual and within the bounds of comfort for both partners. Who knows, you might even discover a naughty side to your spouse you never knew was there. See where it goes!
Don’t Think of ‘Boredom’ as a Bad Thing
Comedian Chris Rock said that you know you’re in a good marriage if you are bored out of your mind because only bad relationships are “exciting.” (To watch the rest of his hilarious, but very NSFW routine about marriage, click here.)
AARP, which knows a thing or two about longevity, has recommended ways to stave off marital boredom, including taking a road trip together or even engaging in a philanthropic cause together, which keeps you growing both as a couple and individually.
Rock said the choice in life is between loneliness and boredom, but we believe excitement in your marriage doesn’t need to have a shelf life.
Don’t Forget That Commitment Means Just That
Remember being single and no one paid attention to you? But when that ring slipped on your finger, suddenly you’re getting a lot of extra attention. That’s because being married drastically ups your “market value” as someone who believes in commitment. And that’s catnip to certain others, who see that wedding ring on your finger not as a barrier but a challenge.
This might mean a lot of flirts headed your way, and while it’s nice to be liked, stay strong! Even if Susie or Johnny never gave you the time of day when you were single, you’re married now. So take the attention as a compliment, but be firm that you’re off the market. If the other person doesn’t get the message — or you’re feeling tempted — it’s time to cut him or her out of your life.
Don’t Get Lazy With Bad Habits
It used to be so exciting when your significant other came over, and you’d spend hours cleaning up the house, washing the dishes, tossing out those crusty motorcycle magazines and putting on a fresh shirt after not showering for three days. This is because when “courting” (what a horribly antiquated term), you wanted to present your best self to keep your lover around.
Once you’re married, be mindful not to slide back into bad habits like leaving dirty undies on the bathroom floor or using a large wooden spoon to shovel macaroni and cheese into your mouth from a salad bowl. Try to ask yourself: How would I behave if I was still trying to “win” this person?
Don’t Unfairly Divide Up Responsibilities
The garbage needs going out on Monday nights. Someone’s gotta take Fido to the vet. Oh, and here come those cable and electric bills. And who’s going to mow the lawn this week? What about prepping dinner?
An equitable marriage means that both partners tackle all the boring household bits. If only one person is putting in the effort, trouble will surely follow.
Don’t Let the Benjamins Get You Down
It’s sad, but money woes are one of the biggest issues that drive people into couple’s counseling. Sharing a life means sharing your financial resources, so both parties have to be on the same page as far as living within your means. Taking on too much debt can kneecap even the best union — especially if the debt saddles one partner more than the other.
Sure, you’d love to install a pool, but can you really afford it right now? If it’s a split decision, it’s best to err on the side of caution and save the money for later.
Don’t Stop Having Hobbies
Date nights and couple activities are important, but so is having a life away from your spouse. As much as you love each other, it’s guaranteed your spouse will have a passion project you couldn’t care less about, be it knitting scarves, souping up dirt bikes in the garage or plowing through the collected writings of Tolstoy.
Give one another the space to enjoy hobbies, and also be supportive of such endeavors and ask questions. Offering engagement in your spouse’s hobbies shows that their happiness is important to you, which in turn will make you both happier.
Don’t Stop Spending Time With Friends
Just because you’ve tied the knot doesn’t mean you will (or should) stop hanging out with your pre-marriage friends. Chances are, your spouse’s friends were in their life a long time before you came around, and thus they probably know your spouse in a deeper way than you do. This is why these are the people you or your spouse might go to for advice not only about life in general, but about your marriage. Quality friends give honest feedback about your well-being — and your spouse’s.
Remember: Having fun times with friends away from your spouse actually makes you miss one another.
Don’t Stop Making New Friends
It’s important that, as you and your spouse start a new life together, you grow not only as individuals but as a unit. This means meeting other couples and new single people in your orbit.
Lifelong buddies are super important, but so is making new friends as adults — and as a couple. As you expand your social circles, you and your spouse will encounter people unlike yourselves, which will make you grow individually and together.
Don’t Forget to Ask for Marriage Advice
As shocking as this might be, chances are whatever you’re encountering as a newlywed, it’s happened to someone else before — probably many someones. This is why it’s important to get advice from folks who have been there, whether it’s a friend, coworker, someone from church or, if you’re comfortable inquiring, your own parents.
Good people in your circle will be happy to share their thoughts on marriage, but if you can’t find someone to vent to, consider finding a counselor.
Don’t Spend Energy Thinking About Your Spouse’s Exes
In our interconnected world, it’s too easy to cyberstalk your spouse’s ex-partners, even if there’s no chance you’ll ever meet them. In most cases, it’s best to let the past be the past, and if your spouse has married you, they’ve moved on from their former lovers — even the ones they were mad for before you came into the picture.
While knowing your spouse’s romantic history will give you insight into what they view as important in a relationship, spending mental energy comparing yourself to their exes is unhealthy — and counterproductive. Rather, be content in the fact that you won the prize.
However, not all exes are gone forever, which leads us to…
Don’t Be Mean to Your Spouse’s Exes
Some romantic relationships end amicably, with partners successfully transitioning into an immediate or eventual friendship. These relationships (lowercase-R) can be among the most important and long-lasting in your spouse’s life. In fact, exes can actually provide some pretty stellar advice given they know what it was like to date your partner — and maybe point out how to not repeat some past mistakes.
Of course, certain former partners might still carry a torch for your spouse. If this is the case, you need to discuss with your spouse why that friendship perhaps needs to end for the good of your marriage.
Don’t Panic If You Still Think About Sex With Other People
This can be uncomfortable to ponder, but humans are programmed by millions of years of evolution to want to pass on our genetics to the next generation. Ya know, doin’ it! Thankfully, in our “civilized” time, we have developed morals and ethics to dissuade us from seeking sexual experiences outside the marriage. But this doesn’t mean that you’ll stop fantasizing about other people, be it an ex-partner or an attractive shopper at the grocery store.
If you find yourself fantasizing about someone else, fear not, as this is incredibly common and, in most circumstances, not something to worry about — even if you occasionally fantasize about someone else during sex with your spouse. It’s problematic, however, when fantasizing becomes the norm, or you find yourself wanting to scratch that itch in reality. In either case, it’s time to get some help.
Don’t Keep Secrets
Can anyone portray lying as magnificently as actor Bryan Cranston, as he did on the hit show “Breaking Bad” and now Showtime’s “Your Honor”? “Breaking Bad” required Cranston’s Walter White to keep from his wife and son that he was secretly dealing meth, and so epic were the lies that when they all came tumbling down … well, watch the show for yourself.
Far less dramatically, lying is bad for marriage in that if you’re caught, your spouse will immediately question your trustworthiness. This doesn’t mean you’re a bad person if you fib about eating the last chocolate donut or forgetting to turn on the dishwasher, but if you find yourself piling on the untruths on the regular, you could be headed for trouble.
Aesop had it right centuries ago: Honesty is the best policy.
Don’t Be a Passive Partner
“Yes, dear.” “Whatever you want, honey.” “I have no opinion.”
Be on the lookout for these phrases in your new marriage because growing as a unit requires that you both give input into your life together. Columnist Roger Rollins described a couple wherein the decision-making became so unbalanced that one spouse felt he couldn’t even voice his opinion lest he upset his wife. This is all but guaranteed to breed anger and resentment — two things that, if left ignored, will eventually explode.
Don’t Make Each Other Feel Claustrophobic
The newlyweds of 2020 have been on very long, very dull and often very homebound honeymoons. Meaning these newly legal couples are in one another’s spaces all day, every day.
For so many, the divisions between work and home lives have blurred in the time of coronavirus, effectively turning couples into office mates as much as spouses. Granted, it’s a hidden blessing to get more at-home time with your new spouse, but as vital is drawing boundaries between home-work and home-life.
Don’t Stop With the Little Gifts
You know the drill: Pony up the big stuff for Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, etc. But even small tokens of affection can bring a smile to your spouse’s face knowing that you were thinking of them. Flowers are great for any occasion, but so are chocolates or perhaps even snagging that gardening magazine your beloved might enjoy you saw while checking out at K-Mart.
A good rule of thumb: Ask yourself, “Would this thing, however trifling, give my love even a small amount of joy if I brought it home?” If so, buy away.
Don’t Stop Having Platonic Friendships With Members of Any Sex
In line with earlier advice that you don’t need to stop being friends with an ex, it’s healthy to maintain and/or make new friendships with members of the opposite sex. (And if you’re part of the LBGTQ community, this applies to any gender, depending on your sexual preference.)
As newlyweds, you two will be meeting lots of new people, and your spouse will likely form bonds with new people of any gender along the way. But fear not, as this is normal and OK, so long as it doesn’t cross the line into romantic territory.
Don’t Worry If Your Marriage Isn’t Always Equitable
The universe is chaotic and always shifting, meaning that sometimes your spouse will be doing better than you financially, emotionally or physically. The thing is, almost certainly that will change, and you’ll be called upon to pull more of the weight in the relationship at some point, according to Time.
So, while you’re in the honeymoon phase right now, keep in mind that marriage is a long haul, and you both will have to take turns bearing the financial burden.
Don’t Believe That All Arguments Are Bad
Disagreements are bound to happen in your marriage, and arguments a certainty. Despair not, as arguments can actually strengthen your union. Brides.com reports that arguments often result from one spouse not seeing the issue in quite the same way, which can lead to frustration and, yes, an argument.
But getting such discrepancies out into the open can make the other person see the issue in a new light and help to resolve it.
Don’t Stop Laughing
It’s said that laughter is the best medicine, and couples that are able to have a chuckle at a funny cat video — or even their misfortunes — have a better chance of lasting together in the long run. In fact, sharing joy and humor was rated in one study as being among the best indicators of not only marriage longevity but the quality of the relationship itself.
Comedian Rita Rudner once observed: “I love being married. It’s so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
Don’t Neglect Your Physical Health
Just because you’ve signed a piece of paper doesn’t mean that you should worry less about your physical appearance or overall health. We get it, though, it can be hard to keep up the healthy routine without someone standing over you, which is why a joint newly wedded effort to work out and eat better together is better than trying it on your own.
This way, you have a home-based coach who will motivate you to keep at it on those days when you’d much rather curl up with a bucket of chocolate-covered pretzels.
Don’t Forget to Ask, ‘How Was Your Day?’
Don’t Forget to Ask, ‘How Was Your Day?’
“Checking in” with your new spouse makes them feel not only appreciated but that you are actively involved in your loved one’s emotional well-being.
And because a good number of us are introverts, who are often uncomfortable and/or unwilling to share inner turmoil, sometimes you just have to inquire.
Don’t Stop Making New Memories
Journaling, scrapbooking or, in the age of social media, posting shared memories from the wedding and honeymoon are guaranteed to earn you a great many likes. Marriage is a lifelong journey, and you shouldn't rely on the memory of the recent wedding as the apex of your walk together.
Sure, smile looking back at the wedding photos now and again, but keep taking out your pocket computer to snap a photo together every so often. For today’s adventures are tomorrow’s cherished memories.
Don’t Lose Sight That You’re a Team
Remember those movies we discussed earlier that end with a wedding and never show all the hard work required to make marriage work out in the long term? Life is har, and guaranteed to throw you some curveballs, and you’re meant to tackle these things together.
Also, don’t try to compete with your spouse, whether it’s salary or number of friends. You’re in this together, as a team.
Don’t Ever Go to Bed Angry
You knew this would be on this marriage-advice list. Look, arguments are going to happen. Someone is going to say something they’d just as soon take back. Talk it out immediately, before you both retire for the evening.
The experts at The Knot write that there’s a scientific basis for not going to bed angry with your spouse, partly as it will affect your sleep and, thus, domino into the next day. The longer the negativity remains in your brain, the more damage it will do — both to you and your marriage.
Don’t Sweat a Fart or Two
Sorry to “break” it to you, but your new spouse has as many gross bodily functions as you do, including passing gas. It may sound juvenile, but experts say that feeling free to let one rip in front of your spouse shows that you’re extremely comfortable with one another.
A little chuckle about the natural noise goes a long way … until the odor sets in.
For the Dudes: Don’t Forget the Toilet Seat
From the time guys are potty-trained, it becomes second nature to leave the toilet seat up after unleashing a pleasant No. 1. But, you’re married now, so it’s high time to learn that this device has a seat that swings up and down for the lady of the house, who, uh, won’t be using the toilet in a standing position unless she’s had a few too many vodka gimlets.
To put it in plainer terms, fellas, treat every trip to the bathroom like a No. 2.
Don’t Shy Away From Other Newlyweds Seeing Advice
The more life you experience, the more you learn; this is also true of marriage. Even though you’re still figuring this marriage thing out, chances are that soon friends and relatives will come around for advice on getting hitched as well — even if you’re still relatively new to the whole business yourself.
Whether you believe in karma or not, when it’s your turn to impart sage marriage counsel, just say yes. As Yoda told Luke Skywalker, “Pass on what you have learned.”
Don’t Have Kids Without a Pet First
Many couples, drunk on the excitement of being newly married, try for children right away. Not only does this not give you time to enjoy being a couple, but without some “practice,” you might not know how your partner or yourself might handle taking care of another life.
Ergo, it’s a good idea to try adopting a furry little friend first. While a cat or dog doesn’t require quite as much care as an infant human, it’s great practice for eventual child rearing.
Don’t Ever Stop Saying, ‘I Love You’
Three simple words that have so much importance. Even if your spouse has heard you say it a thousand times, make today the time to say it a thousand plus one.
Say it loudly and proudly, every day — and mean it.
Don’t Forget to Be Gracious on Your Honeymoon
A recent report in Time found that newly wedded American couples were often rude, entitled and disrespectful when traveling to foreign countries for their honeymoons. So, this piece of marriage advice is more for you two as a couple in an effort to avoid perpetuating the stereotype of the “whiny Americans.”
When traveling to a foreign land for your honeymoon — or even another state — think of yourself as a guest there, and recall that not every custom will be precisely as it is back home.