I’ve been married since 2003, with the same fella since 1997. (#NoBreakUps.) We’re long-haulers, not in the trucking industry, but in life. It hasn’t always been easy, but here are my light-hearted (sort of) rules for a solid marriage. I’m no pro, but I play one on TV.
|Craig and I.|
1. Go to bed mad.
In my family, it’s better if the sun sets on your anger, lest you say something you really regret and seriously, who wants to deal with that. (Not a question, more of a statement.)
Apologize to one another the next day. And own, it, too:
Correct: “I’m sorry that I said ___________. I’m certain it made you feel terrible. Do you forgive me?”
Incorrect: “I’m sorry that your feelings got hurt when I called you a jerk for not knowing what I needed.” (Because the tables just shifted and now you’re the jerk. You need to apologize for your behavior; not for their reaction to your behavior.)
2. Your husband/wife won’t always be excited by what excites you.
It’s ok to have different interests. I’ll never really like UFC and there’s no reason to fake it And, the husband probably isn’t DYING to know which podcast I just listened to. You be you. And that person you’re with will be the person you’re with.
Variety is the spice of life.
Your differences = conversation starters. Embrace the differences. Don’t run from them.
3. Never talk in the the third person about your other to your child or dog. It’s a low blow.
“No, Fido – you can’t have another treat. Your Mom says that you’re done.” [insert eye roll]
“What, little Susie? Your Dad said no? Well, that’s because he’s disillusioned and irrelevant to our daily lives, so I’ll just go ahead and talk about him like he’s not here so that he feels <——-> this big and then I can RULE this house.”
Don’t be a jerk. (again.)
4. Don’t be a jerk.
No one wants to wake up next to a jerk. Be nice. Say, “Excuse me.”
Don’t ask, “Huh?”
Say, “Thank you.”
Use your words. You get what you give.
5. Offer a beverage.
If you’re going to the fridge to get something to drink, act like your significant other is a guest and simply ask, “Can I get you anything?”
It’s a simple gesture. And it’s just nice.
Marriage is about being nice. Even when you don’t want to be.
6. Leave a note.
Send a text. Do The Snapchat like the kids do. Just be thoughtful. The golden rule works in this situation: do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
Otherwise, you don’t have a leg to stand on in divorce court.
7. Get some alone time.
I’m certain that peanut butter gets sick of jelly.
That Goldie gets sick of Kurt.
That Mrs. Claus looks forward to her night alone when Mr. Claus goes out to work for that ONE NIGHT A YEAR. (I don’t know how she does it.)
Paint your nails.
Start a garden.
Make some art.
Write your life story.
Get a massage.
Check into a hotel for the night.
Take a girls trip.
Time away = renewal.
And time spent taking care of you isn’t something to feel guilty about, it’s necessary.
So enough of the, “I can’t go, I can’t leave… the world will stop turning without me” drama.
Everyone will live.
9. Conversely, let your significant other have some non-you time, too.
Let’s face it. Being with you all the time might be… taxing. (I just wrote that to myself.)
Encourage your best friend to get out, experience life, go on a guy’s weekend or a guys’ night out… and then welcome him back into the loving cocooon of your home. Don’t strangle. Don’t cut off the air supply.
Let the bird fly… and know that the bird will come back to the nest.
The other one needs time away from you.
I said it.
10. Know that marriage has its ups and its down.
Marriage is hard. There are really good times… and there are really, really hard times. There are times when you connect like legos and there are times when you connect like the Wicked Witch and Dorothy. Weather it. Don’t quit*. And don’t compare what’s going on in your house to what’s going on in anyone else’s. It doesn’t matter.
Make the first move when you’d rather scream.
Hug. Kiss. Talk. Touch. Rinse, repeat.
Actively love the one you’re with.
Disclaimer: Obvs if you’re in an abusive relationship of any sort none of this matters. Or, if you’re married to someone who is never going to change and is just toxic, just cut the cord and run like the wind. Better yet, run the offending party over with your car. #zeroTolerance