Romantics From Around The World Warn Of The Most Common Relationship Mistakes
Relationships are hard. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. Even a great relationship will have rough days, it’s inevitable. But people who care for one another can avoid simple relationship pitfalls by simply following these pieces of advice we have collected from all over the world. Regardless if the advice is “Talk more” or “Kiss each other once a day” you can likely find something here to make your love grow stronger and flourish.
Because at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want? To love, and be loved?
40. There’s a reason it’s called “the past”
I went to 5 sessions of counseling with my wife during a tough period. The best thing we learned from that is to never lash the other with past misbehaviors when trying to resolve a current issue. We have been married 17 years so there is limitless crap we can pull out of our history together to highlight past wrongs and that just derails what could be a quick resolution.
Also, when one half says “I am not happy about X”, do not respond with “ok but I am unhappy with Y.” Fix X. Get settled. Then bring up Y if you still need to.
39. Relationships aren’t baseball games
Don’t keep score. A partnership is a team, not a competition. Whether a person keeps score of everything they have done or everything their partner has done, it is a death knell for the relationship. This is one of the most common causes of resentment in a relationship, and you see it often when people use absolute terms to describe themselves or their partners (i.e. I always…, she never…). Remembering that each person has his/her own needs, abilities, skills, and boundaries are essential to a healthy couple.
Don’t expect that because your significant other knows you better than others and is around you most, that they are aware of all of your thoughts and feelings. Your partner is not psychic, and no matter how often they are around you or how well they know you, they cannot pick up on every nuance to determine how you are feeling and how they should respond. That is called emotional babysitting, and it cascades into a host of problems and unnecessary hurt.
38. Maturity is key
I have dated my girlfriend for 7 years and the biggest thing I noticed, as we have matured together, is that you stop arguing to win and start trying to come to a conclusion/understanding about what the other person feels. If I say something that may offend her we will give each other space to cool down a little bit before going and talking about it. As a couple, you are working as a team to make sure that the ship is sailing smoothly. It does vary from couple to couple, but I have noticed that some of our friends just get mad and slam doors on their SO (both figuratively and literally). This tension just raises and raises till they just forget about it, but it never was really resolved and one person ends up becoming resentful for that. Overall, people should learn to listen to understand in all walks of life, not just with their SO since you are not trying to win a prize, but accomplish a common goal.
PSA: Date your significant others instead of just living with them. Make them feel special and go on a date if you can or do something special.
37. Put down the phone, and have a conversation
Be present. You don’t have to prove you’re listening if in fact, you are listening. Don’t repeat yourself it’s condescending. Avoid all of the small details, (they are not necessary to get to the point.) Don’t listen to reply listen to understand. Set your ego aside. We are all human, thoughts will come into your head. Let them flow through just as easy. It is difficult work to really listen and communicate well.
36. Very solid advice here
I have provided couples counseling at different points in my career. Some of the common mistakes I will often see are when people expect their partners to be able to read their mind and anticipate needs and wants, lack of communication/comfort with discussing difficult topics. Or one partner being uncomfortable with discussing a topic which leaves both partners feeling frustrated or dissatisfied. Blaming their partner for all issues in the relationship and not taking ownership of their own role in dysfunction/issues. Not expressing gratitude towards your partner on a regular basis. Experiences and expressions of gratitude can have a really positive effect on psychological well being as well as relational strength.
Not giving intimacy in their relationship enough attention. This includes but is not limited to physical love. Many relationships start with the “hot and heavy” phase where intimacy can come naturally. As this phase diminishes many couples do not spend the time and energy to consider how to maintain a healthy level of intimacy now that it doesn’t just come naturally.
Also, please keep in mind that every relationship is a partnership. Very rarely have I seen these types of issues in relationships be all the fault of just one person. For instance, it’s not “only women” that engage in the mindreading mistake despite the stereotypes that people want to perpetuate. This mistake occurs regardless of gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, etc. These issues are usually dynamic and complicated in nature and are a result of cognitive/emotional/behavioral/interpersonal patterns of each partner interacting with each other. If you feel these issues are all your partner’s fault I would encourage maybe trying out individual counseling to talk about how you feel and learn more about how your cognitive/emotional/behavioral/interpersonal patterns may influence your experience in your relationship.
Also, express gratitude! Not just in your relationship, but in your life! It can have such a positive impact on how someone experiences their day. It doesn’t have to be anything big either, be grateful that your coffee was good or traffic was lighter than normal or how your partner gives the best hugs or it’s a nice day outside, etc. Find something you are grateful for and take time to appreciate it!
35. It’s so simple
I have found that just telling her what I want keeps a lot of the arguments from taking place.
“I’m mad I want a hug.” “I’m sad I want to lay in your lap.” “My day was rough I need like 30 minutes to an hour by myself.” (I’m an introvert)
It’s okay to just say it and it can change your life. Plus, now they have a reference to draw upon for the future.
34. Get in my bubble
First, it is important to acknowledge that the physical representations of “intimacy” will change over time. Physical intimacy can come from many different sources and doesn’t need to be sexual. Hooking up is probably one of the easiest ways to create intimacy but it is far from the only way. I like to think of creating intimacy like creating a space. You are creating a safe, private space for you and your partner to be together. Kind of like being in a bubble looking out at the rest of the world (it’s not a perfect analogy but bear with me).
Inside the bubble of intimacy, the two of you are safe and together. There are no big walls or rifts between you. You are joined in that space together with connection and understanding and patience and all those classic “Love is…” things and all the bad stuff outside the bubble can’t come between you. It is important that you allow yourself to prioritize your partner in these times; they need to feel that you want them in your intimacy bubble. It may help at this time to reflect on some of your favorite things about them (and it never hurts to remind them what those features are!). Once you start to accept this idea of intimacy, it’s not so big of a leap to imagine creating this space with simpler things like holding hands, walking arm-in-arm, a kiss on the forehead, or of course a good ol’ cuddle on the couch.
33. Like the apocalypse
If you aren’t already familiar with it, I would recommend taking a look at John Gottman’s work on romantic relationships. He is one of the best-known researchers on this topic. Perhaps his most famous work is The Four Horsemen – in a 30-minute interview, Gottman was able to accurately predict which couples would divorce based on their interactions with each other, particularly when those interactions included:
Research from the Gottman Institute has expanded on this to provide a pretty comprehensive list of factors that lead to couple conflict and divorce. Gottman also addresses solutions to these issues, which primarily exist within his form of couples therapy.
Take this all with a grain of salt. This is one perspective on relationships, but it tends to be a pretty robust and well-researched one (and it happens to be the one I’m the most familiar with).
My personal understanding of the issue is that problems arise from a lack of humility and the challenge of getting out of deeply ingrained patterns/cycles of conflict (which generally requires both partners to accept fault and extend grace).
32. Don’t fight while sleepy
So many people refuse to go to bed during a fight. It’s a huge mistake. It’s supposed to be some romantic ideal. Actually, just say I love you and we are disagreeing but we need to get some sleep for work. You always communicate better after sleeping properly.
31. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering
Number one problem I see is overactive threat response creating anger and rigidity. People don’t stop to turn down their defense mode and lose sight of the love because all their energy is going towards being right or controlling the outcome. Of course, that control comes from a place of fear, but fear and vulnerability feel too dangerous, so it typically gets expressed as anger, frustration, or rigidity.
Surrender to not having control, accept what’s in front of you, and cultivate compassion. Please. Because y’all rigid couples who just can’t prioritize empathizing with each other over your fear response are driving me nuts!
30. In anger, you defeat only yourself
I used to get easily sucked into fighting, to the point that I would be more focused on the fighting (behaviors) than the fight (cause). Here’s what I learned over my many mistakes and attempts to change my behavior:
Stay on topic. Oftentimes, when people feel threatened, fight-or-flight kicks in, and they choose not to run – so they fight. In these “panic” cases, they might grab onto any ammunition they can get their hands on. This deviation, in turn, takes the conversation away from the original debate and allows it to become a full-out fight. Staying on topic, even if you are feeling threatened, will help you minimize the potential damage of any ensuing argument.
Remember that you and your Significant Other are supposed to be on the same team. If one of you fails, both of you failed. Instead of focusing on fault, focus on solutions – what can you learn or do to not have to deal with that particular problem ever again?
Learn how to recognize when you’re wrong, even if it’s in the middle of a fight.
Deploy Diffusion Bombs. Learn a couple of lighthearted ways to acknowledge that you’re wrong in the middle of a fight. My favorite is “Only someone really smart would have thought about that!” I can admit my failure (and I only have to resort to saying I’m normal smart instead of anything self-deprecating), while also stroking the ego of the person I was arguing with. Something like this instantly changes the tone, and that can be valuable to either ending the conflict or at least refocusing/resetting to the actual topic at hand.
Learn how to recognize when what you’re fighting for isn’t worth the effort it would take to obtain it.
29. One cannot survive on strength alone
As soon as a couple stops being on the same team, fighting all the garbage of life together, things fall apart. Get on the same team. Get behind each other’s goals. If you’re not on the same team, you’re just going to wind up annoying each other. All that weight of life is going to be beating you down and your life partner is just going to be part of it instead of refuge.
28. AKA: Don’t be a jerk
When your significant other brings something to your attention, that they need/want, don’t react harshly if it’s something they’ve refused to bring up sooner. Getting loud or defensive “Why didn’t you bring this up sooner!” will make them shy away from bringing things up again due to negative reinforcement/backlash.
This is especially true if they’ve been victims of any kind of abusive relationship.
27. Turns out marriage isn’t just a big party and a roommate
One of the most toxic things I have found in doing marriage counseling is when couples think of themselves as individuals who happen to be together and not as a couple. (Not that I’m advocating enmeshment.)
That’s not really a marriage. That’s having a roommate, or perhaps less than that even.
Marriage is a union of two people. That’s what the unity candle and sand and knots are all about. There is a bringing together of two lives that is inseparable.
If either member still conceptualizes themselves as a solely autonomous individual whose actions and dispositions impact only themselves, things will go bad eventually.
They go bad because it results in a person caring more for themselves than their spouse. This is seen where couples spend money behind each other’s backs because “it’s my money, why does it matter?” When couples keep secrets from each other, which inevitably results in pain. This is seen when couples don’t stop to consider their spouse’s thoughts, feelings, desires, dreams, abilities, and strengths alongside their weaknesses.
The remedy to this is behaving as a unit in small ways and in large. If you’re getting something from the fridge, see if your spouse wants something. It even helps in arguments; no longer is it spouse against spouse but it’s the married couple against the issue causing stress to the unit.
When one person considers a course of action, their thoughts ought to be about how it impacts the unit.
26. Do stuff together
I can’t remember the exact terms but basically, how you react when your partner reaches out with small probes for connection. It’s not necessarily big hobbies or interests, but little things throughout every day that are sort of unconscious reaches for positive feedback from your partner. For example, I see a pretty bird outside and I say “Come look at this cool bird!” Or “Hey check out this song I heard that I really like.” If my partner passively or blatantly rejects that, it feels bad, even if I don’t always fully recognize that in the moment. Over time, those micro-rejections start to buildup and it’s why people start to feel like someone doesn’t really care about them.
On the flip side, even just a little bit of positive attention and sharing in a moment makes you feel so good, again even if you don’t realize it. Getting up and looking at the bird is saying, “This is important to you at this moment so it’s important to me.” It’s basically like those are the small shared experiences that build up a joint life and if you start to neglect your partner in those small ways, you can grow distant.
I try really hard now to never ignore or reject my partner’s small reaches. I often don’t care about the Instagram meme he wants to show me or the latest NBA news, but I’ll listen or look and laugh because I want him to feel loved and appreciated.
25. Funny story
Last October my boyfriend went out of town for a wedding and I stayed home. When he came back, I asked about him about his trip a bit and was talking because I hadn’t seen him in a few days and wanted to catch up. He was clearly peeved but kept saying he was fine when I asked, so I stopped talking (thinking I was bothering him). I suggest we take a shower so he can relax after his flight and he says “fine.”
As we’re showering, we go to switch spots so one of us can shampoo and the other can rinse. As we were switching, our butts rubbed together and I blurted out, “ooooh rubbin buuutttts!” And he immediately starts laughing uncontrollably. I remember him saying “I was SO mad at you, but how do I ignore THAT?!”
He was upset I didn’t ask more about his trip and felt like I came off disinterested. After that we talked about it and realized it was a misunderstanding on both our parts.
24. You must learn from your mistakes
I work with couples and their relationships a lot, in my line of work, and do some forms of counseling though it is not my job or training.
But one of the common threads I see running in the midst of relationships/marriages that fall apart is a kind of selfishness.
People that don’t quite realize that marriage works best when you are both acting in the others’ best interest and seeking their happiness more than your own.
It crops up a lot, but not exclusively, in intimacy: if your primary concern is you, you are not going to build any kind of bond or intimate connection, and nor is it going to be much fun for your partner.
Marriage is a lot about sacrifice and the couples I see thriving are the ones who are each willing to make sacrifices for the other and for their family.
Couples who get married thinking that the coming decades of marriage are going to be exactly like the dating or the honeymoon phase, when they face major challenges or speed bumps in their life together, have a real hard time dealing with it, “But I thought I was supposed to be happy”.
23. Let’s get it on
I’m not a marriage counselor but my wife showed me a very meaningful and controversial article the other day. It was titled “Your kids should not be the most important part of your marriage.” Of course, many parents were offended and complained bitterly about the article. But we don’t make our kids the center of our marriage. We devote a lot of time to them and keep them healthy and educated, of course, but we spend just as much time on each other. If Mom and Dad are happy, the kids are likely to be happy. On many occasions, my wife will rush to get a few things done for the kids in the morning and ask me, playfully “Hey, you wanna do me in the bedroom real quick?!” And I will fix dinner and get the kids to bed so she and I can have some fun and cuddle while we talk about our day. Kids don’t define your marriage, you and your spouse absolutely do.
22. Adversity is an opportunity for change
Unspoken family rules that you bring into a relationship are HUGE.
Obviously, you didn’t grow up together and depending on how you did you grow up you may have had a completely different family of origin experiences. It can be as simple as your family of origin separated out laundry by color and your parthers just threw everything in together so you have different family rules regarding laundry, to your family of origin had the rule of “family problems stay in the family” and your partners family talked to people outside the family about all the problems freely.
Everybody has these rules, talking about them and uncovering them (without judgment) will go a very long way in maintaining and deepening connection. If you don’t talk about them it is easy to get into negative interactional patterns that are just rehearsals of how your family of origin did things and not creating healthy, mutually safe patterns.
Also, I recommend that everyone in a relationship take an attachment style quiz and compare their attachment style (secure, anxious, or avoidant) because that reveals a lot of unspoken rules as well.
21. Overconfidence is a flimsy shield
The biggest mistake is waiting too long to get help. Repeat issues coming up, again and again, will not resolve themselves. Get help before it’s helpless. As I’m a recently divorced marriage therapist, I cannot stress enough how important acknowledging repair attempts and keeping intimacy alive are as life-sustaining nutrients for your marriage.
20. Children bring stress into even the best marriages
For the love of everything that is good and pure, don’t bring a child into a broken marriage expecting him to be the lifesaver, it has never worked and it will never, a child is supposed to be the consolidation of the mutual love of the couple, he arrives because the marriage is in a good place, not the other way around.
I work with kids and trust me, most kids are fully aware when mom and dad are in a bad state and he is the only reason they aren’t splitting, and also I have seen the typical dumb parent who believed once the child arrived his/her partner would have a change of heart and would be a better person, of course it didn’t happen, and of course the child was caught in the middle of that crossfire.
Why these people believe a child is the ultimate trump card for saving a marriage is beyond me
19. Education is the solution to many problems
The most common mistake I see is people getting married without any understanding of the legal repercussions. Honestly, I think forcing couples to take an 8 hour “family law class” before getting married would cut down on the number of people who get married. Like, its actually a pretty scary concept and it should be normal to not trust someone with as much power as you give them when you get married.
Basically once a week, I get a phone call like, “my wife/husband is spending all my money. I need a divorce and my money back.” That money is gone and it is almost certain there is nothing you can do about it. It’s like people literally have no idea about the concept of “marital estate.”
18. The outcome is not preordained
The biggest lesson that my partner and I have discovered over time: people change. You will change. They will change. It is nigh impossible to have the same relationship 2 years in that you did at the start–don’t try to hold onto it. The only way my partner and I have stayed together for as long as we have is because we were able to adapt to each other.
That being said, don’t try to force a relationship that’s inherently dysfunctional. It’s not a mark of failure for a relationship to end. Change seems scary, but the truth is you’ve already changed.
17. Put your hand on me and hold on
My wife and I have been together for nearly 30 years and happily married for almost 20.
Communication is key.
My parents had very poor communication skills when I was growing up, and I saw how it affected them and I also often bore the burden of enduring their silent anger. I vowed to not do that. It can be difficult, but you have to talk. This is critical. Of course, every couple is different, and has different ways to converse, but it must be done.
The most important thing I would stress is don’t go to bed angry.
If my wife and I have a problem, we talk it out or the lights stay on until we’re done. You cannot let those silent wedges dig their way into your souls. Something will break eventually, and may be irreparable. I would like to end with a very positive example of communication.
Last Saturday my wife and I woke up and started cooking for an evening to be spent at a friend’s house to watch the new Deadwood movie. We LOVE the series and have watched it at least 4 or 5 times. We were going to make a themed meal of a crock pot of chili with cornbread and of course, peaches with authorized cinnamon.
My wife put on the soundtrack for the show, and we got started in the kitchen.
As she was taking something down from the cupboard, I noticed the scattering of gray in her hair.
Then the Lyle Lovett song “Old Friend” began to play. It had never meant much to me before, but at that moment it hit me SO hard. I nearly broke down on the spot. Remember how Amelie dissolved into a puddle? That’s what my heart did. I realized that she is my old friend. Of course, I don’t think of her as old, but we’re both getting older. Still, at 63 she’s often mistaken for being a decade younger. Attitude and energy count for a lot, and that’s part of the reason why we fit so well because we still feel young at heart.
I took a minute to compose myself and we carried on cooking.
But that feeling wouldn’t go away. It wasn’t as if I didn’t know that she’s the love of my life, but that moment was such an intense confirmation that it took me two days to tell her because I wasn’t sure that I’d get through it without breaking down, and I didn’t want her to think that my tears meant something was wrong. I told her yesterday afternoon when I got home from work, and she was so happy to hear it. She’s been out of work for six months, and really struggling with feelings of inadequacy and attractiveness. We’ve both gained some weight, but to me, she’s still as beautiful and hot as ever.
She really appreciated hearing how I felt exactly because she was dealing with all these negative thoughts, and just me telling her how I felt was a big boost for her.
Talk to your partners, people! Don’t assume. Confirm. Love needs to be nurtured in order to last.
Do the work.
16. Teamwork makes the dream work
Probably one of the biggest mistakes that couples make is forgetting that they’re on the same team, and they fight to win instead of fighting to resolve. Focus on hearing and understanding each other, and engage in disagreements with an eye on coming together, and compromise will follow easily.
Also: physical contact is good, important, and okay to talk about. Couples make the mistake of thinking that the physical aspects of relationships are one of those things that they should just intuitively understand, but life doesn’t work like that.
Finally, If you aren’t mindful of the baggage that you bring into a relationship, that baggage will make more decisions for you than you will probably realize. Talk about the skeletons in your closet!
15. Knives are dangerous
When you’re hurt, say so, and stop trying to ‘hurt back’. When someone does something or says something hurtful, whether conscious or not, let them know in a non-accusatory way before you begin the game of throwing daggers. Much of the relationship damage that couples endure is the back and forth hurt-each-other game that snowballs out of control, causing a ton more damage.
14. Shots fired, marriage counselors
In my experience, the most common problem married couples experience is going to see a marriage counselor instead of a licensed psychologist.
The latter has significantly more experience and training to help couples.
A marriage counselor has very limited training, and can very easily do more harm than good.
There is a mountain of difference. In some cases, it is an insurmountable gap between the two. I dealt with one marriage counselor that lasted all of one session before I realize that she was completely incompetent.
After that, I had sought out my own psychologist for myself because my wife insisted that I get my own therapist. I went and got my own psychologist and met with him. He was absolutely fantastic. After that, I told my wife that we would go seek out a licensed psychologist and settle for nothing less.
A psychologist who is worth his salt is amazing. They are like wizards with how gentle they can be at applying cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.
We met every single week for about 18 months, and we went from being on the brink of divorce to perfectly happy together.
13. The only constant is change
This is really a part of relationships. People change and one of three things happens:
You change in the same direction
You change in different directions and find a new arrangement for the relationship and new personalities
You change in different directions and you don’t find a new arrangement.
I had some friends who got married and I tried so, so, hard to keep them from getting married. He was immature, and she was incredibly immature. She had been engaged 3 times, each time she was dating the next person within a month of the engagement falling through…in one case it fell through less than a month before the wedding and she was dating the new guy within a week (this is actually the two friends that ended up getting married).
They constantly fought…I mean…constantly. I’ve been present when he’s taking off his ring and asked if she wanted it back. Last I saw of them they were still fighting constantly and I’m convinced the only reason they’re still married is because they’re religious and don’t want to be seen in a divorce or don’t realize how miserable they are. I don’t know if they will ever mature – but knowing each one I know that they will do so in very different directions.
This is why people who have not matured should not get married.
12. But that is 200%
I was asked once…. what is marriage, 50/50? 60/40? 75/25? I said 50/50. Nope! The answer is 100/100. Both must be willing to do everything for each other, all of the time. Simple as that. Free advice I thought I would pass along.
11. True self is without form
The best advice I received a long time ago, from a nurse. I was working a unit as a CNA, and the old, intimidating, unsmiling veteran nurse (my favorite) on the unit walks onto the unit from lunch holding hands with her husband (a Terry Pratchett look alike).
My young 20ish self commented that you don’t see that every day. She retrieves her battered clipboard from the desk, leans into me, and says:
“You want to know the secret, kid?”
I say yes, because who doesn’t want to know that secret. And there’s this collective “lean” in from the entire desk, docs, nurses, support. Pens stop moving.
“People don’t know how to grow and change together. You WILL change as you age. So will your partner. The question is, do you know how to grow and change together?”
Then she walks off the answer a call light.
Wisdom to hold onto. The girl you married doesn’t exist anymore, she’s grown and changed.
10. Kids these days with their face box and tweeter
If there is one thing I would say is the most important factor in success or failure in a relationship, it is active listening. People nowadays simply do not know how to actively listen to one another. Social media and a false sense of hyperconnectivity make this issue much much worse. Older couples with beautiful mutually-supportive marriages have naturally identified the importance of listening, and have negotiated the ways their partner needs to be heard. Relationships succeed or fail on this simple premise. Be still, and listen to your partner.
9. The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant
Always be polite and appreciative. Make sure you thank your spouse if they buy dinner, even if you share an account. Say please and thank you as you would to a friend or stranger. It’s the little things that matter. We all have a love bucket and the more positive things you add to the other person’s bucket the more room and grace you have when the negative things arise. Always always have more positives than negatives.
8. Always be yourself… Unless you can be Batman. Always be Batman
Being who they think the other person wants or needs them to be, in order to feel loved, instead of being themselves and taking emotional risks by being authentic. If you’re always afraid to show your true self, you can never trust that you’re lovable, flaws and all, you’ll never know that you can be loved for who you truly are, or feel safe exposing yourself emotionally with your partner. That’s a waste of a life and a relationship.
7. I’m looking forward to being an old man
Not growing together. We all develop intellectually and emotionally as the years go by. If they do not grow together they will grow apart. Talk to AND with each other. Some say “They aren’t the person I married anymore”. That’s a good thing. Who wants to live with the intellectual maturity of a 20 or 30 year old their entire life? It’s normal we change.
6. No name calling should just be a ground rule
Always validate feelings over experience. Even if it does not make sense to you. Example: I can see why you would be frustrated because you feel overwhelmed because you feel like no one understands and because you see no end in sight. The key is to use 3 “becauses” to validate your loved one. Chances are that they don’t want the problem “fixed,” they want to be heard.
Also, it’s important to identify cycles that you both get caught in. A typical cycle that almost everybody can relate to is “distancer or persuer.” When conflict arises, do you pursue your partner and want to”fix” or make them feel better? Or do you distance for fear of making things worse? Identify your cycle and see the cycle as the problem, not you or your partner. You are a team confronting the cycle. Keep yourself accountable with recognizing when you get in your cycle. See that you and your partner have the same intentions: to protect the other and alleviate their pain. It just presents differently.
Set “rules” for fighting, like no using the past against the other or no low blows or inappropriate name calling.
5. Choose love
Love is a choice, not a feeling. If you expect that high feeling in the honeymoon farce to last forever, you’re gonna be very disappointed, because it won’t. And when that feeling does go away that’s the moment the real love for this person starts to settle, if you allow it. If you won’t give this person your love and respect, then you should move on and find someone else.
4. How adorable
In my own marriage we cuddle each other a few times a day every day and tell each other we love each other every day too and most times more than once. We kiss each other every day. We hold holds when we walk or when we’re laying in bed or sitting watching telly. I put the odd “I love you” note in his packed lunch to surprise him when he has his lunch at work.
We talk at length about things that make us happy and things that upset us and that are worrying us. The texts we send when we are apart are always us each teasing each other and laughing and we also tell each other that we love each other. We don’t have children we just have each other and the dogs who we love very much but we still see ourselves as a family.
Don’t spend your time arguing because you never know when it’s the end and you would never forgive yourself if something happened under a cloud. Love and appreciate each other and try to imagine what first attracted you to each other. Love each other every day.
3. If you do not bend, you break
I’m not a marriage counselor but this is what my husband and I do: I go to bed much earlier than him because I’m a teacher so I have to wake up very early. Every night when I go to bed, he takes a break from what he’s doing and comes and lays down with me for about 10-15 minutes. Sometimes I fall asleep with him there, sometimes we just lay and talk about our day without the distractions of our phones, work, etc, and sometimes, of course, it turns into other things. Either way, we do this every night without fail, even if we’re upset with each other. It puts things into perspective, it’s hard to stay mad about something like not doing the dishes after dinner when we’re laying in the dark in each other’s arms.
I also want to add one more thing: If we are upset with each other about something we don’t just let it go because we’re so in love with each other or something like that. Usually, these moments of intimacy give us the necessary confidence and comfort to discuss these things together. So it also provides a good time for us to get things off our chest so we aren’t holding silly grudges about something as (comparatively) little as not doing the dishes.
2. Money is the root of all evil
I always tell people to never marry someone you wouldn’t go into business with.
Because marriage is a legal business. It is a marriage contract. Not like a contract you sign for internet service or to buy a car. But a legal contract nevertheless. One that creates a business relationship with the other person. And one that requires going to court and paying financial settlements to extricate yourself from. You have to get the court’s permission to dissolve the legal contract.
If you can’t imagine yourselves, I don’t know, opening a dry cleaning business together. Or starting the next great startup. Or running a B&B. Or opening a tire shop. Or running a multi-million dollar media empire. Whatever it is.
If you think of that and think things like, “Oh god no, they’d drive me crazy. They’d have wacky ideas. We’d never agree. I’d have to make all the decisions and not tell them.” Or anything else that indicates fear and loathing of the idea of going into business together then DO NOT, I repeat in bold flashing lights DO NOT MARRY THIS PERSON. Because to marry them is to open a business enterprise with them.
People in the past knew that marriage was a business arrangement. They set people up with eligible singles from other families. They knew that it creates a legal and financial contract. And that people are more likely to be happy with other people who share their values around money and major life decisions. Yes, sometimes people married for convenience or expectation rather than for love. But now we have people marrying for love in irresponsible ways. Not every love marriage is irresponsible, but enough of them are.
They say people divorce over money, but they don’t, they divorce over values. Because nothing brings out someone’s values like money or lack thereof.
The decisions a person makes around money tell you more about who they are and what they value than anything else.
If you can’t agree with the person your partner is when it comes to money, if you can’t understand their priorities, their fears, their hopes, their dreams, their goals, and what drives them financially, or if you look down on them for any of that or think you can fix them, or if they hide any of it from you, then don’t marry them.
1. Save water, shower together
Shower together regularly. It as a level of intimacy that I can’t really describe.