I’m getting married in two weeks! Along with getting older, knowing what I want, calming down, and learning from previous relationship car crashes (essential!), I credit the User Manual for playing a vital role in building and sustaining a ridiculously amazing relationship with Katia.
Getting married, of course, is the easy part. It’s staying happily married that requires lots of help, luck, and elbow grease. In the run-up to the big day, I’ve been canvassing happily married friends and family on their tips to keeping a marriage reinvigorated and fantastic for the long haul.
This isn’t the highly customized instruction list that the User Manual provides–always ideal–but it’s always valuable to learn from the experts.
A few non-cliche pearls:
Go to bed mad. A classic from my parents, who’ve been married for going on 44 years. Their point: at the end of the day, you’re tired and not your best. In the morning, whatever you were fighting over probably won’t seem nearly as important.
Make time for fun. It’s easy to get swept up in child care, cleaning, schedules, etc. Remember to throw plans out the window and go tear up the dance floor now and then. And pepper your days with silly string, whoopee cushions and mama jokes.
Do little things around the house. Take out the trash. Do the dishes. Get more dog food. Don’t keep score, just do it. Which sets a culture of problem-solving and helping each other.
Be ok with weird moments. Sometimes your partner will be mad at you. And sometimes they’ll be thinking about work, sick, hungry, tired, drunk, pondering a podcast they just listened to, worried about a friend, etc. They’ll be off somewhere else; a strange silence that may seem like ignorance sets in.
Your top job is support. Don’t give advice, unless solicited or it absolutely needs to be said to illuminate a blind spot. Just be there.
It’s still up to you to take care of yourself. As Esther Perel says, too many of us expect our partner to be our lover, mistress, parent, housekeeper, psychiatrist and personal coach wrapped up into one. That’s way too much for anybody to deliver on. It’s still up to you to figure out what you need and go get it. And–when the going inevitably gets tough–having yourself to rely on will always be valuable.
Use a User Manual! Shameless self-promotion, but true!
Any other amazing marriage tips to add to the list?