Marriage 101

A dear friend (and former student) of mine just became engaged to…a former student of mine! I have known these two for years and am beyond thrilled that they are getting married. It seriously made my heart about burst with joy. Then the worrier in me took over and I immediately wanted to take them out for coffee or dinner and talk to them about marriage. Because I love them so and want them to make it work so very badly. But we all know…marriage isn’t easy. In the wee hours of the morning when I wake up with a start and can’t get back to sleep, I often think of the best blog ideas. Luckily, I remembered this one and the advice I wanted to share with this new couple as they head into Marriage! All I know is no one prepared me at all for being married. I just loved Matt and that was all I knew. So we got married. I had no idea what I was doing as far as marriage was concerned. I think many of us enter in this way; some of us get lucky because we picked a wonderful partner and we grow together; others are not so lucky. You might be asking yourself “Who’s she to give me or anyone advice on marriage?” and I would answer in response that Matt and I have been through more in our 13-year marriage than most people go through in a lifetime. And guess what? We’re really, really happy and really, truly very much in love. So there. Anyway, here’s to helping my friends and former students be one of the lucky ones!

Once a teacher, always a teacher, so here are Mrs. Townsend’s Marriage 101 Rules to Live By. I’m writing them to the bride because she occasionally reads this and I know her best. Feel free to add your rules in the comments and/or agree/disagree with mine. Won’t this be a fun little gift for them?

Rule #1: Make The Marriage your #1 priority. I can tell you with all honesty that this is true for me. It is the thing I am the most proud of. Even above my kids. Because happy marriage = happy kids. Don’t let work, kids, family, friends, get in the way. Make time for each other and for your marriage.

Rule #2: Have sex. (Sorry Mom you can stop reading now!) Seriously. Have sex and have it often. One day, a l-o-n-g time ago, a single friend of mine said to me “You married people are so lucky. You have someone there every night that you can have sex with. Whenever you want!” Honestly, from then on, I never thought about sex the same. You should feel privileged that you are able to have sex…every day if you want! Even if you’re tired or don’t feel like it, do it. The closeness from this intimate act just can’t be duplicated. Plus, sex = happy husband. Chances are even if you didn’t feel like it when it started, you’ll be glad you did it when it’s over! 😉 I mean, really, have you ever had sex with your husband and thought “Damn, I wish I hadn’t done that!” Wait, don’t answer that.

Rule #3: Surprise him. Whether it’s making coffee in the morning when he’s always the one that makes coffee, or buying his favorite cigar or wearing a new little something naughty, just surprise him. It doesn’t even have to cost money because trust me, there have been times where we had no money and I did surprises like taking out the garbage!

Rule #4: Let him know you’re thinking of him. Isn’t it always nice to know that someone is thinking of you? I send Matt texts throughout the day to let him know I’m thinking of him. Sometimes they’re sweet, sometimes they’re naughty, sometimes they’re silly. But he knows that I was thinking of him. And he often reciprocates.

Rule #5: Remember why you love him. It’s so easy in the day-to-day mundane-GroundhogDay-life to forget why you love him and remember why he drives you insane. (And vice versa…don’t forget that either!) Make sure to go on dates, plan alone time daily and go on trips so you can remember why you love him. Like you’ll be on a date and think “OH YEAH! He’s hilarious!” or “OH YEAH! He’s charming!” and then you’re all dressed up and you remember “OH YEAH! He’s hot!” Anything you need to do on a daily basis to remember why you love, love, love him and chose him to spend your life with. When you do that, the drawers left open or the toilet seat left up is so not a big deal.

Rule #6: Pick your battles. I swear if you focus on every little thing he does that drives you crazy or that you don’t agree with, you will never make it. You must pick your battles. Just like you have to do in life and with children! Maybe you can live with socks on the floor but not helping out with the laundry is a deal breaker. But be sure the ones you pick are really important to you.

Rule #7: Reverse it. By this I mean, if there are days when you feel taken for granted or you feel as though he’s not being romantic lately or you feel as though he’s not paying attention to you…reverse it. If you’re feeling taken for granted, make sure to tell him how much you appreciate him and/or something he’s doing. If you’re feeling as though he hasn’t been romantic lately, do something romantic for him. If you feel as though he’s not paying attention to you, pay more attention to him. It works. Every single time.

Rule #8: Be happy to see him and be sad to see him go. When Matt leaves every morning, I kiss him good-bye and tell him I love him and will miss him. And I mean it. When he comes home, he’s greeted with “Hi Daddy! We missed you!” and we give him kisses. And we mean it. It’s very 50’s housewifey, but it works if you mean it. And guess what? He does the same for me.

Rule #9: Do little things for each other. This may sound like #3 but it’s different. Matt makes my coffee every morning. When he doesn’t, I tease him that he doesn’t love me anymore. Usually it’s because he ran out of time because he was doing something else for me and/or the kids, but still, I notice. I try to make sure the house is clean when he gets home. Not perfectly clean, but picked up. Because I know he loves a picked up house. Little things go a LONG way. Find these little things and do them. You love this person, remember?

Rule #10: You love this person. You chose him to spend the rest of your life with over all others. Think on this. Someone once told me that their grandma told them to put their wedding picture right in their line of sight when they wake up in the morning. That way, each day, you are reminded of your vow. When you wake up and when you go to sleep, it’s there. You chose him. He chose you. Now make it work.

Marriage certainly takes work. It’s a growing and learning process. But if you chose the right person, and follow my rules, you should be ok. 😉 And even better than being ok is that you will feel joy each and every day that you are married!

Congratulations S and K! I’m so proud and so happy for you both!!

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13 responses to “Marriage 101

  1. These are great tips!! I will add something, sex=happy wife as well. (I know I can’t be the only one!)

    I would add more but this list is so comprehensive. I must say, even though Ben and I have been married for over 3 years now we have experienced much that has brought us closer together. The important thing, for us, is being there to help build the other person. When Ben was studying for the MCAT and completely overwhelmed by his work and school demands, I made sure to tell him how proud I am of his achievements. That he is smart and CAN do what he sets out to accomplish. After I had the miscarriage, Ben took care of me in ways that no one else could because he is truly my best friend and knows how to be there for me.

    One other thing, don’t be afraid to see a marriage therapist. In fact, see a counselor regularly! Ben and I have been to a marriage therapist twice in our marriage-once for fun (as part of a study in which we received compensation) and once because we felt we needed it. Both times were rewarding and we felt even closer to each other after each session.

    Congrats to your dear friends! Marriage is work but it is also FUN.

  2. Everyone will have their versions of the 10 commandments, but the core values are important! Nice Job Tiff! I agree!

  3. Well done! I agree with everything. I have been married almost 14 years and don’t always do all those things. It is gread advice for “soon-to-be-married” people as well as “been-married-a-long-time” couples! Thanks for the reminders!

  4. Thanks so much for these! Love them!

  5. The only thing I think you missed is something you’ve touched on here before. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with your marriage. You and Matt did counseling. Sometimes couples need that to get that outside opinion that helps them see where they need to go. There’s never shame in asking for help.

  6. Your list made me smile and some of it made me laugh. What an enjoyable read.

  7. Love the advice Cheryl. I would add that when you do fight, fight fair with respect and don’t resort to harsh words. Because sometimes those are hard to forget.

  8. You are so right on! I love this post.

  9. This is awesome and it is no wonder you have such a great marriage. I am going to take this into my new relationship and see if I can post this for myself 13 years from now!!!!

  10. Great post!!! I like #7 and #10 best. And I agree with every single one. This post is great because it can help anyone who is reading, not just your cute friends! One thing that I learned is, it is ok to go to bed angry. Most of the time the fights we have at night are silly and due to exhaustion. So when you do fall asleep and wake up you realized what was really going on that made you feel that way. I think the saying “never go to bed angry” really means don’t put to bed your issues. Always try to work them out the best you can. Another thing that has been amazing in my family growing up along with in my marriage is communication. Always communicate about everything, do it sooo much that you can read each others mind. I have found that this simple task eliminates any typical family disfunction.

    I just love this post. I am so glad that you and your husband strive for a happy family! Marriage is one of the most amazing things in this world and I truly believe strong families don’t only benefit your children but strengthen your community and society as well! Thank you so much for sharing your rules, I will copy and paste this so I never forget them. I loooooooooved reading this! And Congrats to your friends!

  11. These are all very good. Really don’t have much to expand on it. We have been married 15 years in June. Each marriage has highs and lows, you are in it together. We have found that those low times have brought us closer together and made us a stronger couple.
    Anyways–love the pictures of how your family has grown and changed through the years.

  12. Great advice. Love seeing the old pictures.

  13. Pingback: Too Much Cuteness | Elastamom's Excerpts

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