The Best Marriage Advice We’ve Ever Gotten (It’s Worked for 10 Years So Far!)
Chris and I got married 10 years ago today. We met in a newsroom in Columbus, Ohio, right after I graduated from college. We were both ambitious, workaholic newspaper reporters. Chris had already been at the paper for a year by the time I got there, so he showed me the ropes. We became fast friends…and apparently we each had a crush on the other one. I took a new job and moved away, but we stayed in touch. After lots of flirty emails we started dating long-distance. Chris relocated and seven months later we got engaged!
Our relationship has been filled with highs (our two-year-old son Mason!) and lows (I had to have gallbladder surgery three weeks before our wedding!), but I’m proud to say that we’re still happy 10 years after our wedding day. Does that mean we have the perfect relationship? No way. It just means that we’ve followed some of the great advice we’ve been given over the years by our happily married grandparents and parents. Here’s what they taught us:
1. Fight fair. No name-calling and no cheap shots. It took a few years for us to get the hang of this, but we finally got it. We drive each other crazy sometimes but really working to disagree nicely has kept our household pretty darn happy.
2. Share the same bed. Chris’ grandparents Ned and Suzy swore that the key to a happy marriage is sleeping together. Easy advice to follow…unless you have a partner who snores. I do, so I wear ear plugs (and occasionally kick him out to the couch in the middle of the night)…
3. Make your sex life a priority. Thankfully this is the one thing on this list that we haven’t discussed with the fam. (I would have died of embarrassment during that convo!) But we work really hard to break out of inevitable ruts and keep things hot.
4. Start a family when you want to. The baby pressure started pretty much the day we got married. But my mom urged me to ignore it and wait until the time was right for us. We listened–and spent 7 years checking off the items on our pre-baby bucket list.
5. You don’t have to have kids. My mom actually said these words. She knew Chris and I were constantly debating about the kid issue–and she wanted to let us know that she would support our decision either way.
6. Laugh a lot. This was one of my grandparent’s rules. I’m a high-strung, type A pain in the a*s. Chris is laid back and funny. It’s easy to laugh with him…and be happy together when we’re laughing.
7. Talk, really talk, often. This is actually something I learned from a therapist once. If something bothers me about him (or vice versa), we try to address it fast–before it becomes a deal breaker.
8. Keep your money separate. This one isn’t right for everyone–but it was right for us. We split bills down the middle and spend whatever is left however we want to. I’m not annoyed by his pricey hockey tickets, he’s not annoyed by my shoe habit (as long as I keep part of my collection at work to help minimize clutter!).
9. Respect his point of view. During our wedding toast my grandfather joked, “Chris, you always knew you were marrying Miss. Right–you just didn’t realize that her middle name is Always.” I took his message to heart–and I work hard to see Chris’ POV (even when I know I’m right).
What’s the best marital advice you’ve ever gotten?
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