The Little Things Are the Big Things
“Frequently express your appreciation and affection for the smallest things even. ‘Thank you for taking out the trash.’ ‘I like what you did with the dining room.’ ‘You look really nice today.’ ‘I love you.’”
Avoid Future Family Feuds
“Talk about your families, their quirks, and your relationships with them. Are you close knit? Are you completely estranged from them? Where will you be spending holidays? How often can your parents visit? How much money can you loan to your deadbeat brother?”
You Can't Bottle Up Your Feelings
"You may not file away past hurts and injustices in a mental Rolodex to use as ammunition in future arguments. The time to deal with the hurt is now, when it can be made right.”
Having Kids Isn't the Answer to Your Problems
“Kids are great additions to a stable, healthy relationship and a misery accelerator to an unstable, unhealthy relationship. If you find yourself thinking having kids is a solution to a problem, you're going to have a bad time.”
You Must Be Happy With Yourself
"You can't be a happy spouse if you're not a happy individual. If you can find hope among despair, peace amid strife, courage against fear, then you can be a happy person, married or not."
Remind Yourself Why You Love Them
"We say "I love you" at the end of every phone call, whenever we part and when we go to bed. It's not about the words your partner hears from you, it's reminding yourself of the feelings you have. So many people forget about why they chose to be together."
To Thine Partner Be True
"My advice can be summed up in two words: Don't lie. Almost every major problem within relationships start with a lie. If your relationship can handle the truth, then it can handle anything."
Don't Become Blind to Your Partner's Affection
"All those little things you do because you love them and just want to make them happy and make things easier for them? They're doing them, too, you just don't always notice."
Fight Fair (and Bare)
"If you have to fight, fight naked. Fights don't last too long when you're both naked."
Dissatisfaction Isn't an Excuse to Cheat
"If you grow dissatisfied with life or with your partner, address it with your partner and/or get a counsellor. Don't bad mouth your partner or situation to friends or family or a colleague or an ex as alternative to talking it out with your partner. Don't walk out or have an affair as a 'cry for help.' And don't assume that because internet relationships aren't physical, they're okay."
Just Listen (It's Not That Hard)
"When a woman complains to her man, it's not because the man is supposed to fix it, he's just supposed to listen. I'm still trying to get the hang of this, even 13 years later."
Managing Money is the Key to Happiness
"Don't be afraid to talk about finances early on in a relationship. You need to find someone who has similar goals so you don't end up resenting them later. People fight more over money than anything else."
Be Best Friends First, Lovers Second
"Friendship comes above being lovers. Of course, sex is important in a marriage. But it is more important to cultivate and tend the enduring friendship you have with your spouse. He/she should be your best friend, confidant, and the person you call when you wake up next to a dead hooker in Vegas. OK, maybe not the last....but if you can laugh together you can cry together."
It All Comes Down to Your State of Mind
"Well, I'm not married, but my parents have been married for 20 years and going strong, and my mom once told me, 'if you go into it thinking it's forever, you'll find a way to make it work.'"
Take This Advice with a Grain of Salt
"My advice is don't listen to relationship advice. Other people's opinions and experiences have little value outside of their own relationships... it's up to you and your SO to figure out what works for you; what you want out of the relationship and what you're willing to tolerate. There is no set of rules or magic formula."
Talk It Out Instead of Faking It
Partners Aren’t Mind Readers
People Change, and That’s Okay
“Recognize that you’re both going to change over time, and enjoy that journey together.”
Have Hobbies and Friends Separately
“Don’t ever make them pick you over anything else. Let them have their friends, hobbies, etc. … It doesn't have to be all about you or always involve you.”
Marriages Aren’t 50/50
“Marriage isn't 50/50, it's more 80/20, but it slides back and forth who is giving, and who is getting.”
Put Effort into Improving Individually
“We have each put considerable effort into improving ourselves individually over the years, separate from our relationship. Seeing your partner strive to be better and accomplish it fosters a respect that makes you want to do the same.”
Give Them the Benefit of the Doubt
“Give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes, what we say doesn't come out right. It happens to all of us. If you believe your partner'd intent was good, it can help figure out what was actually meant.”
Be on the Same Team
“I think it's that we're always on the same team. Big stuff is about what's best for our team. Little stuff is- what's going to make my teammate happy.”
Don’t Go to Bed Mad…or Do
“The not going to bed mad works for some people but not for others. It was the worst advice we received before we got married. Sometimes, your emotions get out of control and you need to sleep to cool off. It really depends on your personality.”
Say Please and Thanks
“Remembering to say please and thank you, offering to make them a cuppa when making one for yourself, just treating each other as you would a friend.”
Apologize When You’re Wrong
“Suck up your pride and apologize if you were wrong. Cool down after an argument first if you have to, then apologize. Even if it’s something they didn’t call you out on.”
It Isn’t About Butterflies
“When I look at my fiance I don't feel like a bolt of lightning, I don't get butterflies. It feels like security and comfort and contentment. You look at them and feel safe. It's intimacy and connection. But it doesn't feel like a fairy tale, it feels like your life but with someone who has your back.”
It Takes Work
“That it takes WORK … Nothing worth having comes easily including a relationship and especially a marriage. Your grass grows where you water it, as they say.”
Listening is Hearing, Not Judging
“Listening means just hearing, not judging or getting defensive. When someone's sharing, they're talking about themselves, not you.”