A friend asked me, what is something you wish people would tell you before embarking on a long term relationship or marriage?
Here are my top 10 that would have made our marriage easier. But I guess we figured it out.
1. Sex isn’t perfect. Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes, well, you learn. Sometimes it’s easy. Sometimes you’re too exhausted. And when you have kids they give you little time for it. And after two of them they team up to make sure they have no more competitors.
2. Money does matter. My wife and I thought we could live on love alone. The first year we almost proved it. Yet money is important. It causes more arguments than almost anything. You’ll never have enough for everything. Just agree on how to spend what you have.
3. Fight fair. I know, you can’t imagine ever arguing. Yet, something about 24/7/365 those cute endearing little quirks can become annoying as hell. So learn to attack the problems without attacking each other. Then you can make up. And that’s the best.
4. Change is the new normal. You’ll change through the years. Your relationship will. Kids accelerate it. When they leave you’ll think it’ll be like at first. That’s where you’d be wrong. So you always need to keep adapting, learning and growing.
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5. You’ll fall out of love. Occasionally. Ok, sometimes more. Careers, kids, sickness, stress all take their toll on your passion. Some days you’ll feel passionately in love. Some days you’ll wonder, “What the hell?” Just do the things that make sure you keep falling back in love.
6. Laugh often. Seriously. You did when you were dating. Then you get married and life turns all freaking serious all the time. So joke. Tease each other lovingly like you did at first. Laugh often. Even when the other’s joke aren’t that funny. My wife does this well.
7. Pretend love. Some days your relationship is easy. Some days, well, you’ll wonder. In those times remember what you did when you felt so in love. Do those same things. Even when you don’t feel it. Because eventually you will again.
8. Be graceful. By that I mean full of grace. You’ll both make mistakes. You’ll do and say things you regret. You’ll have good moments and some less than stellar ones. Fill your relationship with grace for the other. Give the grace you’d like to receive. Oh, and give yourself grace too.
9. Quitting seems positive. You’ll reach moments that quitting seems like the best alternative. In those times all that will get you through is that you both refuse to give up. And to remember that light shining at the other end of the tunnel really is daylight.
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10. It gets better and better. As many struggles as you go through. If both of you stay committed and never stop loving, your relationship will grow into something amazing. It changes. But from a caterpillar into a butterfly. A stormy night into a sunny morning. The best is yet to come.
So there you go. Learned from trial and a lot of unforced errors. The things I wish someone would have told us. Of course, I probably would’ve thought, “Nah, not us. We can live on love alone.”
And we tried to prove it.
Great marriages are mysterious. And when built well, glorious.
Credit: Doug Armey