I recently attended a wedding and one thing that occurred to me was how the running wedding joke to the groom is to listen to his wife and everything will be okay. That you’ll then have a happy marriage. It was a joke and I think that’s all it really is. A happy marriage doesn’t come from total submission from either side.
Being married for 2 years is a really short time in comparison to my parents or grandparents but among my friends, I was the “veteran”. So many started asking me for “marriage advice” in spite of my limited time as a married man.
So I pulled together the things I’ve learned in the past two years. Not really from my own experience necessarily but also from the experience of my parents and the many other long married couples. Here they are.
1) Eliminate any reason for insecurity
The one thing that plagues many relationships is this. A girlfriend worried that her boyfriend could have something to do with his colleague, or some other girl out there he’s been messaging.
Insecurity can turn anyone into an ugly person. It can make a normal person do crazy things.
In my relationship I do whatever I can to eliminate insecurity. If my wife wants to look at my phone and read all my messages. Sure. I let her do it. She knows my pin and I have no qualms whatsoever with her taking my phone at any time to read it. Sure to some it’s not a matter of having something to hide but more a matter of privacy but to me, my privacy with my wife is a small price to pay for her security. This works both ways. She doesn’t hide her phone from me either.
2) Understanding that men follow their heads, women follow their hearts
Men and women are hardwired differently. Men look at situations in a factual manner. Women look at them more emotionally. That’s why sometimes in the middle of an argument the guy would say “I don’t understand what is wrong here and what we’re arguing about?” and the girl says “You don’t understand how I feel!”.
So for the guys, if you’re ever in a fight with your lady, ask yourself “How does she feel right now and why?”.
For the girls ask “What exactly am I upset about here in particular… emotions aside?”.
The sooner you can bridge these two the sooner you reconcile.
3) What he/she needs to know and what he/she don’t
This is a fairly controversial point.
Most people say that they want to know everything. If you got fired from your job, they want to know immediately. If your business is doing badly, they want to know. If you made a mistake and cheated on them, they want to know. If you have cancer, they want to know.
I know a man who has been married 30 years now and when I asked him if he told his wife everything he said “Most people want to know everything. Some can handle the truth, but some can’t. Know what kind of partner you are with before you decide whether or not to tell all”.
4) Different people receive love in different ways
A married friend of mine once introduced me to a book called The 5 Languages of Love. It emphasizes that different people have different ways in which they want their partners to show love to them.
Some people measure love by the words of affirmation you give them, some by gifts or some by the quality time you spend with them. Before you do a gesture of love for your partner, find out which of the 5 languages she best receives love in. If she values quality time with her then buying gifts isn’t going to have a major impact.
I know my wife’s language of love. She needs for quality time with me to feel loved. For me I know it’s acts of service.
5) Knowing that your husband/wife is number 1
When I was a kid I told my mom that I love her and that no matter who I married in future I would always love my mom more. To my surprise my mom actually corrected me. She said
“You’re wrong. Once you get married, the number 1 person you must fight for and always remain committed to is your wife, not your mother. I’ve already had my time with being your number 1, and I won’t be able to live life with you forever. From then on, your wife takes on that responsibility, and so she must be your number 1”.
She made me promise that and I knew it wasn’t easy for her because hey… she didn’t know yet who I was going to get married to. Sometimes mothers don’t get along with their daughter-in-laws and she was preemptively pushing me to the side of my future wife. It was selfless, but as they say, if you love somebody you must be prepared to let him/her go when the time comes.