In addition to being some U.S. holiday or whatever, today also marks my sixth wedding anniversary. And my wife and I are both still alive! Yay!
So what’s or secret? How did we do it?
No secrets! But I’ll share some thoughts on marriage and what has worked for us.
- Find somebody with the same values. I’m sorry to go against conventional wisdom, but opposites do not really attract. In my case, I married somebody who is of the same ethnicity (Greek) of the same religion (Greek Orthodox) with the same cultural values (traditional and wanting children) and politics (right-leaning). She’s also a professional (dentist) as am I (lawyer). This all has made marriage, while never “easy,” a whole lot easier. I have dates opposites and Greek girls before her, and for me personally, it left me wanting to settle down with a Greek girl. Whatever you are, chances are that you’re better off with one of them. Of course exceptions exist, and I’d say religion, values, and politics trump race or ethnicity. But whatever you do, don’t ignore this.
- Don’t play the “always and never” game. Want to really piss of your spouse in an argument? Accuse them of always doing something, or never doing something. This is usually not statistically accurate and serves only as a personal attack and not an attack on the specific issue or circumstance you are trying to address. And even if it IS accurate, your spouse will be turned off. Instead, try, “I don’t like how you did X just now” or “I wish you could try doing Y.” Trust me, this makes married life much easier.
- Don’t judge your spouse by their worst moment. In the throes of an argument when all you want to do is throw the other person out of a window and all you can remember is the ways that they’ve pissed you off, recall how, when things are hunky dory, all you can think about is how great the other person is. You’ll find yourself seeing things much clearer. We all have bad moments, and they pass. Of course, some marriages are bad. I’m not talking about those here.
- Stay in shape. I really don’t need to elaborate on this one, save to say it’s vital.
- Take time apart. You’ll each have hobbies, interests, and friends that the other does not share. The biggest way to build resentment is not letting your spouse partake in them.
- Money! Talk about it! Be good with it and be fair with it. Pay bills but allow for the occasional indulgence. I could write a whole post on marriage and money, but if you’re going to get married, know that money is one of the top marriage killers. Set a budget and be up-front about habits, debts, wants, needs, and likes.
These are just some quick tips from a married guy. If you have any more, I’d love to see them in the comments below!
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