Ahhh, jumping the broom. It’s not for everyone, but it's manageable if you have the right information. I was completely caught off guard by some of the situations I’ve encountered in nearly eleven years of holy matrimony and if you’re not prepared, you’ll be running full speed ahead back to the single life. Fortunately, my husband and I loved each other enough to pull our family together and live happily ever after.
You say you want happily ever after also? Well, I submit to you a list of valuable lessons I've learned throughout the years. Of course, I can't really promise you eternal love, but a few of these tips will save you from unnecessary suffering, guaranteed.
Be crowned the king/queen of two-timing BEFORE you commit
In other words, it's so much easier to play the field while you’re single, instead of getting married and deciding you want to see a whole lot of other people. Seems like this would be easy to figure out, right? Well, apparently it’s not. Some people don’t realize the big mess they’ve created until it’s way too late and they’re unable to come back from it. Can you say: Alimony, monthly child-support payments and a second job to support yourself? Not to mention various sexually transmitted diseases, some fatal.
2. Marry someone you are also friends with.
Declare to spend the rest of your life with someone who really likes you as a person, not just as a sexual partner. Sometimes, sex will be nonexistent for short periods of time (pregnancy, illness). If you and your better half like each other, as well as love each other, the foundation that was built on friendship will be more than enough to get you through those rough patches. Besides, being best friends with your spouse makes marriage so much more fun!
3. Don't put your spouse on a pedestal
Everyone makes mistakes, so leave room for plenty of them. If you're looking for the perfect spouse and marriage you're probably living in a fantasy world. Simple rules apply in our vows, but we all act a little human sometimes and vows become the hardest thing in the world to stick to. This is to be expected, so try not to come down too hard on your other half for not being a saint at all times and the two of you will be just fine.
4. Leave the past in the past
Geez, are you still nagging about all those awful things that happened three years ago. Get over it. No one wants to hear the remix of how much of a jackass they used to be, especially when you all agreed to work it out and things are going great. If you just can't stop bringing it up every five minutes, maybe it’s time to seek counseling. Otherwise, concentrate on the good things and push forward.
5. Put your spouse and children first
Nothing is going to send you to divorce court faster than in-law drama. I know you want everyone to get along, but understand that you are not responsible for your mother, father or siblings happiness. Your main responsibility is to keep your house in order. If your parents and siblings can't get with the program, be prepared to take a hiatus from them until they have learned to respect you and your mate. If something in them forbids them to do so, stay true to the one who really matters and that should be you. If you truly want a successful marriage, sometimes you have to learn to love from a distance.
6. Never disrespect your home
You already know your family hates your husband/wife, so stop going to them and talking behind his or her back whenever you two have an argument. One, it just makes your family loathe your spouse even more and two, your marriage is on the wrong track if you're pouring salt on your significant other. Also, keep your house a home by not having the wrong people coming and going. This is bad for any relationship, married or not. Keep the drama queen/king out of your house, they're only looking to start trouble.
7. Keep marital advice from someone who isn't married to a minimum
Realistically, you probably shouldn’t take marital advice from someone who has never been married, just like you probably shouldn't take childrearing advice from someone who doesn't have kids. I know it sounds a little harsh, but it makes sense. Would you take flight instruction from someone who has never even had flight training? I wouldn’t. In my experience, my unmarried friends have never said anything that could help my marriage. (Sorry guys, I know you tried, but...) Personally, I like to seek advice from older, experienced couples. There is no better way to prepare for marital warfare, than to get guidance from someone who has already been in combat and survived.
8. Support your husband or wife’s endeavors
Why do you shoot down every idea your sweetie comes up with? Will it really kill you to be supportive for once? No one will exist on a single thought for the rest of their lives. Realize that people grow and with growth comes change. It's understandable your spouse has aspirations outside of going to work and paying bills. Is your opposing attitude holding him back from starting that small business? Are you laughing her away from her dream of becoming an actress? Be supportive of your life companion’s dreams because if it works out for them, it will really work out for you.
9. Keep passion alive!
She used to wear sexy boy shorts while the two of you were dating, but since you've been married and had two children all she’s worn to bed are her gigantic granny bloomers. He used to say something flattering to you everyday, but now he barely notices you. These are common complaints and it can wreak havoc in a marriage. Life is busy and we all get weary from our day-to-day affairs, but just remember to take a little time out to spoil your spouse every once in a while. Let them know that you haven't forgotten about them and you appreciate all of their efforts. Show them that you are still the person they fell in love with even though life can get in the way. Your partner will surely return the favor.
10. Communicate often
Talk to your spouse everyday about something other than the kids, the house, and the bills. Even if you don't spend a lot of time in the house together, a cell phone will solve that problem. Be sure to get some time to yourselves; go out on a date every once in a while or just snuggle on the couch and talk about constructive things. In my opinion, communication is the key to a successful marriage. Who wants to spend the rest of their life with someone who won't even talk? Who wants to have a disagreement, but not be able to discuss it intelligently? I'm a huge fan of heated discussions. At least we're communicating; not going in a room, slamming the door and stewing for hours. Let's hash it out, get it over with and make up. And who doesn't like making up? Wink.
Don’t forget to:
Pray everyday for your marriage, your home and children. Prayer can bring reassurance and ease your mind when things go haywire. Do you know what would be even better? Pray together. You already know the saying, “the family that prays together, stays together!”