There seem to be a lot of advice given these days. Some of the more dubious advice seems to come from the more highly paid. Since I am neither highly paid nor dubious and there seems to be a real need some times for some thoughtful advice. I thought I would sit, think and expound on the idea of just getting along.
After my first marriage failed, I looked at my second wedding invitations to provide a small amount of insight, wisdom or yes some advice. On the wedding invitation RSVP cards, I left space for guests to write their favorite wedding wisdom. The tidbit that rings truest after my fourth marriage is to attack the issue, not each other. If one party disagrees with another about something, the parties need to stay focused on the issue and skip the personal put-downs or old history neither had any role.
"My grandmother insisted that I learn how to play golf." said Aimee on her reply card. "If your husband loves to play, you can go along and spend hours together playing golf. So my wife took lessons, and we hit the links once a month. We both love the game and were thrilled to share a hobby, until I no longer wanted to spend half an hour looking for her out-of-bounds balls, after all I was too busy finding mine.
"My aunt told me that if I'm running late when it's my turn help out with dinner, just set the table. That way my spouse thinks we'll be eating any minute, so they don't start complaining, which buys me some time. It's a silly trick that sounds straight out of the 1950s, but I have to admit that I've tried it a few times in the years I've been married and it works!"
Because men are such remote-control freaks, my sister suggested that at our house we have "my turn" TV nights. That means three nights a week my wife gets to hold the remote and watch whatever she wants, and on the other nights it's my turn to hold the remote and watch whatever I choose. Now when I start flipping through the channels, it doesn't get on other people’s nerves like it used to. They are assured that their turn will come.
My sister-in-law passed this helpful hint on to me, and it has served me well for our years of wedded bliss. "Marriage is not mind reading, so ask your spouse what he/she wants and believe what he/she says." This sets the stage for dialogue and an exchange of points of view. I have learned a lot by changing my point of view.
Before anyone says "I do," take out a piece of paper and write down the top three things that bugged me about your spouse-to-be. Then you forget the things on that list and forgive him for not being flawless. Once you make a commitment this big, you can't let petty things get in the way. In our years of marriage, my spouse and I have tackled cross-country as well as international moves and started a trucking business. We are really different people who love being together.
You've probably heard a few of these pieces of before. If so, write them down you will hear them again and again.
1. Love means never having to say you're sorry. Oh, please! In marriage, love sometimes means having to say you're sorry even if you don't know what you did or you didn't mean to do it.
2. Always be totally honest. What are you going to do, tell him that he's just too short and you can't stand his mother? Sometimes you need to temper the truth.
3. Children come first. This is bad advice if it means your husband always comes second. Of course you should love and care for your kids, but you should never lose sight of your couple-ness. The best thing a child can have is happy, fulfilled parents who are deeply in love.
4. Always keep the peace. Oh no, no, no. If you don't face a hot issue head-on, you'll stockpile negative feelings. And before you know it, 20 years go by and you're still fighting over the same thing because you never resolved it in the first place.
5. Never go to bed angry. Forget it. Often a couple needs time to calm down before they can rationally wrap up an argument. And that may take a few days, so in the meantime, get some sleep!
These are my top five and they have been a good rudder for me as of late. I they can do the same for you.
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