Wedding advice from the experts and the successful married folk is easy to find. Marriage advice – genuine, heartfelt advice from a person once married but no longer married may offer a better and more realistic flavor. The people who are doing and getting it right might not really be able to tell someone what to avoid and how to spot EARLY when things start to go wrong. And so, here is my advice, for what its worth. This is for J & M who tie the knot today.
- Be silly. I mean really silly. Goofy and juvenile and never stop being able to laugh at yourself or at each other. Take heed when there is even the slightest whisper that your spouse is not laughing with you and might no longer think you are funny or seems to just be having trouble laughing at all.
- Listen. Really listen. Listen to each other’s words and what is said between the words. Listen to the non-verbal communication, too. If you are uncertain….ASK. And keep asking. Love and marriage is dynamic. Just because if was fine last year or last decade may not mean it’s still fine now.
- Pay attention. Notice hair cuts and new undies, notice that there is a new set of dishes and that the tires got rotated. Be perceptive and take care of one another’s needs and wants.
- Touch. Touch each other. ALOT. Touch for every reason outside of sex. Touch isolated to intimacy dwindles fast and becomes perfunctory. So touch when you pass the salt. Tuck her hair behind her ear and wipe the froth from his upper lip instead of telling him to wipe it off. Better yet, kiss it off.
- Kiss. Keep kissing. Kiss like you’re parked in the backseat of a car. Kiss just because. And when you have kids…kiss in front of them. And real kisses. Not pecks and chaste church lady kisses. Gross them out. Your kids need to see you are affectionate with each other.
- If you have kids (and you don’t have to have kids) but if you have kids remember: Kids are embellishments to a marriage. They are adornment. They are testament and the consequence of your love and bond. When you say your vows, you make the promise to each other and no one stands inside that ring but you and your spouse …..and Christ (AKA Love).
- Compromise. Both of you. Give and take. Yin and Yang. Be genuinely contrite and say sorry and say it first. Say it and mean it though, don’t say it out of obligation. Compromise is not acquiescence. And failure to compromise over time leads to disparity and that is a very bad thing. Don’t keep score in fights but definitely keep score when you acquiesce. This must be kept in balance.
- Oh, yeah….and you must fight. But you fight like Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Both feet planted and immobilized with no leaving. Don’t leave a fight unfinished. Hash it out until its done and settled and resolved. And then let it go. But fight. And fight with intention. Mean it. If you won’t fight with each other, you may have no chance of fighting beside each other against what will come at you from outside your marriage.
- Pray together. Regularly. And prayer can be Sunday Mass or screaming God’s name out in ecstasy. Divinity must be recognized and honored together. But pray and seek spiritual growth together.
- Have passion. For each other. For life. For hobbies. For whatever. Be present and STAY engaged even after you are married.
You stand before God and your family and friends and make a promise. But you first and foremost stand facing one another and promise. Everyone means it on their wedding day. Keep making the promise. Take inventory regularly. Check back and look forward. And remember….within the ring of your marriage there are just the two of you and LOVE. Fight for it. Like a Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robot.