I hate this game played at Bridal showers called “let’s give the bride-to-be marriage advice.” First of all, I’m not an expert on marriage. I’m only an expert on my own marriage. I don’t have the insight into other people’s relationships. And what might work for one relationship, might not work in another.
That’s why I never give serious advice. Mostly I say stupid things like “fight naked” (really, who does that?) and sensible advice for those brides still hanging on to their V-cards, “lubrication is key.” And I don’t think that any advice that is truly going to be useful in a marriage can be summed up in some pithy little saying.
The hubs and my marriage is uniquely our own. We hardly ever fight or argue. We get along great with each other. I think I chose someone to marry who is compatible with me, and yet different enough to keep it interesting, because my parents constantly fought their entire married lives. I really did not want this in my own marriage. I feel like there’s enough conflict outside of the walls of my marriage and so many things I have to fight for that the last thing I want to do is fight with the hubs. He’s my safety net and my soft place to fall.
So my marriage advice might not even be relevant to someone else’s marriage. I believe relationships have to be negotiated and what the hubs and I have negotiated (consciously or unconsciously) works for us. And when it isn’t working for us anymore, we talk about it and change it.
The only marriage advice that I received when the hubs and I were engaged that I actually listened to and actually mattered to me was from a friend whom I worked with at a grocery store. He had been through some pretty hard times in his marriage: the loss of a child, infidelity. He told me that we should never fight about money because no matter how much we make, it’s never going to be enough, so there’s no point in fighting about it. This was very helpful advice and the hubs and I have hardly ever fought about money. Except when we were newlyweds and we had to readjust our spending priorities to be able to afford our new married lifestyle. The hubs and I have really struggled financially through the years. Low-paying jobs, having children really early into our marriage, going to school. It was hard watching all of our friends buy houses while we continued to rent. And yet I can reflect on those times and know that those struggles really brought us together and made us a strong team.
The point of this post is this….if you ever find me at your bridal shower and I don’t give you any real advice it’s because I don’t feel like an expert enough into your own relationship to tell you what you need to do. You and your spouse need to figure that out on your own.