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Last Updated on February 16, 2020 by Diane Hoffmaster
My husband and I have been married for almost 20 years. Most of our friends and neighbors are in the upwardly mobile middle-class range and are in their 40's, just like we are. I am starting to see marriages falling apart and it comes as a bit of a shock, to be honest. Most of the couples I see getting divorced always seemed like they had a really strong marriage. I guess what goes on behind closed doors is a lot different than the front that is presented to the public. While I don't think I am qualified to hand out marriage relationship advice based on my own 20 years of marriage, I have learned a lot over the years that might come in handy when looking at your own marriage. Here is some common sense marriage relationship advice that has helped my husband and I over the last 20 years:
Common Sense Marriage Relationship Advice
Go to marriage counseling for marriage relationship advice BEFORE you need it!
My husband and I took a marriage class through our church before getting married. It was a requirement of getting married in that particular church. Our pastor had us discuss a few key issues with one another as he sat back and listened. Not just the biggies, either, like kids and finances. His marriage relationship advice included things like understanding how your partner reacts to criticism, knowing how comfortable (or uncomfortable) they were about discussing emotions, and several other key issues. I think the class really helped us understand how to communicate with each other. No amount of marriage relationship advice is going to help if you can't talk to each other honestly.
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Find things you enjoy doing together.
Over the years, my husband and I have enjoyed a number of hobbies and some of those are things we enjoy doing together. Usually, one of us finds something fun to do and after a while, the other jumps in to try it and together we have a blast. Motorcycling, hiking, cooking, and camping are some of our favorite things to do together. Be open minded when it comes to trying new things. You may find an activity that you and your partner can enjoy together. Maybe he is totally obsessed with fishing or going to auto shows. Maybe you should give fishing a try just to spend some time together. You could make him bait the hook if you are squeamish but you might find that fishing is your new favorite pastime! Of course, that means HE needs to try something that you enjoy, too. This marriage relationship advice doesn't work unless both parties are willing to put the effort in.
Enjoy some alone time.
While it is all well and good to spend time with your significant other, we all need some alone time once in a while. Since I work from home most days, I get plenty of alone time and can even squeeze in the occasional lunch with friends or a walk with the dog. My husband works all day in an office with bosses and employees and comes home rather stressed out. He enjoys going for a run, hanging out with friends, or just going into his 'man cave' (okay, he calls it the MUSIC ROOM....) for a few minutes of peace and quiet. He is a much calmer and happier person after 30 minutes of decompression. Everyone needs a little time away once in a while. If YOU need time away from the kids, tell your partner that! When my kids were little, my husband would come home from work and take the kids to the playroom for 30 minutes of roughhousing so I could make dinner in peace. Sure, I still had to make dinner but at least I didn't have a kid dangling on each leg for those 30 minutes!
Talk about finances early.
Money is one of the things people fight about most often. Talk about it early and in great detail. Are you going to merge your finances? Does one person pay certain bills and the other person is in charge of the rest? Do you have a 'limit' for how much you can spend on something without asking the other person? While my husband and I don't check in with each other about every single purchase, we both know better than to drop several hundred dollars on a whim without talking the other person first. New car tires? Okay, that is sort of a necessity but a surround sound system that you are drooling over at Best Buy better be discussed before purchase. Be open and honest with each other from the start about your feelings about how the money will be handled. Check out Smart Money for some good relationship advice for couples trying to deal with their finances.
Pick your battles carefully.
My husband and I have totally different ideas of what it means to 'clean the kitchen after dinner'. On nights that I am swamped with work, my husband is in charge of dinner cleanup. He 'cleans' the kitchen by putting away leftover food, putting dishes in the dishwasher (or, at least most of them!) and that is about it. There are usually crumbs on the table, a stray cup or two in the sink, etc. I am neurotic about my kitchen...I know this about myself. I detest crumbs, dirty dishes in sinks and wet towels on my counter. I do not expect my husband to be as neurotic as I am so I finish the job of cleaning when I get home. It's not like he didn't TRY, right? It's like the rare occasion when I mow the lawn. I miss spots and it drives him nuts! But, I tried and that is the important part. The best marriage relationship advice I can give is to not nag each other over the little things.
Make time for romance.
Okay, no relationship advice is complete unless it includes sex, right? We are all grownups here (or so I am assuming!) and we understand that sex happens. How often it happens is usually the big argument. Of course, it should only be happening with your significant other unless the two of you have an open marriage or like more than just the two of you in your bed. I am totally NOT going to get into those concepts but if it works for you, enjoy the variety! For the rest of us not so adventurous folks, we all have to learn how to keep things exciting even when we are with the same person every night for the rest of our lives. Romance and sex are not the same thing so make sure to include both in your relationship. Snuggling doesn't have to lead to sex but goes a long way towards making your significant other feel loved. Talk to each other about what you want in the bedroom...avoiding insults whenever possible! Avoid phrases such as 'I don't like it when' and use positive words instead ('I enjoy....') Like a faithful Labrador, your husband will respond to positive reinforcement with an even more eager to please attitude. Or, at least we can hope. If not, find yourself a fun inanimate object to work out your frustrations with. Finding another human to play with is the first step towards divorce. No amount of sex is worth ruining a good marriage for so think with your brain and not your hormones! If your significant other HAS strayed to other pastures, you need marriage relationship advice from someone way more qualified than me! Find a good marriage counselor, ASAP.
My husband and I do NOT have a perfect marriage. We argue with each other just like every other couple out there. However, the marriage relationship advice above includes a few of the key aspects of our marriage that we try to work on regularly. It is not easy...it has to be worked on every single day but I am hoping that it helps us stay together til we are old and gray. The most important marriage relationship advice I have ever read was the importance of making your marriage FIRST and your children second. Not that you should ignore your kids but do not let their lives take over your marriage. When the kids grow up and move out, you will end up living with a stranger if you don't take some time to reconnect with each other every once in a while.
Do you have any other marriage relationship advice to share?
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She has two college aged kids, one husband and more pets than she will admit to. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire but left her career in science to become a stay at home mom. Years of playing with LEGO and coloring with crayons had her craving a more grown up purpose to her life and she began blogging and freelance writing full time. You can learn more about her HERE.