Some couples are so focused on getting things ready for their amazing wedding that they don’t spend enough time thinking about what happens after saying, “I do.” The realities of married life might clash with their expectations (if any) about what it would all be like, and it might lead to some resentment, fiery arguments, and overall bitterness. Fortunately, not all hope is lost!
There’s a lot of wisdom hidden on the internet—you just need to know where to look. And handy tips and tricks about married life are no exception. Married internet users, tried-and-tested veterans of long-term relationships, took to the r/AskReddit subreddit to share their best bits of advice that they think every non-married couple should know before tying the proverbial knot.
We’ve collected their best insights into married life, so scroll down and have a read, dear Pandas. From how vital it is to support one another to keeping date nights alive and well and beyond, you’ll find a wealth of heartfelt relationship guidance below.
I reached out to dating and relationship expert Dan Bacon, the founder of The Modern Man project, for his insights on marriage and married life. "In my experience, marriage has been completely different to just being in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. Since both my wife and I take the vow of marriage seriously and have sincerely married each other, we treat each other as though we really are going to be together for life," Dan, who has been together with his wife for 9 years, told Bored Panda.
"When you’re in a marriage for real, you approach the relationship in a way where you are in it for life and therefore, you sincerely care about how you make the other person feel and their experience in the relationship on a daily basis. They are literally the most important person to you and you act accordingly." Scroll down to take a peek at the expert's other thoughts on married life, dear Readers.
When you’re done reading, you might want to check out this Bored Panda article right here about married life. And if you’re in a healthy, happy relationship, why not share your own married life tips in the comments? We’re sure you’ve got some great ideas, Pandas.
The best thing about marriage is that there is always someone there when you come home. The worst part of marriage is that there is always someone there when you come home.
Dan, the founder of The Modern Man, explained to Bored Panda that dating and marriage are very different ball games entirely. "Dating is for now and marriage is for life, so people’s behavior and treatment of each other usually adjusts to suit that," he said.
"I say ‘usually’ because some people make the mistake of treating a marriage more like a dating relationship," the relationship expert noted that some people don't think about how their behavior will affect the other person in the long run, they keep an eye open for other relationship opportunities, and they become emotionally detached. "As a result, the marriage falls apart over time."
If you're more interested in the Wedding itself than the idea of being married, you're not ready to be married
Kids make everything more complicated, harder, and infinitely more stressful. Your entire world will be turned upside down. Or at least it should be. Please don't procreate unless you're absolutely sure you're able to handle it.
I was interested to get to grips about whether things change drastically after marriage for a couple or if most long-term relationships inevitably change over time. Relationship expert Dan said that a lot depends on a couple's perspective on marriage. How a couple thinks about marriage, what it means to them, and how sincere they are about spending the rest of their lives together shapes their relationship.
In his experience, marriage is vastly different from dating. He and his wife view marriage very seriously, as though it really is for life, like in everyone's vows. "Having that kind of attitude, or using that kind of approach in a marriage, results in both people behaving a lot better in the relationship," Dan said. This way, neither person takes the other for granted, they truly care about each other, they don't become annoying to the other. What's more, healthy married couples honestly want the best for each other and continue to make long terms plans with one another. In contrast, unmarried relationships can sometimes be less serious and committed because one or both people might not really care if it breaks up one day.
Marriage is rarely two strong people, it’s about taking turns being strong for each other.
I know it sounds cliche but it’s true. You will both have days when your relationship feels invincible, and there can be months where one of you is depressed or hurting. You both have to be willing to support each other no matter the circumstances.
Don’t sweep problems under the rug. Fight it out & make up.
Your partner has to be your number one priority, over your career & extended family.
Marriage isn't really about romance; its about finances. Seriously. If you are not talking finances with someone, you are not thinking about the future enough to even be considering marriage.
Marriage is for when you love someone in the kind of way where you think about how they will be taken care of when you die. When you look at them and think "I am glad she has health insurance because I don't want to lose her".
I have been married 8 years now, and I never wanted to get married. I wasn't looking for a wife. However, I found myself a life partner and... within a year found I couldn't bear the thought of her not having health insurance. I found myself looking down the road and realized, I was afraid of losing her to something I could prevent.
You don't need to be married to live with someone, to have sex with them, whatever. Marriage is for when the thought of death leaves you so conflicted that death is far less frightening than not being there for her when it happens. When you find yourself hoping that she goes first, because you could never wish the pain of loss on her.
Death no longer means blackness and nothingness to me. It means me not being there to soothe her pain. Any person who doesn't know that conflict has no business getting married.
Just because people have always told you that marriage and kids go hand in hand, it doesn’t mean that has to be true for you.
My husband and I have been married for 5 years and are never having kids. We just want to focus on each other and our individual/couple goals in life.
Dan stressed the fact that when you "marry for real," you don't view it as a temporary thing. The decision changes your life. "It’s a huge part of your life experience because the other person is literally going to be there the whole way, so you don’t want to mess up the happy, in love dynamic that you’re experiencing together. You want the love and good times to last for life, so it encourages you to be a better person in the relationship."
Back in July, I interviewed Anna and Sarah from The Wedding Society about healthy married life. They told Bored Panda that some people are far too focused on the wedding than the marriage.
"In the image-conscious, social media-driven world we currently live in, it's so easy to get caught up in the visual aesthetics of how your wedding looks. So much focus goes into planning the day that the actual reason for the day can get lost," they revealed to me earlier.
"Thankfully, there's a big trend now to go back to what's authentic, meaningful, and significant. That means focusing your day around highlighting what your relationship means to you rather than how the public think it should look. It's an amazing trend and we're 100% here for it,” Anna and Sarah said that things are changing somewhat.
Love evolves. It’s not always fireworks.
Make sure you both are on the same page when it comes to priorities and core values that affect your daily lives. If you aren’t now, you probably won’t be after getting married either.
Marriage isn't always a 50/50 partnership. Sometimes, it's 70/30. Sometimes it's 80/20. Sometimes it's 100/0.
This isn't a reflection on effort or commitment. That should always be 100%. What this means is that you will sometimes have to work harder than the other for one reason or another. Ex. If one becomes sick, then the other must pick up the slack. Maybe I'm oversimplifying it, but the married folk will understand what I am saying.
"We do find that couples who set some time after the day for a honeymoon to spend with each other and celebrate what's just happened in your relationship together (rather than jumping straight back into day-to-day life) can be hugely beneficial," they told Bored Panda.
"You'll never get this time back so it's important to relish it. That said, it really doesn't matter how amazing your wedding is. If it's not formalizing a relationship that has a good foundation, it ain't gonna make the relationship last. That much we know for sure."
I also have a lovely chat about long term relationships with expert Alex Scot. She stressed the fact that we need alone time, that we need to take care of our individual needs, and that we can’t do absolutely everything as a couple.
"When we take time to ourselves, we are meeting our own needs, feeling autonomous, and it allows us time to miss our partner. Without regular alone time within our relationships, we can become drained and even resentful," Alex told Bored Panda.
Live together before getting married. You can only really know a person if you go through all kinds of situations with him/her.
Never let it be you against them. Always make it the two of you against the problem.
Marry your absolute best friend.
Keep dating. Just because you’re married doesn’t give either of you the right to stop trying to woo each other. There’s no shame in scheduling a regular are night. Take turns planning.
Always try harder than each other, to make each other smile, or to settle the argument.
Grudges and entitlement are death.
Take your time to formulate your thoughts, but don’t let stuff that bothers you sit for long. If at all possible, resolve before going to bed.
Don’t go to bed angry. Even if it’s not resolved, try to find a place of neutrality or objectivity in your own mind before passing out.
There are no contests. You either win together, or everyone loses. (Except in Carcassonne)
Learn to argue well. It’s going to happen. Learn to voice your concerns and opinions in a constructive way, learn to listen to theirs, learn to compromise, and then put it behind you. Leave everything in the discussion. It’s ok to be uncomfortable, it’s not ok to carry that with you permanently. Think of it as relational workout. It’s hard, it’s tough, or sucks, but you can grow stronger from it. (Just don’t get addicted to it)
The only thing you should EVER hide is presents.
The relationship expert detailed that we shouldn’t obsess over the idea of finding ‘the one’ who perfectly matches us. What’s more important is being grounded and finding a partner whose core values align with ours. They also need to have healthy relationship skills or at least the willingness to work to develop them.
"When we get hung up on this concept of 'the one,' we are less present with whoever we are dating at any specific moment because of this fear or curiosity that something out there is better—which leads to serial dating,” she said.
"For some reason, we step into adulthood, get into long-term relationships and believe we must 'adult' now and get serious, which leads us to denying ourselves of playtime. To get that spark back, go do something new together, play a game together, or revisit a nostalgic spot or activity,” Alex suggested that being playful can help reignite our feelings for our spouse if we feel things have gotten cold, grey, and mundane.
You're going to get annoyed with each other and get mad over silly things, and sometimes you have to realize that you (yes you) were the a-hole.
Things will change so try to grow together rather than grow apart. You have to communicate with your partner. Don’t hurt them on purpose. Do the dishes even after you worked all day because it’s nice sometimes.
Marriages thrive on kindness. It's all encompassing, covering all aspects of a life. When you are kind to your spouse above all others, it's exponential.
Me and my wife were friends with a Astrophysicist, super chill guy always had a philosopher at his side to "help ground" him. Anyways we told him we planned on marrying and he asked us if he could give us two words of advice. He said "stay friends" and at first we felt his advice went against the whole idea of stepping it up to marriage, we were wrong. After a year of separation we started dating again and took his advice, 12 years of friendship.
I got some super cheesy advice (I forget where, it could have come out of a fortune cookie):
"The work of keeping a marriage solid should be split 80/20 with both sides doing 80%."
Super cheesy right? Totally works.
After 20 years married (married originally at 23 and 21) the most important thing I’ve learned is that you need to be ready to marry your partner several times in your lifetime. We all change, sometimes drastically. Children, careers, aging, you name it! Your priorities today will not be your priories tomorrow. Same likely for your interests, friends, politics.
I like to say that so far I’ve married my wife three times. As your partner changes, you need to learn to appreciate and fall in love with the new person they become. Most simply become resentful and hurt. “You used to....” Avoid any thought that begins with those words. They are poison. Focus on love, appreciation and getting to know your partner over and over. Variety is the spice of life after all...
The initial, intense feelings of love and lust are fleeting, marry someone you want to grow old with, that you want to spend boring nights at home with. Things will get hard at times, but if you are as kind as you can be, you'll come out the other side with an even stronger foundation. Laugh as much as you can.
Talk. Schedule dates and time where you disconnect from kids, work and other responsibilities.
Do not be afraid to "hurt each others feelings". If your spouse is doing something that annoys you, let them know. If you don't voice it, it can't be addressed.
Talk about finances and long term goals early on.
Kids do not fix marital problems.
Edited to add...I believe marriage is a life-long commitment and that most problems are fixable. I think a lot of marriages fail because couples aren't prepared to do the work. Marriage isn't fire-and-forget, you have to take care of it. If you leave your dog at home all day, don't be upset at it for s***ting on the rug.
"The one" does not exist. There are many. Different people from different situations create different relationships. There is not only one way to live your life. There are many paths, many potential partners. Just make sure the one you chose is good for you.
My dad always told me "Son, don't marry the girl you can't live without; marry the girl you can live with"
My wife and I have a word, when spoken, we have to drop everything, halt hostilities, and go cuddle each other for at least 5 minutes.
And then.. she forgets what she was mad about!
I tied the knot with my wife 2.5 years after first meeting her. (really, really fast)
I've dated girls longer than I've known my wife. Don't get married because you have to, don't get married because "Well, it's been long enough we should probably do the thing." Get married because you know you can live with their quirks for the rest of your life, and get married when you're ready.
You are about to gain an entirely new side to your family. All their drama, all their family events, all their everything, and it's the most shocking part. Basically double your current amount of time you need to spend with relatives.
Your partner comes first, and as long as you both think this you'll be fine. When you have kids remember that you loved your partner first.
You guys are a TEAM. "The one who cares least controls the relationships" is terrible advice because that's not a relationship, that's a competition. It's not you vs them, it's both of you vs everyone else. Have their back, and they'll have yours. In other words, don't worry about wearing the pants in the relationship.
Know what each others 'Love Language' is. There are 5: Physical touch, words of affirmation, gift giving, act of service, and quality time. One of these is your major love language and the other is your minor. These are what your partner can do for you to make you feel loved. Once you know how to make your partner feel loved and visa-versa it makes for such a wonderful relationship.
It's good to know these because, for example, you may think that showering your partner with gifts is a way to show love because that is how you feel loved. When, in fact, making them a cup of coffee in the morning means a lot more because 'act of service' is their love language.
Take the quiz at: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/
Trust me....take it!!!!
My Grandpa told me some interesting advice once. He knows he lived in a different time but he said if he had to do it all over again he would do two things:
He wished he hadn't had kids right away. I mean he loved his kids, and he would have had 10 had my grandma let him. But after they were gone they traveled, and he told me that he saw a lot of things that 25 year old him would have killed to do, but at 60 he was too old. He did not mean waiting 10 years, but he wished instead he and my grams had done a little more traveling in their youth during the first 2 years of their marriage. He was a sailor in the Navy and had seen the world, so he took for granted some of the things he missed out on.
Live with each other. He said the HARDEST adjustment he went through was living with my grandma. Everyone has quirks and trust me some of them are going to drive you absolutely crazy. He definitely did not mean for a long time, but he said he wished he and my grams had moved in during the period in which they were engaged. I mean he and my grams were happily married for 62 years until he passed, but he said that was by far the hardest adjustment.
Now Im not married, but Ill tell you, this seems like good advice from the person who had the happiest marriage I have ever been witness too, and for a WW2 generation he lived the American Dream, had a house 4 kids all graduate college, 5 grand kids... Maybe not everyone's ideal, but he died a very happy man at 85
Regarding the commitment you're making, you are (or should be) signing up to stick by the person you're marrying. This means you marry the person they are, but you also marry any version of the person they'll become. Everyone goes through changes, and by design marriage is supposed to be a commitment to endure those changes whatever the case.
Sometimes, doing stuff you hate or dislike doing for the sake of the other, and actually doing it with a positive attitude, will bring you closer and you’ll change for the better as a person.
Touch each other every day.
It's proven to help maintain your relationship bond, keep the happy bonding chemicals fresh, and it's good for your health. It's easy and pleasant, it has huge pay off, and you will be happier.
You need to actually sit down and discuss what you view as your future. I had some friends horribly break up; they were of two different religions and it hadn't been an issue as they didn't really practice and did Jewish holidays with one, Christian the other, nbd. Apparently the wife thought that even though they were doing both, the kids would be of her religion because the mother is the one who passes the religion along, and he thought they'd continue celebrating both. It ended up being the end of the marriage. How they got that far without realizing that religion was an issue is unknown to me, but I'm also not the only person who knows someone this happened to.
Also: Money. You need to talk about your money expectations for the future.
I was told when I was engaged that the most common things married couples fight about are money and where to spend the holidays, and it seems to be totally accurate.
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