Marriage is no walk in the park, as any married couple will attest. Choosing to spend the rest of your life with the same person is a decision you continue making every single day and it requires plenty of patience, sacrifice, and mutual respect. Not to mention, an unfailing sense of humor.
Reddit recently asked the married couples in its audience about the unspoken rules that help keep their marriage alive and their responses might just save your relationship—or at least, provide you with some pointers.
1. There’s no winning when it comes to arguments.
There’s no “winning” an argument when you’re married. You either come to an agreement somehow or you’ve both lost. A situation where one person walks away feeling discouraged, unheard, and disrespected is not a victory when you’re married.
2. Honesty is key.
Everybody always says to be honest and to communicate with each other. The extra step that is left out is to not punish your spouse for being honest. Sometimes you might hear things you don’t like, but if you punish this honesty, the communication line will close.
3. It isn’t always pretty.
Sometimes you’ll be helping each other poop or puke or both and cleaning it up. Don’t ever bring this back up to humiliate the other.
4. Don’t make fun of your pregnant wife, unless she allows it.
My wife is pregnant and kind of……emotional. We have an agreement that I can’t laugh at her farts unless she laughs first.
This is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done
5. Don’t keep score.
Sometimes you’re wrong and sometimes they’re wrong. Don’t keep score, and don’t use “well last time…” as an excuse to keep going when you’re the one who is wrong.
6. Love and more love.
Love your partner the way they need to be loved, not the way you need to be loved.
7. Be kind.
I’m a divorce attorney and I’ve been married for almost 20 years. Here’s the secret: be the kind of spouse that you would like to have by your side. Forgive the things you would like to be forgiven for and fight for the things that you would like someone to fight for on your behalf. The best way to have a good spouse is to be one.
8. A little space is healthy.
Give each other space and alone time.
If he wants to veg out and play video games for a couple hours let him. If she wants to unwind watching reality tv or reading books, let her. Don’t have to be connected at the hip to have a successful marriage.
My friend told me it’s two blankets on the bed, one for each of you…
10. Pick your battles.
Don’t correct the other person unless it’s important. Otherwise, it’ll just raise the level of irritation. More generally, pick your battles.
11. Be respectful ALWAYS.
NEVER DISRESPECT YOUR PARTNER. NOT IN PUBLIC, OR IN CONVERSATIONS TO YOUR FRIENDS, OR IN FRONT OF THE KIDS, ETC.
12. Appreciate the little things.
If one person voluntarily cleans something the other person is expected to not complain about how the job was done. They might not load the dishwasher the way you do, but they did load it. That is a win.
13. Don’t poke the bear.
If your partner is in a bad mood, leave him/her alone for a while.
Why people “pick” at someone who’s in a bad mood is beyond me.
14. Remember, you’re a team.
No matter what happens, we’re on the same side and working towards the same goals.
From work to family members, the rest of the world can be a butt, but at the end of the day, we chose each other and we remember why.
15. Always answer the phone.
One rule I’ve followed for the last decade is that I never ignore calls from my wife. If she’s calling or texting me, I answer no matter what.
16. Never go to bed angry.
Remember that the last words you have spoken to her may be the last words she ever hears from you.
17. Respect and more respect.
Respectfulness is often more important than the old saying about communication. Respecting your partner, being mindful of things they’re doing, etc.
Learn when your partner is focused on something, and avoid interrupting them, etc. Respect each other’s need for free-time away from each other.
Respect your partner enough to not trash the house, or force your partner to do all the household chores.
18. Be there for all of the ups and downs.
If your SO drops the pot of dinner on the floor, or the garbage bag bursts and makes a mess, you step in and say “Go sit down and watch TV. I will clean this!” There is nothing more frustrating than making the effort to keep your family clean and fed, and having to fight against the universe at the same time.
If your SO has your back at exactly that moment, it’s instant love.
19. Talk to each other.
Making all the rules spoken. Unspoken rules are basically landmines.