“Every marriage is a mystery.”
I interpret that to mean that every marriage is different from one another. What works form me and Perry, might not work for other marriages.
Example: Cleaning the house.
I know a woman who is totally fine with always doing all the housework. ALWAYS. Her husband doesn’t lift much of a finger when it comes to cleaning. She is also really good at having a spotless house, sometimes it would get in the way of spending time together because I would be over there ready to relax, but she had to make sure everything was spotless before she could relax.
Me: I am okay with taking on majority of responsibility (especially because he can never fold my jeans the right way), but I expect my husband to do his part when he can. If the dishwasher is empty/dirty, he doesn’t need to leave his dishes in the sink, he can put them in the dishwasher. I am not the most perfect house cleaner, as much as I wish I were, but I am okay with that. I do the best I can and prioritize cleaning when I can. (We always have clean underwear)
Every marriage is different.
Here are five do’s and don’ts that work for our marriage, and maybe they could work for yours.
1) Don’t Keep Score
One time this happened between me and Perry while I had a friend over:
Me: Perry can you bring me a wash cloth?
(Perry brings me a wash cloth from the kitchen)
Me: Can you get it wet.
(Perry goes back to kitchen and gets it wet for me)
Not Keeping Score means: We practice charity toward each other! I don’t try and manipulate him to always do things for me (except since I’ve been pregnant). Its not always the most convenient times when he asks me to grab him a drink of water, or run his text book that he forgot out to the curb, but we both try and do things for each other equally.
And get this, sometimes we do it without being asked! WHAT? Yes, we offer to help each other. “Are you hungry? Can I make you anything?” Don’t do things for each other because you ‘owe’ them for doing something for you. Do it because you love each other and want to help each other.
2) Do Have Separate Hobbies
Perry and I have similar interests, but they are not identical. I like vintage clothes shopping. He likes building things. We both play music and have spent many hours playing in bands. It is okay to have different interests, in fact, it eliminates one of my biggest pet peeves that individuals practice: One Upping Each other. If you both are runners, some friendly competition is nice, but if you are always trying to prove to the other of who can run the hardest or longest, where is the fun in that?
Sometimes if you share the same hobby, but don’t get enough space from each other, you could end up disliking that hobby.
Don’t stop pursuing your interests! It is healthy to be able to support each other in your different passions. Its healthy to not spend 100% of your time together, always doing the same thing. Which goes into my next don’t..
3) Don’t Spend 100% Of Your Time Together
I’ve seen many friends rely on their spouses too much for their social life. Not every spouse needs the same amount of social activities in their life, but it can be bad news if you are solely dependent on your spouse for social life.
Perry and I enjoy our solitude. It is healthy for us. I’ve seen friends who are anxiously waiting for their husband to be home from an activity, getting angrier by the minute, and when he finally gets home they argue and give them a hard time for not wanting to spend time with them.
Here is a little hint: If you are angry when your husband comes home, do you think that encourages him to come home any faster?
Find a hobby, go hang out with your girlfriends, go do something on your own and enjoy some space.
I look at it it this way: How can you ever miss each other’s company if you are never apart?
4) Do Learn How To Listen And Validate
We all know men and women are different. Women need to talk out their problems (without someone trying to fix it) and men mainly want a recap of the issue so they can fix the problem.
To better explain this point, watch this video:
However, both men and women need to practice listening and validation.
- Listening = being attentive, eye contact, but most importantly your mouth is shut and you are letting the other person speak.
- Validating = acknowledging that persons feelings, or what they are telling you: “I’m sorry, that must be really hard.” “Wow that is really cool that you did that”.
4) Do Go To Bed Angry
“Don’t go to bed angry”, a common phrase many people give as advice to newly weds. I disagree. Sometimes you need to wait to use your words, give it a night, and talk about it the next day. This doesn’t mean you give each other the silent treatment, you can still be friends even if you are in the middle of a disagreement. It is just that, sometimes, we say things out of anger or frustration that we don’t really mean. We say things in the moment, that we probably wouldn’t say if we weren’t as heated.
5) Don’t Let Yourself Go
Maybe this is a shallow or vain tip, but I think its important. Me and Perry talk about this with each other often. We want to look our best for each other. We want to look cute and stay attracted to each other. Attraction is not solely physical. There is emotional, mental and spiritual attraction as well. Don’t let yourself go, don’t let your spouse let themselves go. Encourage healthy habits and behaviors in each other.
After showing Perry this blog he asked me where the real number one was:
1A) Love Each Other No Matter What
I thought this was an ‘of course’, but for some people maybe it isn’t. And we could always use the reminder. And Perry is the best example of this, because man have I put him through the ringer on occasion.
Marriage isn’t always easy. But it is so worth it.
Until Next time