Last night I had the privilege to attend a "Bride and Old Gals [or Broads!]" outing. In honor of my friend's daughter who is getting married this weekend, the bride, her mother and six of her mother's friends went out for appetizers and to chat, laugh and to give advice to the bride.
After ordering and catching up on news, we added up the years of marriage we had between us. I lost count, but I know it was over 165 years! Then, the bride asked us for marriage advice. I wish I had taken notes because the amount of wisdom among the 7 Old Gals was amazing. I am going to try to summarize, but I am sure I missed some gems.
- Don't ever nag.
- Don't act like your husband's mother
- If you have a tendency to relate to your spouse in a way that you don't like [such as acting like his mother] ask him to give you a little signal when you are doing it, so you can can break the habit.
- See your husband as the person he can be [not necessarily what he is now]. Share your dream, instill confidence in him and he will want to aspire to the person you know he can be.
- Support your husband as much as possible, but also give advice and talk through situations. Many times you can see pitfalls in a plan before he can.
- Overlook a lot and pray that he overlooks a lot in you.
- People come first--not the house, or food or whatever. Make every guest feel welcome.
- Be yourself and don't be afraid of his mother or father or feel unsure about yourself. You are the woman your fiance chose--you will be joined and be one. If his parents and friends love him, they will have to love you because you are part of him now. Be yourself and be confident.
- Don't talk bad about your spouse to others. You and he will make up, but they might hold it against him for a long time. [We did put disclaimers here, if you just need a bit of advice about a situation or are in counseling, then use your good judgement, but we mean that you shouldn't criticize your spouse to others on a regular basis.]
- Make time for each other.
- You two are a unit now, don't let either family [or friends] drive a wedge.
- Accept advice willingly from others, but only use what makes sense to the two of you.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate.
- Really listen.
- If he can't pay attention when he is hungry, always keep a sandwich in the fridge and a granola bar in your purse. :)
- If a situation bugs you--for instance if you would like your spouse to help in some way--bring it up to him when you aren't mad about it [and maybe chat over a snack, see above!]
- Don't go to bed mad.
- Don't assume your spouse is a mind reader.
Here's to Laura and John--may your marriage be the start of a life of happiness, friendship and love.