“Don’t Go To Bed Angry” And Other Marriage Advice I Don’t Take
My husband and I are coming up on our 5-year wedding anniversary. In that time we have had 3 children, four job changes, two hospitalizations, and one death in the family. We’ve also had incredible getaways, countless memories made with our kids, a lot of self discovery, and a lot of growth as a couple.
One of the biggest lessons we have learned is that not all marriage advice is created equal. What may work for some couples might not always work for others. There are some marriage advice cliches that I agree with, but there are some that in my own experience have not proven to be true.
Don’t go to bed angry.
If there is anything that I have learned in having 3 kids in 4 years it’s that sleep is a very, very important part of our health. Have you seen the Snickers commercial that says “You’re not you when you’re hungry”? Well for my husband and me, we’re not ourselves when we are sleep deprived. We’re more sensitive, can’t communicate as well, and desperately need to turn our brains off. After a few years, we lean more into “sleep on it” than trying to solve problems when our brains are at capacity.
You don’t just marry your spouse, you marry their family.
Well, no. I think being in the South this can ring true for some, but for my husband and me, we made a commitment that the two of us and our children are OUR family. We love and respect our siblings, parents, in-laws, etc., but our own family unit will always come first. It’s true that when you get married the in-laws will be in your life, but you and your spouse are in control of the capacity and boundaries.
Forgive and forget.
I think this should be revised to “forgive, remember how it made you feel, and try your best to not do it again.” I do agree with the “forget” part somewhat in that you should not bring up your spouse’s shortcomings once you have resolved the issue. Using their own faults as a tool to hurt or manipulate is not forgiveness.
Marry your best friend.
I believe that good relationships are built on good friendships. You need to be able to have fun together, but you also need to be able to work together, too. Some of my best friends in the world I could never have as a spouse. The way we resolve conflict, the way we parent, the way we view education is vastly different. Marry someone who aligns with you on the big things and has the same vision for your life and family. The little things and interests will fall into place.
Relationships are 50/50
If you expect all things to be equal all the time, don’t get married. I have found that in our time of marriage there have been seasons. Each season has been challenging for different reasons, but they often require a little more effort (and grace) from one another. Even each day can be its own little season. When my husband has a really hard day at work, he may only have 20% left to give, so I take up the 80%. When I was pregnant running at a solid 10% day to day, my spouse jumped in carrying the 90%. Communicate with your partner, and don’t keep score.
Don’t let the kids see you fight.
Our kids see us fight, or squabble, because we watch a lot of “Bluey.” There are day-to-day disagreements we have where our 4-year old will say “Stop squabbling!” It actually gives us an opportunity to show her how we resolve conflict. She sees us able to have a disagreement and still love one another afterward. It also keeps us fighting fair. For discussions that are not kid-appropriate or require some one-on-one focusing, we simply table the discussion for a later time. But our kids seeing healthy arguments and conflict resolution we believe (hope) will help them in their future.