- When your partner screws up, you separate the intentions from the behavior. You recognize the things you love and admire in your partner and understand that he/she was simply doing the best that they could yet messed up out of ignorance. This happened not because they’re a bad person; not because they secretly hate you and want to divorce you; not because there’s somebody else in the background pulling them away from you. They are a good person-that’s why you are with them. If you ever lose your faith in their goodness, then you will begin to erode your faith in yourself.
And finally, pick your battles wisely. You and your partner only have so many fucks to give, make sure you both are saving them for the real things that matter.
Been happily married 40+ years. One piece of advice that comes to mind: choose your battles. Some things matter, [and are] worth getting upset about. Most do not. Argue over the little things and you’ll find yourself arguing endlessly; little things pop up all day long, it takes a toll over time. Like Chinese water torture: minor in the short term, corrosive over time. Consider: is this a little thing or a big thing? Is it worth the cost of arguing?
If you don’t take the time to meet for lunch, go for a walk, or go out to dinner and a movie with some regularity, then you basically end up with a roommate. Staying connected through life’s ups and downs is critical. Eventually, your kids grow up, your obnoxious brother-in-law will join a monastery, and your parents will die. When that happens, guess who’s left? You got it . . . Mr./Mrs. Right! You don’t want to wake up 20 years later and be staring at a stranger because life broke the bonds you formed before the shitstorm started.
Of the many responses I got, I’d say about half of them mentioned one simple but effective piece of advice: Don’t ever stop doing the little things. They add up.
Things as simple as saying “I love you” before going to bed; holding hands during a movie; doing small favors here and there; helping with some household chores
Even cleaning up when you accidentally pee on the toilet seat (seriously, someone said that)-these things all matter and add up over the long run.
The same way Fred, married for 40+ years, says that arguing over small things consistently wears you both down (“like Chinese water torture)”, so do the little favors and displays of affection add up. Don’t forget them.
This becomes particularly important once kids enter the picture. The big message I heard hundreds of times about kids was, put the marriage first.
Children are worshipped in our culture. Parents are expected to sacrifice everything for them. But the best way to raise healthy and happy kids is to maintain a healthy and happy marriage. Good kids don’t make a good marriage. A good marriage makes good kids. So, keep your marriage the top priority.
Readers were insistent about maintaining regular “date nights,” planning weekend getaways, and to making time for sex, even when you’re tired, even when you’re stressed and exhausted and the baby is crying, even when the next day. Make time for it. It’s worth it.
Be Practical, and Create Relationship Rules
There is no in housecleaning, child rearing, vacation planning, dishwasher emptying, gift buying, dinner making, money making, etc. The sooner everyone accepts that, the happier everyone is. We all have things we like to do and hate to do; we all have things we are good at and not so good at. TALK to your partner about those things when it comes to dividing and conquering all the crap that has to get done in life.