I included this blog in the personal insights category because it is not directly tied to parenting. In fact, I intentionally sought to separate marriage advice from parenting insights in my book. In my book I state that “as a parenting story, it is not my intent to write about being a good husband; however, you cannot neatly separate when writing about being head of household.” Although that “however” is significant, I hold to the beginning of that phrase in this blog as well. To be clear, I do not claim to be a marriage expert in any fashion. As such, I am merely passing along my thoughts and views gained from nearly 25 years of what I would consider a “good marriage.”
Like any marriage that spans over two decades, the road was not always smooth, and if a husband with similar longevity says it was then I would stop listening, give him “side eye” and walk away. The dynamic between a maturing man, a maturing woman, and the interplay between the two is not an equation for perpetual agreement and consensus. And when you add in children – I won’t even get into those variables and what impact they have on the husband-wife dynamic. But I will say, the introduction of the “little ones” amplifies things – so if things ain’t that good before you have kids, I pray resolution of those issues get addressed sooner than later.
I lead in with that because despite me not claiming expertise, I absolutely have views. And I would measure my marriage, the entire 24+ years, against any other couple (with kids) and feel confident I could hold my own (in a good way). And as those who have been reading my blogs understand, I reflect on a lot of things and capture many of them to share. Primarily for my children, but also for others who have interest.
The “advice” I offer is packaged fairly simply, but I am not doing justice if I don’t “unpack it”. However, since I try to keep these posts relatively short, I will unpack my below advice in a subsequent post as I may get long when I breakdown each of my “dos”, “don’ts” and “truths.”
So, accept this as the introduction, and below are the core principles I give whenever I am talking to a newly married couple who asks for my advice (or I simply decide to give unsolicited advice because they may not feel comfortable asking, but need to know 😊).
2 x Don'ts
- Don't cheat (physically or emotionally)
- Don't mask your reality from your spouse
2 x Dos
- Have an attitude of commitment (and the actions should follow)
- Invest in communication (talking and listening)
2 x Truths
- Only the two in the marriage know the truth of the relationship
- Marriages evolve, individually and collectively, live in that truth
That is my scene setter. For those who have at least a decade of marriage under their belts, these are probably already understood. For those who, unfortunately, divorced, these revelations may have come too late. And for those who are thinking of getting married or not quite at double digits, one or two may raise an eyebrow. Regardless, I will go into further detail on my next post.