By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.
Ah, wedding season. That time of year when brides and grooms say, “I do” and live happily ever after. Unfortunately, dreaming of “happily ever after” can create unrealistic expectations and lots of problems down the road.
Over the past three decades we have researched marriage around the world and have discovered seven rules that newly married couples should never break! They are not complicated. They are not preachy. And frankly, they appeal to those who want common sense approaches to a successful marriage.
So much of marriage advice today is too complicated, too pie-in-the-sky, and too out of touch with contemporary marriage.
In the end, the best advice we have learned over the years for newlyweds is like our recurring message – simple things matter in love and marriage!
Here are the 7 things newly married couples should never do:
1. Never go to bed mad at each other. Going to bed angry is toxic! This is the number one piece of advice from successfully married couples around the world. Don't listen to the “so called experts” who say you can sleep on it and talk about it in the morning when you are calmer. This is just NOT true!
2. Don't mount up a “butt load” of debt when you first get married. Wracking up too much debt is pure poison when it comes to your marriage. Keep the use of credit cards under control. The single greatest cause of divorce and marital discourse is debt and other financial-related issues.
3. Never make assumptions about what your new spouse likes, dislikes, enjoys, or thinks. Assumptions lead to trouble – and men who order for their wives could end up eating alone. Ask them! The old adage is certainly true that to assume is to make an “ass out of you and me!” And the corollary is, never ignore behaviors in your spouse that bother you. Talk about them. It will strengthen your relationship if you talk out issues calmly and respectfully.
4. Don't get into role stereotypes early in your marriage. Phrases such as “that’s a man’s job” or “that’s woman’s work” have no place in modern romances. Early role assignments based on stereotypical roles will only create imbalance and potential frustration later. Take the time to talk about each of your strengths, what responsibilities best fits each person, and how the two of you can share the burdens of life together in your marriage. Think in terms of “us” and “we” instead of “you” and “me.”
5. Don’t tally or keep score of wins and losses. Couples should never ignore bothersome behaviors, but “keeping score” or holding grudges is NOT OK. There are no winners and losers in a great marriage. You can’t hold grudges and you shouldn’t cast blame when things go wrong. Don’t be afraid to argue and debate an issue. Just remember to fight fair and learn to argue effectively. It will serve your marriage well down the road.
6. Don’t assume that marriage is fair, just, and beautiful all the time. Just like life, marriage comes with its ups and downs. If you go into marriage believing it will be like a Hollywood movie with roses, sunshine, no responsibilities, and no setbacks, you are in for a big disappointment. Every successful marriage has to deal with setbacks.
7. Never lie to your spouse or make promises you cannot keep. Little white lies and broken promises erode the glue that holds marriages together. Even small lies can form a habit of dishonesty in your relationship. Trust is the foundation of any lasting relationship. Dishonesty erodes the very essence of the bond between the two of you.
You see, successful marriage is not all that complicated. In fact, if married couples would simply do the simple things that matter day in and day out in their marriage, they would be successful. The problem is, they don’t!
In the end, the best marriages are an accumulation of having done the simple things. Start today, you will not regret it. If you follow the simple advice we have outlined in this article, you will discover what we and thousands of other happily married couples have discovered over the decades – a successful marriage is an accumulation of having done the simple things. A great marriage is no more complicated than that!
In love and marriage the simple things matter. Love well!
By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz
For hundreds of tips to enhance your relationship get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts: The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley 2010) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book
Nautilus Book Awards Winner for Relationships
As America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts and award-winning authors, Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz help international audiences answer questions about love, marriage and relationships. With 28 years of research on love and successful marriage across six continents of the world and their own 44-year marriage, the Doctors know what makes relationships work.
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