Hank @Hankdawg: What is one piece of advice you would give to a soon to be newlywed couple (ages 30 and 25)
I’m going to be brutally honest. Marriage, as we know, is difficult for a number of reasons:
a) people change
b) people are tempted
c) you might have gotten married for the wrong reasons
d) you might eventually get bored of each other
e) children change a marriage in ways that cannot be predicted (even step-children)
f) financial burdens can change a marriage once everything is mixed.
g) you might eventually fall in love with someone else.
OUCH! Marriage is really hard. And painful. Why would people do it?
Also, we know people are on best behavior for the first date. Maybe the second. Maybe even until the altar! And then truth might come out: That anger is mixed with fists. That stress is mixed with depression. That sex begins to wear off after marriage. And on and on. With all that, why do people even get married?
I will tell you why I got married. I wanted Claudia to know I was committed to her and that I wasn’t going anywhere. Not that she suspected I was but I wanted her to know that. And I guess I wanted to know the same thing. Not that getting married guarantees any of that. I can leave today. So could she. I think slavery was banned in the 1860s. But, culturally, marriage means we’re going to try and stay committed to each other, we’re going to help each other achieve our goals, and we’re going to always try to have a lot of fun together.
Some times people say the best advice for newlyweds is to “never go to sleep angry”. I first heard this on the 1970s TV show “Eight is Enough”. Guess what: the couple that advice was given to got divorced within a year (on the show). And sometimes people are just too tired to say, “I’m sorry” before they fall off to sleep. I don’t think that advice is realistic.
Also, sometimes there are issues you simply don’t know how to solve. When I have a chess opening, for instance, where I don’t know what the best move is, I go to a grandmaster-level player and say, “what is the best move here?” because he’s seen this 1000 times before. Sometimes you need to go to someone who has seen this a thousand times before. Claudia inherited step-children when she married me. She had never seen that before. Sometimes you need to speak to someone who has seen 1000 couples go through that and can say what the best course is.
But I have two pieces of advice for newlyweds. Close your ears if you don’t want to be shocked.
1) Have sex every day. Doesn’t mean you have to go all out, smash the bed, break the walls, everyone screaming so that the people walking around outside decide to walk slower or peek in. Just do it. Every day. Can’t hurt, right? And there’s various studies that show it’s healthy. Also, important note: doesn’t have to go to full culmination for either side. Just get it done with every day. Feels good.
There’s that saying, “put a dime in a jar everytime you have sex before you get married. Take a dime out everytime you have sex after you get married. You will never empty that jar.” With my first piece of advice you will eventually empty that jar. And, by the way, sex is very healthy. Studies show!
2) Find something new to love about the person each day. Today, for instance, Claudia didn’t like a blog post she wrote. I looked at it and we worked together on it to make it a little better. I felt good about it. I felt I learned a bit more about her and she about me. It was fun.
Do I have the perfect marriage? Of course not! I don’t like the idea of going to India EVERY SINGLE YEAR. India is DISGUSTING. I don’t think anyone would disagree with me when compared with the street I live on. Claudia does like to make that trip every year and so far I’ve done it. Maybe this will be a source of tension at some point. But if we stick to #1 and #2 above then how bad can it be?