My husband and I just celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary this month. Many of my friends seem to have August anniversaries too which made me remember a dinner I had with some of them two years ago. One of my friend's daughters was getting married and she wanted a bunch of us to take her daughter out for dinner and to give her some marriage advice.
It was called "The Bride and Old Gal's Dinner." I took some notes which I thought might be helpful to some of you. If you are a man, it pertains to you too, just change the pronouns a bit.
After ordering and catching up on news, we added up the years of marriage we had between us. I lost count, but I know it was over 165 years! Then, we seven Old Gals gave her our best advice. I may have missed some gems, but here is the gist of our collective wisdom:
- Don't ever nag.
- Don't act like your husband's mother.
- If you have a tendency to relate to your spouse in a way that you don't like [such as acting like his mother] ask him to give you a little signal when you are doing it, so you can can break the habit.
- See your husband as the person he can be [not necessarily what he is now]. Share your dream, instill confidence in him and he will want to aspire to the person you know he can be.
- Support your husband as much as possible, but also give advice and talk through situations. Many times you can see pitfalls in a plan before he can.
- Overlook a lot and pray that he overlooks a lot in you.
- People come first--not the house, or food or whatever. Make every guest feel welcome.
- Be yourself and don't be afraid of his mother or father or feel unsure about yourself. You are the woman he chose--you will be joined and be one. If his parents and friends love him, they will have to love you because you are part of him now. Be yourself and be confident.
- Don't talk bad about your spouse to others. You and he will make up, but they might hold it against him for a long time. [We did put disclaimers here, if you just need a bit of advice about a situation or are in counseling, then use your good judgement, but we mean that you shouldn't criticize your spouse to others on a regular basis.]
- Make time for each other.
- You two are a unit now, don't let either family [or friends] drive a wedge between you.
- Accept advice willingly from others, but only use what makes sense to the two of you.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate.
- Really listen.
- If he can't pay attention when he is hungry, always keep a sandwich in the fridge and a granola bar in your purse. :)
- If a situation bugs you--for instance if you would like your spouse to help in some way--bring it up to him when you aren't mad about it [and maybe chat over a snack, see above!]
- Don't go to bed mad.
- Don't assume your spouse is a mind reader.
I am sure there was a lot more and I wish I had taken a digital recorder with me. A good time was had by all as we laughed, shared food, stories and fellowship. At the end of the evening I came home to my husband who was watching an old British comedy in my absence. Funny how after an evening with the gals and talking about marriage I realized how very blessed I am.
Take care and if you have some ideas to add to my list, please feel free to let me know.