Hindsight is 20/20. We’re all here because a marriage ended and there are many reasons that may have been the case. Whether you tried to make your marriage last or knew it was never going to make it, you probably heard about a lot of different marriage advice. Looking back on all the advice I read about and was given to help my first marriage survive, these are the top five pieces of marriage advice to avoid.
These are the pieces of advice that I didn’t take into my second marriage:
1. Don’t go to bed angry. This is a piece of advice that is heard quite a bit. You’re supposed to work out all your problems before you get to bed so that no one goes to bed with their feelings hurt. What ends up happening when you follow this advice, though, is that the couple gets tired, they get cranky, things are said that can’t be taken back and the argument gets worse.
Sometimes it’s best to just let things settle before finishing an argument. That settling can come in the form of a good night’s sleep. To be honest, I’ll never be the type of person that sleeps well while an argument is going on, but I am much less emotional after several hours away from the argument. This leads to quicker resolution to it.
2. Agree to disagree. There are some things to let go, like whether the toilet paper roll goes over or under (it’s over), but consider the source of the argument rather than the argument itself. Are you really arguing about the toilet paper roll or are you arguing because it’s another example of your husband not listening to you?
If you agree to disagree on the great toilet paper roll debate, this can turn into resentment because you still feel like you’re not heard. Be aware of where the argument is coming from on your end. At the same time, be aware of your husband’s motives for his arguments. Men are much more transparent than women. In his case, he may actually be upset about the toilet paper roll, but just as we want to be heard, our husband’s do, too.
3. Problems need to be solved. This is going to sound contradictory to the previous statement, but stick with me here. I disagree with the word ‘solved’. Replace that with managed. Marriage is a lot of work! There are going to be problems and rather than working to solve every problem there is, maybe the effort should be placed on managing the problems instead.
If you two are able to manage problems without them being solved immediately, how much better off is the marriage? Stopping to solve every problem immediately isn’t realistic, but managing the problems as they arise is. Life happens and we can’t always make it stop to take the time to argue.
4. Pick your battles. Just like in the second point, consider the reason for the battle, not the battle itself. If you’re deciding on whether or not dishes become a battle tonight, consider where this is coming from. Are you feeling taken for granted? Do you feel like more household work falls to you than your husband?
Those are the things to discuss, not the actual dishes themselves. The same goes for your husband. If he’s upset because he wants to watch the game and you’ve chosen this time to talk about your week, he may be upset about missing the game, but he may also feel disrespected. The last thing you want to do is discuss your husband’s week while your favorite show is playing, perhaps he feels the same.
5. Follow these rules for a healthy marriage. No one has a cookie cutter marriage. Marriage advice is not universal. What works for me may not work for you because we are very different people. Find what works for you and your husband, not what works for every husband and wife.
Overall, these are the pieces of marriage advice my husband and I avoid in our marriage and, knock on wood, it seems to be working. Comment and tell us about advice that just doesn’t work for you!