Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Help This Woman - Relationship Advice Please!

Valentine's Day is right around the corner. And that holiday, like Mother's Day, has a tendency to disappoint. So I want to try something. In the past, we’ve run a bunch of advice columns called Help This Woman.

It’s not ever me giving the advice, because I am a moron. Moms write to MommyLand with a problem, and I have no idea what to say so I ask you. And you respond with your advice by leaving comments. And then the mom in question can read through the hundreds comments and decide what she wants to do about her problem.

I recently started thinking about my job before I had kids. My boss would give me lots and lots of information that was either too much to read through, or it didn’t make sense, or no one else knew what to do with it. And I would play with all that information and look at it for a long time. And I would analyze it until it made sense to me. Then I would write a report. Sometimes I would use graphs and charts and stuff, because I dearly love them.

WHY HAVEN’T I BEEN DOING THAT IN MOMMYLAND?!?

I mean, you guys are ten times smarter and funnier than I am. The answers and advice you give are based on experience and practical wisdom. Almost all your responses are kind and thoughtful and reasonable. I ask your advice all the time and I almost always follow it - because it’s awesome. So why haven’t I been taking all of your invaluable advice, analyzing it and then writing a memo? I mean, just based on what you hookers told my Aunt Mary – we could create the definitive guide to being a good mother in law. Do you even know how many lives we could save?!

So here’s my proposed experiment:

I want to know what you do when your relationship is starting to feel schmidty. What is the best advice you could give someone about how to have a happy, healthy marriage (or long term relationship)? And let’s be extremely honest here. I asked my very dear friend this same question a long time ago and his answer was: “The key to a healthy marriage? Don’t be stingy with the BJ’s.
That’s actually pretty useful information. So what has worked for you? Leave a sentence or a paragraph. Leave a story or an anecdote or what your grandma told you the day you got married.

If you leave your advice, I promise to put together a kick-ass report for Valentine’s Day:
The MommyLand Guide to Having Your Relationship Not Suck Balls
(Unless That’s What You’re Into)*

*Just kidding about that last part. You know we're too squeamish to actually talk about sexytime in a serious way. Unless it's so we can make a "That's What She Said" joke about it.

Thank you hookers!
xo, Lydia

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

377 comments:

  1. Best advice, ever, from my kick-ass Mama: "When things go to hell -- and they will go to hell -- turn TO each other, not ON each other."

    Of course, she also told me the secret to their happy marriage was cooking with ... "Garlic. Lots of garlic. Your father swears it's an aphrodisiac."

    Which explains all those times my dad came home from work with flowers and a loaf of that grocery store garlic bread. "But we're not having Italian tonight?" said teenage me.
    "I was just in the mood for garlic," said he.
    And I'm Scarred. For. Life.

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  2. He's my husband, not my everything. I love him. I'm glad he's my life partner and kids' dad. I like waking up to him and going to bed with him, but for the love of all things holy, I NEED A LOT OF VARIETY in the times in between. If I count on him to be my bestie, my parent, my gossiper, my housekeeper (ha!), coworker and my drinking bud, I'll have to supress the need to throw things. Girlfriends save my life. (and my marriage). One night out with the women, and I know it's not just me: we're all stark raving mad and doing. it. all.

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    1. Best answer EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    2. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! So true. I can't imagine if I had to be "everything" for one person.

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    3. Even yesser !!!

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    4. Is there a "like" button for this comment?

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  3. It's ok to take time to calm down and gather your thoughts, but don't go to bed angry. Don't give the silent treatment. Talk, and talk, and talk some more until it gets worked out. In my experience (with my own 14 year relationship and watching those around me) most relationship misery comes from un-communicated assumptions and expectations.*

    *This only works if both of you do it. If your partner is not so into talking about things, you may need to START by talking about why you need to talk about things. AND you have to actually listen to each other, rather than just waiting til that annoying sound stops to say the next thing in your brain (this can be REALLY hard as you can lose track of what you wanted to say and end up on a tangent. For big discussions a list of points you want to bring up is helpful. Totally not kidding).

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  4. My husband is not considerate by nature. As in, at all. Respectful is hard enough for him to manage. So he has programmed into his iPhone at key times certain reminders. Examples: "Ask how her day was" "Ask if there's anything around the house that needs doing after kids go to bed" (before he hunkers down with his computer for the evening). Not everyone is thoughtful by nature, but everyone can find away around it. As for my end: I used to feel that I needed to feel intimate with my husband in order to want to have sex, whereas he used to feel intimate because we had sex. Classic difference of the sexes. So I make a point to put out sometimes even when I'm not really in the mood, and it goes a long way.

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    1. i love everything you said. every. single. word.

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    2. Well said on the last bit.

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  5. There's two things that I think keep the fires burning (or whatever stupid saying you want to insert here):
    1. Have sex. Even if you don't think you're in the mood, just do it. The majority of the time it turns out to be worth the effort. When my husband and I go for awhile without sex, we start picking at each other and bickering over the stupidest of stupid things.

    2. Take care of yourself. "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Keep yourself happy and it'll rub off on everyone else in your house.

    Wish I had some more wisdom, can't wait to see what everyone else says!

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  6. My parents both told me that a marriage is 100/100. Anything less means there's trouble. And my Mom also told me Dad is her best friend and when someone else takes that place there's trouble.
    I make him number 1 with me and he makes me number 1 with him. Of course there are the 3 girls and they are also number 1 but in a different way. I have many many good girlfriends but when I put a friend in front of him it isn't good for us, a friend's needs are ultra-important but not the friend herself if that makes sense??

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  7. The night before our wedding my husband's grandmother handed us a card and all it said was, "Pick your battles. IT WORKS."

    At the time it bummed me out that she was implying the night before our marriage that we were going to have a bunch of fights in our future. I wanted to believe that we'd be happy 4-evah! But of course, she was right--about all of it. We have plenty of battles...but overlooking the small stuff and standing your ground on the *really* important stuff makes our relationship a lot happier!

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  8. Sometimes relationships feel schmidty. Mine did. I stayed and tried to fix it, tried to fix him, his drinking and his crazy behavior. Then I found the condoms. Only later did I learn he had a history of sex with men that he didn't tell me about.

    If something feels schmidty, it may be because it really is schmidty.

    Oh and I left him and I am so much happier.

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    1. Feel ya on that one. I'm pretty sure we dated the same guy. Sometimes leaving is the best thing you ever did.

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    2. As a kid who grew up with parents in a relationship like yours, let me tell you, you did the RIGHT THING. I know you know that, but sometimes it's nice to hear it from someone else. (hugs)

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    3. i just wanted to say thankyou. that exact same thing happened to me and as much as i figured i probably wasn't the only person on earth that has happened to, some days it sure has felt like it!! at 2am unable to shut my brain up once again, you have helped bring me some peace. xo

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    4. I've been there too. Hate to say it, but after all the 'just have sex sometimes when you're not really in the mood.' comments, but if you aren't in the mood ALL THE TIME examine what the source of that feeling is. It could be a medical problem, or it could be your intuition telling you that there is something seriously wrong.
      Don't give your all to a terrible relationship. Your kids need you more than any man ever will, and if you are throwing that relationship under the bus for a jerk then you will not be happy.

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  9. Everyone says "Communication" Which is interpreted as "Tell each other everything all the time". BS. It usually means "Know when to shut your freaking mouth".

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    1. Totally true! Sometimes I just have to bite my tongue. Sometimes it's just not worth the fight. Occasionally I will just call a girlfriend to vent.

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    2. I agree, it took a long time for me to realize that it is OK to let other people be wrong. I know I'm right, and I don't need to let him know what a moron I think he is *right now* later I'm sure that I'll be wrong too....well, no, I'm NEVER wrong lol

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    3. So true! If you're being honest, but being a jerk it doesn't work. The saying in our house is "just because you CAN be an ass/bitch/poopoo head doesn't mean you SHOULD BE one.". Then we wait until rationality has returned, then make sure we want. To say whatever it was.

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    4. When you're really in it for the long term, YES. Petty arguments are great for dating couples who like to create drama at parties.

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  10. Unless your partner is excellent at reading minds or picking out gifts, tell them EXACTLY what you want for a gift giving occasion and when you say "oh, I only want a card." make sure that you mean it. They can't read our minds that we are wishing and hoping they will do something for us or get something for us. If you say, you only want that card, then don't be disappointed with it.
    For example, I told my husband exactly what I wanted for Valentine's Day, and I even gave him links to where he can get it. That's all he has to do to make me happy. I couldn't have made it any easier and I won't be let down. (btw, I asked for chocolate covered strawberries, yum!)

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    1. So true! It's like that even with other things. He might not know the baby needs changing or the dishwasher needs to be emptied. Just ask in a "teammate" kind of way and he should help! That way you avoid the wondering why he isn't helping. He doesn't know that he can be helping!

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    2. THIS! And flip side: If your partner does you the awesome favor of telling you precisely what they want, BELIEVE THEM. It took my husband forever to figure out that I'm absolutely serious when I ask for a new piece of exercise equipment for my birthday, and he won't get in trouble for buying something that implies I'm too fat!

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    3. Oh, Amen to this one... this is how I got a wifi enabled rabbit for my 40th birthday (http://www.karotz.com/home) (rolls eyes) Now I am far more specific on what I want.

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  11. Have each.others backs....always!!

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  12. Don't.stop.laughing.

    If you do, fix it fast. It's as important as sex and BJs.

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    1. Absolutely, Emily! I always feel that my husband and I are on the same page when we're laughing. Sure we have our serious discussions and fights when we yell, but being able to come back together and laugh about it makes a difference. And laughing during sex is the greatest, too!

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    2. I totally agree! I was annoyed at my husband the other night for something totally petty and all of the sudden our 4 mo. old dog started running laps around the house and throwing his bone at himself for a solid 10 minutes. We were laughing so hard and now I couldn't even tell you what I was annoyed about, I can just tell you that we laughed and still bring up how funny it was.

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  13. Today is my nine year anniversary with my husband. We were not sure if we would see this day together after the past few months we have had together it was that serious.

    Communicate, even if you absolutely dread the subject. Sometimes, we would even text each other so we didn't have to be in front of one another and stupid as that sounds, *we were still communicating*. We went to bed angry some nights, but we agreed to continue the conversation the next day, spent days wanting to just run away, but we kept talking and working through it. There will still be rough patches, but coming on the other side, the future is very bright. I love that man more than anything and we fought for one another. Communication, open minds and hearts, along with trying to understand the other person's viewpoint, with a counselor or without, fight for your love to win.

    Of course, knowing how to get down and dirty doesn't hurt the process sometimes ;)

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  14. Work opposite shifts...haha. When we first got married he worked 3-11 and I taught so we only saw each other on weekends and on his one day off during the week. I would tell people that was the secret to our long marriage.

    Now that we are both day shifters with kids I think talking is key. And I mean talk and LISTEN. My husband is a bit obsessive about his hobbies. Our marriage works better when I take the time to learn the basics and actively listen to him talk. Since he also rapidly runs through hobbies I know a lot about everything from mountain biking to beer brewing to poker and friday night magic. It is a huge pain sometimes when the hobby is way whackadoodle (FNM....anyone?) but it has been worth it to connect and make him feel valued.

    He is making an effort to return the favor and listen when I drone on about life in my classroom and that has made a difference to me as well.

    We're going on 15 years married and 18 together....

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  15. I've been married for 14 years & I can honestly say I am happy. But it takes work & above all a determination to have a good attitude... Everyday. I am a huge believer that the mom/wife sets the mood for the whole house. 'If mama ain't happy' so to speak.
    Best advice I ever got? When your husband says I love you, respond with 'I love everything about you'. It's awkward at first but if you keep doing it, you start to believe it. And so does he.
    Also? Have sex.

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  16. If you need something, speak up!!! Don't assume that when you plop down of the sofa with a huge sigh at the end of the day he will know that sigh means "Oy, the boys were driving me nuts, there's laundry to be folded and I really need to be making a grocery list." If you need help with the laundry, ask! If you need a night out with the girls, make it happen. And let him have his time to unwind, or his activities that he likes to do. He plays hockey, I play majh jongg, we both get time with our friends. Plus, it gives you something to talk about other than the kids. Never stop talking about non-kid stuff, because the kids will (g-d willing) move out and you need to have something still in common.

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    1. This is exactly my life down to the hockey!! It's so important to let them go play and have their guy time! And if I ask him for help, he'll help. If I need a night out, he'll make sure he's home to watch the babe! I just need to ask him!

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  17. Pray for your husband. If you feel your relationship is lacking or your husband is not what you hoped, pray about it. Not only are you inviting God to work in your life, but it also changes your attitude toward your man. Instead of piling grievance on top of grievance, you start noticing even the small things that improve. You appreciate what he does do and love him more for the effort he makes.

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  18. Stop complaining. He knows you do the laundry, the dishes, the carpool, the cooking, the housecleaning, the shopping, etc. etc. etc. Instead of just complaining, be specific about how you want him to fix just one thing. "You knw what hon, I am really overwhelmed today. It would be a HUGE help if you could do this one chore for me." (Then don't complain about the way he does it, 'cause it's not gonna be the way you do it. Guaranteed.) Men like to fix things. Women sometimes just like to vent. Save your randome venting for Mommyland, give your man something concrete he can fix.

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    1. Very well put! I have learned to bite my tongue and not re-do the chore he has helped with because it wasn't done 'my way'. As long as the dishwasher is loaded, who cares if its not in the order as you load it?? It's one less thing you have to do & be sure to TELL him you noticed what he did and how much you appreciate it.

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    2. Very well put! I have learned to bite my tongue and not re-do the chore he has helped with because it wasn't done 'my way'. As long as the dishwasher is loaded, who cares if its not in the order as you load it?? It's one less thing you have to do & be sure to TELL him you noticed what he did and how much you appreciate it.

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  19. Work on falling in love over and over again. And divide the dishes and laundry. Both are never ending chores. Both are undone as soon as they are done. You pick one, he picks the other. Change if needed. But make it so neither one has to do both of those particular thankless jobs.

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    1. We share the responsibility of both! I would also add cooking to that list...

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  20. Find a good therapist.

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  21. In-laws that live in the land of far, far away!

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    1. You made me laugh because in my case it is so true. They live in NW Canada, and we are in the SE United States.

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    2. One can only wish!

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    3. SO true. We lived a state away from my in-laws for the first 5 years and I LOVED them. Then we moved within a 15 minute drive...the first 4 months almost killed our marriage.

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  22. Make sure you're able to have FUN with your spouse/S.O. Laughing & being silly together can be the saving grace to a crappy day or just hard times in general. Whether it's catching a movie or hanging out at home making fart jokes with each other...be goofy. Also when you two start to piss each other off - make up as fast as you can. I've been married for over 8 years & we can honestly say we've never let an argument last longer than an half an hour or so. I think I've only gone to bed upset once or twice. Apologize first. Having the last word doesn't matter. Being happy together is much better than being "right".

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    1. Thank you for the "apologize first" comment. The hubs and I communicate pretty well, but the joke I always like to make is "He is always right and I am never wrong." And it's so true. I have SUCH a hard time admitting when I'm wrong. I'll kind of apologize, but there's ALWAYS a "But..." attached to it. Gotta work on that last word thing...

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    2. OH, apologies! So important. You can't just sneak them in as part of another sentence, they have to stand out so you can be heard. Sigh... Even if it's just "I'm sorry we haven't been getting along lately." This helps with the whole right/wrong thing, so long as you can shut up and leave it at that. But for the love of all that is holy, avoid anything that could be translated as "I'm sorry you're an ass."

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  23. 15 years, 2 kids - feeling qualified on this one.
    1. It's okay to go to bed angry, especially if you know from experience that you will wake up thinking it wasn't such a big deal. Sometimes small problems are best put to bed as small problems, rather than unpacking 6 months' worth of dirty laundry and throwing it at each other til 3 am.
    2. It's okay to have things about the other that really piss you off. Learning to ignore these things is what defines a long marriage. Trying to change these things is what defines a fight.
    3. Don't talk down on your spouse to your friends and family. Funny stories, "he's crazy but I love him" stories, eye-rollers, all well and good, but when you start actually saying things about your spouse that would wound him/her if they were overheard, that's the beginning of the end. You will internalize those words, learn to believe them, and soon you have disgust or contempt for your and that's The End.

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    1. I really agree with all of your suggestions. Wish someone had told me earlier. We're learning now with the help of a good therapist how to do all that you said.

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    2. I agree about this going to bed mildly angry idea, in particular. We fight more when we're tired and stressed at the end of the day, and it only gets worse from there. I find that my ability to have rational, sane, helpful conversation diminishes as the wee hours approach. And then I wake up extra bitchy in the morning because I'm sleep deprived. Some things are just not that big of a problem after you've had some rest.

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  24. Trust me, as someone who had the schmidt hit the fan in a big, big way, here's my advice...are you ready? It's you and him. You are a team. If you aren't prepared to talk to him when the schmidt is bad, you can't expect him to stick around even when times are good. Don't tell your mother/sister/cousin/friend something you wouldn't tell him - men don't appreciate that. Being honest sometimes means keeping your mouth shut. Therapy can be very necessary.

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  25. Learn how to fight constructively. If y'all have to disagree, make sure that at the end of the argument, something is resolved.

    Try to let both of y'all have some decompression time after the working spouse gets home from work. This depends on the spouse, whether they need quiet, alone time for 15-20 minutes or whether they want to go over their day with you listening. But each of you gets a chance to chill. I am a SAHM but I love it when my husband gets home because after he decompresses, the kids mob him and I get to go potty all by myself with no little ones banging on the door.

    A hot meal and willingness to have sex or at least give a BJ/rubbie go a LONG way. Men are basic creatures. My husband wants food, his family to love on, and for me to touch his peepee.

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    Replies
    1. oh my LOL. maybe we are married to same guy!??? LOL

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    2. OMG OMG we are married to the same guy!!! holy crap. I read it outloud to my man....and laughed the whole time because it's SO SO SO true!!!

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  26. Don't make assumptions. Express exactly what you want him to know - don't expect him to read your mind. He won't be able to and it will lead to frustration on both parts.

    And have sex. Even when you don't want to. They start to get really pissy when they're not having sex and then you do it and they're all happy again. Amazing.

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  27. Talk, talk, talk, BREATHE, talk. Oh, did I mention talk?

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  28. Never stop taking care of each other. The little things matter. We care for our children with the fierceness and devotion of a mother bear, so why would we stop taking care of our spouse the same way? Also, sex. It is crucially important in a healthy marriage, I don't care what anyone says. If you are not maintaining that level of intimacy with your spouse, you are putting your marriage at risk. I know I sound all Judgey McJudgerson, but you just have to trust me.

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  29. 1. advise is to always run to each other. Not your "BFF" (unless its your spouse), not your mom/dad. Why? because these people are on YOUR team and will be supportive if you chose to run away to Mexico if they got angry enough about what you said your spouse did! Not only that, these people remember the bad far longer than the good. By constantly going to this other person, you just built a case against staying with your spouse and if things work out? These people will still hold what you said over you and especially your spouse. Can we say bad vibes?? If you REALLY need to vent, do it anonymously in "help" forums. The best ones give you advise on how to FIX the situation and even point out (via what you say on your rant) what YOU are doing wrong. The worst ones just pat your back and say "aww poor baby, I hate my spouse too lets cry about it" Because they just add more logs to the fire.

    2. Read books together (make them audiobooks if necessary) and make some of them relationship building books. It will put you BOTH on the same page when/if one of you decides to try out some of the lessons in the marriage.

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    1. Wow, I think we might share a brain! I NEVER share arguments with friends/family because I know we will resolve the argument and forget it, but whoever else you've shared that with won't. You said it much better, but I completely agree! Also I love the reading together suggestion as well. My husband and I do this all the time. I love to read the books, but my husband prefers the audiobooks so he can listen to them at work (instead of a radio all day long). We've done entire series this way before. It is wonderful for giving you something to talk about instead of the kids all the time too!

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  30. Never go to bed without saying I love you.
    Relax, it's just a dirty floor.
    Boys aren't mind readers.
    My time, his time, and our time. A balance of all 3 is key.
    COMMUNICATE.
    Sex. As much as you can handle.

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  31. I try to keep in mind the sociology of marriage--that most of the difficulties are structural. That it is the stresses with work, parenting, schooling, extended family that can really put pressure on a marriage. I also remember that marital satisfaction is U-shaped (starts to decline the night of your honeymoon and hits the bottom of the U when you have little kiddos and then goes up as you age).

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  32. Every relationship hits a rough patch. But in my experience, it's best to lay all your cards out on the table with the hubs. Say what you're feeling, make him listen and ask him what's going on with him. You can work through it, you just have to want to.

    And the single best relationship advice came from the priest who married us... Make sure that every night before you go to bed you turn to your spouse, look them in the eyes and tell them you love them. Give them a kiss and go to bed.

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  33. Be nice.
    Remember, you are each other's spouses, treat each other at least as nice as you would a stranger.
    In my 16 years of marriage, the best lesson I've learned is to treat my hubby the way he'd like to be treated (not always as I'd like to be treated, we value things slightly different...its good to know that too!)

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  34. Remember you can not read each others minds. Don't expect the other person to know why you are upset, or what you want them to do. TELL THEM! Communicating your wants and needs is the key.

    Jrseygirl in VA

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  35. Set boundaries and respect each other enough to abide by them. I guess it all boils down to communication, Anonymous hit the nail on the head with most problems stemming from un-communicated expectations and assumptions. If you don't verbalize your boundaries, it's unfair to to your partner to be angry because they cross them. They aren't any more telepathic than you are. Set parenting boundaries, financial boundaries, emotional boundaries, understand what is expected of you and make sure your family (kids included) know what's expected of them! And yeah with the bjs. It's not fun, I don't like it, but hey, it ain't all about me ;-)

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  36. Communication. After 7 years of marriage, we had a huge opening up and what a difference it made. We're in this together. And whenever we start to notice a downward shift in our relationship, we both realize it's because we stopped communicating. Learn what each of you needs and feed it. It changes everything.

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  37. We've only been married 1.5 years, but I notice that one of the things that makes life easier is that we're both fast to praise the other person. It's nice to hear a "Thank you for emptying the dishwasher" and know that the other person means it.

    Also, sometimes it's good to go to bed when you're upset . . . exhaustion makes many mountains out of molehills . . . just make sure to pick up the conversation again the next day.

    And remember, you're on the same team. Good teammates don't hurt one another.

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    1. Respect and praise go a LONG WAY. How do they know you noticed and appreciate what they did to help?

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  38. Maybe also include number of years married or together? Because, no offense, but I don't want a doe-eyed newbie given me advice. Would love advice from veterans who have truly made it work :)

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    1. How about starting with yourself? Because, no offense, but its sounds to me like Mrs. Turkey Bird is starting her marriage off on a pretty good foundation... :) Her comments have all been echoed or previously stated by "veterans."

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    2. I've been married for 5 months so my doe-eyed opinion may not be good advice to veterans but going into a marriage where my husband had previously been married and she had cheated on him, there are a lot of actions that I take to avoid resembling that woman in any way possible.

      Even though this is my only marriage, it's not my first relationship. So my husband and I both have experienced enough and seen our siblings/parents marriages and analyzed those to death to know what we do and do not want ours to be like.

      We already have it arranged that he loads the dishes and I unload them. He knows he takes the dog out when he gets up in the morning and right before we go to bed. Because I take care of the dog the rest of the time. Those are small tasks that make a big difference.

      We talk to each other. My husband would rather have me bitch to him about something he did/n't do rather than me keep quiet and act mad without expressing what's up. We also both go to the gym and eat healthy, our healthy lifestyle keeps us both feeling great about ourselves and each other.

      We praise, we thank, we compliment, we communicate. So I'm on team doe-eyed turkey bird.

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  39. I waited 6 years as a single mom for my husband. I knew there was someone out there who would fit into our lives perfectly and he was worth waiting on.

    1. Make sure your pecker picker isn’t broken while your dating (for all you single moms out there)
    2. If you already picked your pecker, then respect him. Don’t hide things from him. I try to remember that if I have to hide it, should I really be buying it?
    3. My hubs and I have a deal with our money, Any single purchase over $100 needs to be told to the other before you swipe the card. He’s never told me I couldn’t buy something but it’s a matter of respecting each other and when he asks if I mind if he buys a $100 meat thermometer, I say "fine with me" because I have a great new pair of $110 shoes that he says I look super sexy in!
    4. United we stand! I never, ever, ever, ever, ever disagree with him about the kids, in front of the kids, or veto a rule he has put in place with our kids. Our kids know that if dad said it, mom backs it and vice versa.
    5. I H.A.T.E. dishes with an absolute passion but my hubs likes the sink to be clean when we go to bed at night. On a good day, he only works 10 hours and a bad day could be 12 so I do the dishes, because it’s important to him and that makes it important to me, even though I couldn’t care less. On the other hand, I hate toothpaste in the sink so he is very careful to clean up after himself because it matters to me and that makes it important to him.

    Our marriage works because we mutually desire to make life easier for the other. That’s what it’s about. This guy was worth waiting on.

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    1. "Our marriage works because we mutually desire to make life easier for the other. That’s what it’s about. "

      YES - THIS!!! I love this!

      Delete
  40. The world nowadays thinks everything has to be instant. We no longer have to wait to watch the news to see what the weather is...there is an app for that. We no longer have to 'go to town' for a shopping trip, there is a store on every corner. We have NO patience anymore! Here is a reality in marriage (one that me an the hubs had a 'converstaion' about just 3 days ago)...sometimes things suck! And sometimes you can't fix what sucks with an app. We all vowed 'better or worse' so guess what, there are going to be some times for the worse, deal with it. Work on it or wait it out but deal with it. Don't expect a better relationship on a 'drive-thru' time schedule. I am not saying wait out through everything...there are different level of 'suck', if your relationship is crapy because he is say a drug abusing, alocohlic womanizer (my EX-husband) than don't live with that. But chances are things just suck currently because he is a man and you are a woman and there is an ebb and flow to everything that is constant in life...think the ocean.

    That being said...that BJ advice is most likely spot on! There are 2 things that will make your husband more plesant to be with, if you aren't in the mood for sex, make him a sandwich!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. My husband and I went to a talk at a local church titled "Happily Married for a Lifetime" and they spoke to what you said. In the same way that supposedly we physically generate new blood and new skin every 7 years, we become a new person about every seven years - biologically and emotionally. They said that statistically rates of divorce are highest in couples who have been married 7, 14, 21, etc. years. Now, coincidentally, this coincides sometimes with (7) young children added to relationship, (14) teenagers..., (21) empty nesting, etc. We all have to adapt to these life changes (and biological/emotional ones too) and sometime just acknowledging that this is a rough spot and if we stick it out we will be okay. People do like quick fixes and it is easier to run for the hills than deal with difficulties, but it will pay off and even make a relationship stronger to endure them together!
      I also like the earlier post "turn to each other and not on each other"!

      Delete
  41. Have an attitude of forgiveness. At some point (probably at many points) somebody's gonna do something stupid. Maybe big, maybe small, so don't fall to pieces when there are mistakes--even huge ones. Approach your marriage with the belief that there are no easy outs and that you'll stick it out and fix the problems. Be more concerned with your spouse than yourself--not in a doormat, obsessive, never have an opinion way, but in the same way you would gladly make sacrifices for your children and do what's best for them. Love is a choice and your actions should reflect that choice.

    Have fun with each other. Have lots of inside jokes. Send each other suggestive texts and make lots of your mom jokes. Flirt a lot (but don't be one of those couples that's always making out in front of everybody, b/c that's just weird). Watch How I Met Your Mother on Netflix late at night after the kids go to bed.

    These are just a few of the things that have worked for us. :)

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    1. Couldn't have said it better!!!

      Delete
  42. In the days leading up to my marriage (mind you at the time I was 18)...my grandmother who had been married for 54 years at the time....told me this. He is a man. Men are not romance novels, or the whole ride in on a white horse disney princes. If you go into your marriage with unrealistic expectations of what your husband will be...you will be dissapointed and after a while resent him for something that is totally not his fault. I'm not saying that men are incapable of suprising you...but don't expect these huge candle light and roses moments all the time. It gets hard...especially after you have kids. She then thought a moment and continued with...oh yeah...and sex...lots of sex...if you don't use it you lose it. ( I repeat married for 54 years and into their 70's still going strong in that department) BEST ADVICE EVER!!! lol

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  43. When my husband and I got engaged 28 years and 2 kids ago, the first people we told were an older couple who had been married for about 50 years. They gave us one piece of advice: Tell each other "I love you" every day. And almost without exception (except for extreme tiredness, for instance), we have done that. We try not to go to bed angry with each other, but even when we are mad, we still say "Thanks for the day, best friend. I love you." We've had rough patches, and times when we have not been in a good place, but we have always acknowledged that there is something deeper than whatever we're going through that will pull us through. Also, we needed to learn how to deal with each other's personalities. My DH is pretty even-tempered, but when he gets angry, he gets really angry -- for about 2 minutes -- and then it's over and forgotten. I am a brooder. I let things build up for days, then get mad, and stay mad for days. Because my DH forgets his anger as soon as it's over, he rarely apologizes for anything. I spent the first few years of my marriage getting more angry because I wasn't getting apologies. Once we realized this key difference, we were able to acknowledge it and deal with it. Well-timed hugs can really make a difference too...

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  44. After 25 years of knowing/dating my husband and 15 years of that being married, the one thing I have learned is key: communication. Expression of feelings is extremely important, one may not "see" what the other one is trying to tell them. Speaking out your needs, concerns, emotions, fears, and love for the person is key. With the day to day grind we get caught up in (sport practices, games, music lessons, horseback riding lessons etc).. our day to day life becomes chaotic and we forget about the time we need to spend with each other. A family is about everyone as a unit.. but a marriage is about the husband and wife. They need time together too. Date nights .. I can NOT express that enough!

    ALso, I tell my DH almost everyday how much I appreciate him, he works hard for me to stay home, have a beautiful new house, new car, food on our table and extras for the kids and in turn.. he tells me he appreciates me which makes me feel like my hard work is noticed and not for naught. It makes me feel good about me!

    OH.. and as many have suggested.. keeping the spark alive... SEX and PASSION .. .. dress a little sexy for him, pinch his butt or touch his shoulders when you walk by him.. .. buy a pair of sexy panties or bra... you may not have the body you want.. but guaranteed he still desires you. Don't forget that men only need 2 things: sex and food.

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  45. Fight fair...always. Name calling, derogatory comments, etc are never ok, and if you think of those things in the same way as you think of hitting your spouse (as in never ok) you will never do them.

    Always be willing to compromise, even if you don't want to.

    Remember to tell them how smokin hot you think they are, guys especially need to hear this :)

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  46. Keep dating! We have two small boys, just moved to Northern Virginia, and know no one! We don't get to go out without the kids so we private dates at night after the boys are asleep. It means rather than blogging (for me) or working (for him) that we turn things off and focus on each other. Sometimes we rent a movie, sometimes watch the DVR, and sometimes just talk. It gives us time together as adults, and more than just parents!.

    And, it's been said before, but sex. Sometimes giving in even when I don't want to does help. Plus, it usually means he tries a little harder to focus on me, and will get up with the kids the next day! :-)

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  47. As a recently divorced mommy, I'm not sure if my advice is useful here, but seeing as how the relationship with Self is just as important, if not more so than any other, I figured I'd give it a go. We have to be able to look in the mirror and love and respect the person looking back at us before we can love and respect anyone else. I hear, "Make your husband number 1" and that's all well and good, but what happens to you when you put yourself and your needs on the back burner? (And I'm strictly talking about relationships. When it comes to the kids, my needs have taken out a homeowners' insurance policy on the back burner.) You wind up bitter and resentful, and what if your husband isn't reciprocating the gesture? You wind up putting someone first who's putting you second.

    Make "Me Time" a priority. Make time to call up your old college roommate to see how her life is, even if you have to lock yourself in the laundry room to do it. Randy doesn't mind. Go to the bookstore and browse the racks as if you actually have time to read a good book...and then make the time to read it.

    "Hubby Time" and "Family Time" are much more enjoyable when "Me Time" is allowed, too. "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" is probably one of the truest sentiments I've ever heard. If I had spent more time with myself, and less time worrying about making everyone else happy, I maybe would have realized sooner that I *wasn't* happy, and been able to do something about it before the S.S. Wedded Bliss hit an iceberg twice the size of the one that sunk Titanic.

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  48. The woman in the first pic is obviously smarter than you hookers....she can work a corkscrew while you have to get your vino from a box!

    I have banned all gift-giving holidays. I'm tired of people treating others badly or ignoring them altogether and then get together like one big Norman Rockwell painting and make like one big hypocritical family on certain dates. I'd rather we appreciate each other throughout the year and have it come from the heart.

    SCREW CHRISTMAS!!! And Scrooge was a wimp.

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  49. Take care of yourself. Work out, eat well, get alone time. Have your own hobbies. Have friends. Fact is once you're together for a long time there's not much left to talk about so you need to keep branching out. Take separate vacations. Take vacations together WITHOUT KIDS, especially if you have little kids. Talk openly about everything and always be honest. Every marriage is different, but communication is always key.

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  50. The best advice I ever got (and now give to all couples) is "Know your role." Most arguments stem from a lack of communication in one form or another. Set clear expectations for what your role in the relationship is. Couples generally have strengths in different areas... use them. When you get a job, your job description is laid out in black and white... why should your role in the most important relationship of your life be so vague? My husband is very task oriented and "realistic" (which is just a fancy way of saying pessimistic, in my opinion) and I am very people oriented and somewhat of a dreamer (I prefer the term "optimistic")... I am in charge with brainstorming, planning, and dealing with people and he's in charge of execution... he will make it happen. Without each other, I would just be a dreamer and he would just be a jerk... er... "task oriented."

    And second, a marriage IS NOT 50/50. It's 60/60. Always do more than your share.

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  51. I agree with a lot of what was already said. I would add that marriage is all about being on the same team. Fighting isn't about winning, because you are on the same team. Hashing out an argument is all about finding some common ground and seeing where the other person is coming from and making them feel that their side is valid. (We have a lot of arguments, but we never stay angry longer than half an hour.)

    Pursue your own interests outside of home/family. They give you a break from the tediousness of laundry and cooking and housework and help you remember the person you were before you became a wife and mom. Also, they give you something more interesting to talk about with your husband.

    Go out without the kids. It doesn't have to be a big elaborate date or something that costs a lot of money. Just get away and have an uninterrupted conversation. We try to do this at least once a month. I swear, it makes a BIG difference.

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  52. Pay attention to him when he walks in the door, even if it means muting the TV or closing the computer. Always give each other a welcome home kiss and a goodbye hug/kiss. Learn to care about his crazy hobbies, or to fake it really well. Laugh at his insane jokes and act silly sometimes, even if you know your doing it -- he still laughs and that is all that matters.

    Apologize, sometimes even if your not the one who is wrong. Have an endpoint with the fighting, it stops being constructive after awhile. Take a break and come back to it, and that break is allowed to include both space and sleep. Remember that he is THE most important person in your life and no one else can ever take that spot, not even your children. His needs, feelings, wants, dreams, and goals are #1 for you.... and he better feel the same way about YOU. :)

    Appreciate the small things, think about his love language and how he communicates that he loves you and make sure to appreciate those gestures even if they aren't what you value. He takes out the trash and does the laundry -- maybe that is how he says I love you instead of a hug or the words. Oh yeah, and prioritize sex, don't let time fly by without doing it or problems start that were never meant to be problems.

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  53. Keep the excitement alive! You know your spouse better than anyone else...you know his love and passion, you know his dorky obsessions, what he likes and what he doesn't and what makes him laugh. My hubs LOVES to scare me...I hate it and love it! He put one of the kids' rubber snakes on my side of the bed and I screamed like a boy. It was funny after the fact and it forces us to connect. We have A LOT of pillow talk when we go to bed. We talk about everything from the kids' day at school to why I am beng all pissy and why he is being such a DB (douche bag). And if you are still struggling to connect, have a Pure Romance party with a dozen of your closest girlfriends...or come on over to my PR party next week...that'll liven things up a bit!

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  54. I've been with my husband for 22 years, and my best advice is this:

    1. Like so many have already said, HAVE SEX. As much as possible. Men place an enormous value on sex. To them, it is how they express their love for you, and also how they FEEL loved in return. So if you don't really feel like it, remind yourself that, to him, it is like saying you don't feel like loving him. You don't need to have a 3 hour lovemaking marathon every night, just a quickie to connect with each other whenever you can does wonders.

    2. Don't play games. EVER. Men are simple creatures, with neither the mental capacity nor desire to figure out what is going on in our heads. If you want or need something, tell him. If you are angry about something, tell him. Don't make him guess. He will either be completely bewildered (and likely get angry with you), or he will ignore you, figuring if it had something to do with him you would say so. Be straight with each other, and you will probably solve most of your problems together quickly and easily.

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    Replies
    1. Kim, I kind of wish someone had said this to me a few years ago: Men place an enormous value on sex. To them, it is how they express their love for you, and also how they FEEL loved in return. So if you don't really feel like it, remind yourself that, to him, it is like saying you don't feel like loving him.

      Thank you.

      Delete
  55. Don't judge your relationship or marriage on another couple. Each couple in unique and you are with your partner for a reason. Just because so and so's hubby did such and such doesn't mean your hubby will do the same thing the same way.

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  56. Sex. Regularly. Not the swinging-from-the-chandeliers passionate all-night movie-style sex. with foreplay. I'm talking about the quickie in the morning that lasts 3-5 minutes (if that). It's better than hugs, doesn't take much out of the schedule, gets all those important Oxycontin-type hormones going and really strengthens the marriage bond before the craziness of the day hits. I'm pregnant at the moment, and still use my period tracker to mark intimate days. I try to aim for at at LEAST 3 days a week. That's only 15 minutes of my time to a much more calm, patient and understanding marriage. And who cares if you are in the mood? I'm a big believer in the 'fake it till you make it' philosophy. Just relax and do it. It doesn't make all the problems of marriage go away, but it sure takes the edge off.

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  57. The best advice I got and still follow is "don't keep score" If you took out the trash 5 times to his 2...let it go. Like taking turns buying a round in a bar, it all works out (unless you are with my super cheap friend)

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  58. My hubby just went on a two week business trip. We have two boys 4 and 6 and I was flying solo for those two weeks. I got a chance to miss him and now that he's back I am focusing on the things he does instead of the things he doesn't. A little break was good for me to get some perspective.

    Also, don't get into the habit of bitching about your hubby to others, it's like having a fight with him only he has no idea. Talk about him like you want him to talk about you. (this is a lesson I had to learn)

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  59. My advice and what worked for me...
    Have a very open relationship. One you can talk about everything, laugh about everything and also cry. Have some alone time for BOTH and some alone time together. Ask for help when you need it and help when you are asked. Have fun with your kids as a family and fun with friends.

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  60. Do you remember when each of your kids was a baby/toddler, and when they woke up in the morning, you'd go in the room. When they saw your face, they just LIGHT UP. The biggest smile you've ever seen, every single morning, just because you exist and they are so happy to see you. And every single time they do that, it is absolutely the best part of the day.

    I think we forget to give that to our spouses. We're tired, we're drowning in chores, we're worried about something....

    You know what? I'm really happy to see my husband in the evening. So I started being sure to let it show and OH MY GOD what a difference in our relationship.

    I just make sure I effing LOOK AT HIM, think about how happy I am that he is there, and let it show. Then he lights up at me, right back, every time.

    It's a simple, tiny thing, with the power of a million suns. Takes two seconds and can change the entire tone of your relationship. Give it a try.

    Oh, and if one more person says "communication," I'm going to vomit on my keyboard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love this comment. Love it. Yeah, that's all I got.

      Delete
    2. Awesome analogy! Thank you!

      Delete
  61. When you're angry, think before you speak. Don't just let whatever you feel come flying out of your mouth, because it will likely be mean and you can't take it back.

    Get an overnight babysitter once in a while - and make them take the kids AWAY from your house! That way when you're actually able to have your grown-up time, you won't be worrying about getting it done quick before little people can wander in the room and investigate strange noises.

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  62. Know when to talk about problems. Then know when the two of you have hit your limit for conversation and brainstorming and shut it because you'll only frustrate each other. At this point I suggest tea or coffee and menial conversation.

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  63. Dating! Seriously getting out of the house without the kids! Even if it is a trip to the grocery store, or other mundane place. Or if the kids are small home dates -order in, watch a movie, play a game, but don't just "be in the same room" talk, laugh, share ideas. and touch, even if it is just holding hands while munchkins crawl around you.
    And remember that "perfect marriage" you are trying to make takes a lot of work and it's only "perfect" a few minutes of every week, but have fun being imperfect together. I LOVE the "turn TO each other, not ON each other" comment above!!!

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  64. A few thoughts.
    1.You simply HAVE to have sex. It's not just for him, it brings you closer together and cements your union. You just have to. Remember if he's not getting it from you, he will find it elsewhere.
    2. DO NOT NAG HIM. 'Nuff said.
    3. If you want/need something from him, TELL HIM. Men are not women. They do not get subtle hints and he's not going to notice that you said 12 times "oh wow that ring sure is pretty". He's going to remember that every time you try to run the vacuum he has to unclog it. Bam, you're getting a vacuum for V-day unless you say something like "Honey, I don't want a new vacuum, I want that gorgeous ring, that one right there". You may never be surprised, but you're not going to be disappointed either.

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  65. Know your spouse's love language and your own!!! Read the Five languages of love. That book saved my marriage- I read it in the first year of marriage- I was a little disillusioned by what I thought marriage was suppose to be. At 24, I thought I knew it all. Twelve years later, I am extremely happy in my marriage and I refer to that book often when I am struggling with something. And lots of good sex. That works too.

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  66. The importance of love languages can't be expressed enough. If you haven't already, figure out how your spouse shows love, and how they need love shown to them. Express verbally how it is normal for you to show love, and how you prefer love to be shown to you. This took FOREVER for my hubby and I to figure out - because we never actually sat down and talked about it. I like to be noticed, I like my actions to be confirmed and know that I'm doing a great job.... he thought just because he wasn't complaining, that was enough. It led to some serious problems for a bit. But then, a friend sat us down and translated for us, and things made SO much more sense!!!

    Other than that, give each other space, take time to listen and play, and laugh a lot. Try to get away for a weekend once or twice a year. Our finances aren't always the best (four kids will do that to you), so sometimes it could be Vegas, or sometimes it could be the HoJo in the next town. Whichever it might be, take time to just BE together.

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  67. Embrace the surprises. Just because you have been married for umpteen years, and he reacted in a certain way in a similar situation, you can't predict future behavior based on your past experience.

    Have a SAFE venting companion. One person that you are very close to who will keep your confidence. (This is not everyone you know--you do not need to share your private business with that nice lady at church.) Sometimes, what you're irritated about doesn't need to be said, it just needs to be gotten off your chest.

    BE NICE. It worked in kindergarten, it works in marriage. Every couple argues, or has discussions, or whatever you call them. But you don't have to be mean. Try to remember that it's not about winning, it is about doing what is best for your family. Don't go for his Achilles heel.

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  68. Remember that you're on the same team, and when it starts to feel like you're not- REMIND EACH OTHER OUT LOUD.
    Remember who you you said "I do" to. If he's never hung up a wet towel in his life, it's probably not going to help to go raging B on him 5 years into your marriage over it.
    In all seriousness, if you are not meeting his needs in the bedroom, he will find someone else to do that eventually. So take one for the team if you're not in the mood. You'll find that the more sex you have, the closer you grow together. My hubs likes to say (in jest) "A BJ a day keeps the divorce lawyer away." it's funny, but there's some truth to it.

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  69. Do not expect anything to get better if no one works at making it better.
    Face it, we're all going to get *shiver* OLDER and no one really gets better in any way (physically, emotionally, mentally) with age, unless you have a butt-load of money and people to do EVERYTHING for you. You either get better at hiding your flaws or they become more obvious if you don't. Same for others flaws, you either get better at ignoring them, or more prone to point them out.

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  70. 1. If you are talking business (money, trip, plans for the day) make it a business meeting and pretend you are at work. Leave the emotion out of it, because you wouldn't cry to the accountant at work about your expense account no longer including Starbucks.
    2. There is no disagreement that cannot be resolved by 15 min of communicating... in bed... without no talking. Resolved. Not always your way, but happily resolved.
    3. Sometimes sex is like picking up the playroom. You just have to force the first 10 min, then you are either happy with your progress or happy that it's done. And yes, you have to do it again later.
    4. You are a couple, not an island. Have your own interests. If he goes away for a week, it's ok to miss him. It is NOT ok to not function.

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  71. Women say men are like dogs. Well we are, so you have to pet us once in awhile if you expect us to stay loyal on the porch. If you don't want to look past our mangy faults and do this to keep us happy, I guarantee that there is another owner out there looking for a dog just like us who is.

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  72. Wow, this is all some really good advice. I always have a hard time giving advice on marriage because mine is FAR FROM PERFECT. However, a few things we have tried and worked:

    Smile when you see each other. It's small. And powerful.
    Ask for help when you need it. And thank wholesomely when help is received.

    I really want to have more sex because I know it's important to him. Can we take all of this further? How can I make this happen?

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  73. First, you have to truly love one another and be faithful. These are the ground rules. If you don't meet those two simple criteria, move on.

    Otherwise....

    1. Fight fair
    2. Don't be a nag and, in general, don't effing whine
    3. Have some financial arrangement that avoids problems. For us that means separate accounts and splitting the bills
    4. GOOD sex. That includes not being stingy with BJs, putting out when you don't feel like it, and most importantly, being a little adventurous. Lame-ass sex won't cut it:)
    5. Have fun together

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  74. divorced once before i got remarried. while single, i looked at all the things I did that I could change and make better for the next one. I worked with a lot of guys at the time and asked their opinions too, so that helped weed out any bad ideas I had. 10 years after getting remarried-and 3 children-I'd say it's working.
    1. don't get offended when he wants to masturbate instead of sex with you. let's face it, he's had it WAY longer than he's had you. early on i told him go ahead and use PP's (penis privileges) cuz I'm exhausted. he thought i was ahead of my time but seriously, think about it, i'd rather him play with himself than be out with the guys at the bar sexually frustrated.
    2. don't try to have conversations about finances, religion, politics ANYTHING if either one of you are tired or hungry. 90% of our arguments were from that. instead, i really want to talk about this, and we will. let's get something to eat first though cuz i'm starving or let's talk about this tomorrow when i'm not so fuzzy and i know i can concentrate on what you have to say.
    3. when he comes at you angry over something that has you going 'whuck?' just look at him. and be quiet. no matter how bad you want to verbally pummel him, be quiet. stay quiet. he will apologize every time for being an asshat, guaranteed. and most likely it was cuz he got a little bit irritated but hunger or being tired made it worse.
    4. with kids especially, i think a sense of humor, no matter how morbid, is IMPORTANT.

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  75. 1)Thank him when he does things...don't pull the whole, "well it's his house, kid, dog etc...and he should just do it. Thanking my hubby when he empties the dishwasher, tidies the toys, presets the coffee etc... makes him happy and then he does it again. Without. being. asked!

    2)NEVER EVER EVER SAY, "If you don't know, I'm not going to tell you". EVER!! I don't care how obvious it is that you're upset about something, if he asks, tell him. He's not a mindreader and frankly boys are dense. My evil stepmother has been doing this to my poor dense father for 24 years and the man has a freaking complex!

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  76. Do little things that you don't HAVE to do to make each other happy. Touch often.

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  77. Don't believe the Romantic Comedies! He will not rescue you. He will not have an epiphany that he can't live without you. He will not say he's being a jerk and you were right (even though you were). He will not realize (until maybe later) that you are THE BEST WIFE IN THE WORLD and want to buy you flowers and surprise you all the time. He's human and so are you. Nobody's writing your scripts!

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  78. Before you even have a partner, figure out what kind of relationship you want to be in and then choose a partner that also wants to be in that relationship. Choosing partners that you "want to change" is almost always a recipe for disaster. Most relationship advice doesn't work for everyone because everyone is different and wants different things from a partner/relationship.
    That being said, if you are already in a relationship and want it to last, these are a few things that I have always found useful. Learn about his hobbies and interests and discuss them with him. Laugh together OFTEN! and have inside jokes, never take yourselves too seriously! Don't put too much stock in things, love him for him not what he buys you or how creative he can get for date night or holidays. Some men just aren't creative or don't understand exactly what you want. Don't let the pressure for him to read your mind ruin your "couples time". If you want a specific experience for a date night or holiday just create it yourself and enjoy it with him.

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  79. My husband and I have been married for 5 years and we have 2 kids. The key for us is communication for sure. For us, we are both stubborn so I find we are better able to communication and discuss things if i write him a letter (or book in some cases :) ) spelling everything out. He then has time to read, dijest and think before we sit down and talk about things. It's helped us a ton! Also, as a ton of others said, sex. It's all my hubby things about i swear :)

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  80. After 15 years, 10 of which we've been married, and 2 kids, we fell down this fall. Big time. We're slowly digging our way out of the shit, and learning a ton. Here's two things that I have realized:
    1.) Don't expect less from your marriage. I thought that after being with the same person for so long, it was normal for us to be less romantic, think less about one another, talk and really connect less, have not as good sex or not want sex often, etc. This is SO not true. If you lower your expectations than the quality of your marriage will decline. And that is real bad. I repeat: real bad.
    2.) It's ok to admit that you and your partner don't have the answers. Life moves quickly and changes happen before you are able to sit down and understand why they're happening and what impact they are having on you as individuals and then in turn on your marriage. This can add up to some scary shit that you might not know how to conquer. Seek professional help. Couples therapy is not just for other couples. It's for you too. It's a way to slow things down and keep your marriage a priority. Plus it's a few hours away from the kids a week -- sounds great, right?

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  81. aside from picking the right guy for the right reason in the FIRST place and remembering that you're in it for life, after 22 years, three things stand out--

    ~introduce him to choreplay! nothing makes me hotter than seeing him vacuum or fold laundry, and it drives me absolutely wild when he empties the dishwasher!! and we laugh about it and joke about it and then have really good sex. yay!
    ~you should be friends--but you should have other friends. neither your husband or children should be your sole confidante and best friend. have some mystery! have some independence!
    ~Talk! tell each other things and feelings!! we have sunday night calendar dates--we sit at the table after dinner for 10 minutes and review the week and our plan, so no one (aka me!) ends up feeling like the default parent, and everyone's expectations are out there. it makes the inevitable shit storms that come up easier to deal with. also, you get to use different coloured sharpies!

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    1. Choreplay! Ha! I love it! Great idea for Sunday Night Calendar dates! Smart lady, Kristin :o)

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  82. Well, Last night I threw a very large toddler fit and locked myself in the bedroom for some 'me' time. I came out and he had all the dishes washed, the carpets cleaned, the kid fed, the homework done and made me hot tea and dinner to boot. Even colored! (For those of you that are SITC fans)I don't suggest to use this often but it worked for me last night! On a serious note. My man does not favorite any colors, smells, outfits, toys etc. What he does like is a movie night with just the two of us. Some nice cheese and crackers. No responsibility for one night. It feels so good!

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  83. I'm 27 and have been married for 3 years, but we have been together for nearly 7 years. The other day a friend asked how long we have been married and then how long we have been together. Her next question was "and you still like him?" Me: No, but I love him. Don't get me wrong, I do like my husband most of the time but I think it's ok to simply admit that sometimes, like in the middle of the night when he is kicking me in my sleep, it's ok not to like him.

    My best advice is to admit it when you don't like each other, so you can work out why.

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    1. I said those same things to my husband last night - we had a huge falling out in the fall, bad enough where I almost left him, and have been working on things ever since. He has since developed some habits that are less than exemplary (nearly intolerable) and were talking about them. After we talked, I told him "I love you. I don't like you much right now, and sometimes you really p*ss me off, but I do love you." It's important to know that love and like are different, and you can dislike some of their actions and still like them and love them as a person. We still struggle, and our future is not clear right now, but I have learned a lot and so has he, and every day we are trying to make steps forward WITH each other and back TOWARD each other. BTW, together 10 years, married for 5 next month.

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  84. If you weren't friends before the marriage, the relationship will be in trouble the moment you stop having sex regularly. Was engaged to a guy whom I thought was great, but we weren't friends first and his 'real self' started coming out after the engagement. I left him and though it took a while, I found a guy that was really a great friend. We have now been married for nearly 15 years, and we are STILL friends. Really good married friends who have sex. ;)

    You also have to communicate when things bug you. Don't let them fester and then pummel each other, but have a sit-down talk when things are calm, don't place the blame on each other, and TALK. IT. OUT. Use words like I feel ________ when _______happens, and don't be afraid to look deeper into yourself to see what the root of the problem really is- you might be mad at him for leaving you with a mess to clean up, but deep down inside you might really just miss him being around- even if it's just to help with the dishes!

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  85. It's a complicated dance, this marriage thing. Talk to each other with respect and listen to each other with an open mind. Tell him what is bothering you...tell him WHY it bothers you. he will not read your mind as much as you try to jedi mind fu** him. Hug each other. flirt. text flirt. IT's the little things we do for each other that carry us through the bad and intensify the good. Let him know he is a valued family member and you appreciate ALL he does for the family. even when your are busy with the kids, you have to make a little time for him. have time with yoru girlfriends and let him have time with his guys. oh, and steak and a bj night is always a hit! physical intimacy is a great healer and brings us closer together so we remember WHY we got married and why it's all worth it. Some days suck but you have to keep working on it..forgiving, loving and building a future TOGETHER.

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  86. My husband and I have been married for 11 years this month. We've had our fair share of ups and downs - two military deployments, post partum depression, kids... but ultimately three things stand out that have made our relationship strong and secure through it all.

    1) You CANNOT hold your spouse/partner responsible for things you don't verbally ASK them for. No body language, no "you should have just known" or mind reading... if I don't ask for whatever it is I need/want, and I mean literally like, "Honey, will you mop the floors while I'm gone?" or "Honey, can we have sex tonight?" neither of us can get mad about not getting what we want. Made all the difference in the world in our relationship.

    2) Your timeline is not their timeline. If I say, "Will you load the dishwasher before you go to bed?" He will load the dishwasher before he goes to bed. It won't be in the minute I ask him because he, too has a life and interests and college sports that need to be watched. But you better believe that when I wake up in the morning that dishwasher will be loaded and have gone through the cycle - even if he remembered when he went to work at 5 am.

    3) Say "thank you". I think we spend so much of this life EXPECTING things that we don't express appreciation for what we are given. I try to say "thank you" as often as possible and he does the same. Our boys (7, 5 and 2) have even picked up on it thanking me for things I do every day like making them dinner or putting their laundry away. It's such a simple thing, but it makes a huge difference in what you are willing to do for the other person.

    So there you have it. And if you don't like it, too bad. They work for me.

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  87. Truly let go of needing to be "right". Being kind and cutting him some slack can go a long way to nurturing a close, supportive relationship.

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  88. Have FUN! Hubby comes home from work stressed, a lot. He's 80+ feet in the air at almost all times (iron worker) and worries about the what ifs. When he comes home he showers, relaxes before dinner and then eats. Sometimes he'll help with the dishes and that turns into a water fight or other times if mini is still awake we chase her through the house giggling or growling LOL. The tension is high when daddy gets home from work, it used to be incessant bickering because he didn't know how to let go of the day. Now we don't walk on eggshells hoping he's okay, if it was truly a bad day he speaks up and I listen.

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  89. Some people may think that since I am a woman married to a woman life must be so must different, but really, the issues(with a few exceptions, like the "don't be stingy with the bj's" rule) are very much the same! We have been together for 22 years and have a young child. My secrets are to ask for what you want/need, even if that takes a bit of the surprise away, it is much better than getting something off the mark. Second, when I am irritated about something my partner does and I feel like I am going to explode at her, I ask myself, "Is this a deal-breaker?" If it isn't, I try to let it go with a simple reminder to her to put the cap on the toothpaste, call if she is going to be late, etc... Sex is important too, even if you don't really feel like it. Give it the old college try and you might just enjoy yourself!

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  90. I agree with everyone that has said to communicate, but be mindful of the time you'd like to talk. It won't work if you try to start a conversation in the middle of something that is important to him, i.e. televised sports. If neccessary make a date/time to do this, I love Kristin M's idea of the standing Sunday night sit down to discuss.
    Don't keep score, it will create resentment on everyones part. If he emptied the dishwasher, did laundry etc., it's not neccessarily YOUR turn the next time and vice-versa.
    Laugh as much as possible!

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  91. Been married just shy of 15 years, and the best advice I ever heard was "Never criticize your husband. He is, after all, the one you chose!" I cringe when my female friends say derogatory things about their men. How would they like it if he did that when he was out with his buddies? If you chose him, he obviously has some good qualities - concentrate on those instead.

    I also agree with what Kim said about communicating your thoughts and needs. Do not ever say that he "should" know what you want, what the problem is, etc. Tell him straight out. That is the only way to guarantee that he knows!

    And, again, sex. And again. And again. And again. Following the above tip about communicating, you will enjoy it just as much as he does every time! You're welcome.

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  92. Both pepople have to be willing and actually commit to sticking together to make it work. My advice - perhaps not making it work - is be willing to understand when a relationship is over, it's OK to let it go. The heartache and pain of ending it while neverending at first, is infintely better than a lifetime of building resentment and staying in an unhealthy union.

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  93. My hubby & I have been together for ten years & are still really happy. There are three things my hubby's grandma told me:
    1. Make a promise to each other to never stop TRYING. we have a picture of us on our wedding day with that written around it and it is hanging above the toilet. We see it every time we go in there, and it reminds me of what I promised to him and God on our wedding day. I'm not going to stop trying to make it work, and neither is he, no matter how hard it gets.
    2. Don't hint to a man. Tell him exactly what, when, how, and where you want and need anything. If its hard for you to say it to him, write it down. I seriously think this is the best advise I have gotten on marriage. And never lie to him, you'll just get caught.
    3. The only time you are allowed to not put out is the six weeks after you give birth. So yes, have sex even when you don't want to sometimes.

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  94. basic simple one that I heard early on- don't use sex as a reward for good behavior. I tried doing that, and while it gets the job done, the sex afterwards felt forced and contrived. Never did it again.

    That is not to say that if his not doing anything around the house, but demands sex or the loverly BJ, you MUST participate- but you do have to let him know the WHY of the no nookie ATM reasons- otherwise, there's nothing to be learned.

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  95. Don't keep tabs. Be honest with each other. And when in doubt, have sex.

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  96. There is so much great advice here! My first marriage was terrible. Now in my second marriage and I'm very happy! We both are. We tell each other that often. We do have our arguments, but we talk a lot and tell each other what we need (from chores to sensitive matters). I have to remember that he might not be aware of what I need, or the house needs or what the baby needs. So I tell him and he helps! He's here for us!
    Also, I never deny him time for himself. It might be a 10 min nap or a regular hockey game. He needs his guy time. But in turn, I go get my nails done or have drink with the girls. It's so important to have your own time. The most important is our time together - time out with friends, dinner alone or just chatting about our day in bed before sleep.
    As someone said above, be there for each other, not against each other!

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  97. Great stuff so far ladies! Something I have learned (the hard way) sometimes you just need to sit there listen, keep your mouth shut (VERY hard for me to do, I am OPINIONATED) and let each other vent. On the flip side, know when to stand up to each other (respectfully of course), we all need someone to keep us in check from time to time. Above all, FORGIVE! Resentment can kill the best relationship quick.

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  98. So, among my group of friends DH and I are the "exception"...We are in our early 30's snd many of our friends are just getting married now but we'll be celebrating our 10 year anniversary this summer (and together since we were in high school) 3 kids and all these years later...We are still happy and very much in love.

    My 2 biggest pieces of advice?
    1) PICK YOUR BATTLES, honestly ladies. I hear you all bitchin' about hubbies and some of you are very mean! If I picked a fight over every little thing, we would have divorced 5 years ago. Remember that you probably annoy him too. Save your energy for the crap that matters and you will both be so much better for it.

    2) Know that marriage is work. It TAKES a little effort, but is so worth it. You cannot expect the perfect marriage if you are not willing to work towards it.

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  99. When you are so frustrated you don't even want to look at each other or feeling ignored, get in the car and go on a day trip together ( with the kids too!). This has worked every time for us, and it was actually discovered by accident. It seems like when ever we reached that breaking point, we decided to go for a drive to explore and we always end up working together (to figure out where we are going, what we need to take with us, among all the other stuff), plus we end up talking ( starting out with scenery, directions, and moving on to the nitty gritty things that have been driving us crazy). And it turns out by the time we get home we have completely forgetten about whatever our problem was, and we are in the mood for lovin'!

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  100. My hubby and I both grew up in divorced families, but after nearly 20 years of marriage and 1 munchkin later, I feel confident in saying I think we are getting it right. Along the way, this is what I've figured out:

    --Together you make a team-a partnership-and together your team equals 100%. But it doesn't always work out that each gives 50%. Some days it's 70/30 and some days it's 40/60. If one of you hits a low patch, the other is there to cover.

    --Say what you need/want. Men are not inherently good at picking up cues or hints. They just don't get it. If you want him to wash the dishes, just say "honey could you please wash the dishes". They like being told rather than guessing--why do you think they are so hung up on reading ALL the directions and user manuals.

    --Just go with it...it's the journey, not the destination. As sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, something will not go as you planned. A kid will get a stomach bug and puke on your shoes right before you leave for your 10th wedding anniversary dinner. Those are the stories that are told over and over for years to come, not what you had for dinner.

    --Sometimes the perfect gift IS NOT a sparkly bauble in a pretty blue box. Sometimes the perfect gift really is a new GPS. Your husband NOTICED you struggling without a GPS and wanted you to feel safe and happy. The important thing is that he was OBSERVANT and thought you needed it (although I really wish I was the kind of girl who looked like she NEEDED a new diamond necklace!)

    Lastly, men don't care if we shaved our legs or 'feel fat today'...so even if you aren't really in the mood, SEX can really make you feel better and is a great way to connect. And, at least in my house, after sex, my husband is much more willing to wash the dishes.

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  101. I posted something earlier...it was more along the serious side, but just thought of this because after 10 years of marriage it is an important one.
    Realize when you are being a d-bag - then aplogize for it.
    Every marriage has their fights, they are normal and they are to be expected. But remember if you fly off the handle because you had a bad day, that apologizing (and meaning it) goes a LONG way.

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  102. "Always fix yourself up before he gets home, there is no excuse for looking like trash when he is the one working all day"... that would be great I wasn't the one working all day

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  103. I've been happily married for eight years. We've been dating for twelve. Going out together, just the two of us, and doing the things we enjoyed pre-children has been key to keeping that spark alive. Sex is fun, but it is not a priority for us. Not every man's heart is ruled by food and sex. Remember that EVERYONE is unique and no one happy marriage will be happy for the same reasons. Remember who you married, how you two were before you were married, and remind each other often why you still love each other. Especially the little things. My parents have been married for 37 years and they are so incredibly happy. They have always been able to see the humorous side of everything that has happened, good or bad, in their marriage. Being able to laugh with each other no matter what is #1, in my opinion. My mom never had girlfriends, other than her sister and the women she worked with. She never went to "girl's nights out" or had people over or gossiped on the phone about my dad. She didn't need to. My dad (like my husband for me) is her best friend, the person she respects most, and the person she wants to spend all her time with. And vice versa. The vice versa is important because you both have to be each other's priority. That's the committment you BOTH made when you agreed to get married. If only one person is still committed to that agreement, then it's probably not going to work.

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  104. My husband and I have been together for 7 years (married for 3). We've been down some pretty rough roads already, my eldest daughter died (from a previous relationship), financial issues and problems with his ex, to name a few. I call him my knight in shining armor for a reason, he has been there for me through everything. While we may not agree (we've only had maybe 5 actual fights) we have a mutual respect for each other. While talking about issues is good, it is better to know how to talk about them. No blaming, no scorecard (and that's a really difficult thing for me not to do) and understanding that we are two different people but no matter what we still love each other, will always be there for each other and always have each other's back. Oh and sex, when you are in a healthy relationship, sex does fix ALOT, those endorphins are magical!!! The fact that he didn't do the dishes for you like you asked a million times, yeah it won't matter =)

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  105. I've been married almost 9 years and I'm still so in love with my husband. We've been friends for 15 years, together for 10. You have to have things in common. We have so much in common that we can do things together we enjoy but we also have separate interests as well. Open communication, we never go to bed angry. We rarely ever fight but when we do, we made it a point to hash it out and listen to each side. Never use the words "never" and "always" in a fight. Don't be defensive. Don't hide anything. Trust is huge and once you lose it, it's hard to get back so don't ever do something that would lose each other's trust. We read the book Love and Respect and it was amazing and life changing and kept us from major fights. We're on the same page with money and parenting. We don't undermine each other in front of others. Don't have high expectations, you'll set yourself up for a fall. Physical tough is important, sometimes my husband just wants to know I love him and think he's sexy. Passionate kisses will do that. ;) Our friends think it's strange we're still in a honeymoon phase a decade later, but I actually love him more today than I did when we were married. We've been through a lot but we did it together and with common goals.

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  106. Have a life, have something other than kids or complaints to discuss with your husband.
    Compliment him...even if he's being lazy or an a$$, find something to compliment because they love to hear it and it makes you remember how they are doing something right and usually more than you think.
    sex, as much as you can give/get. Start it as often as you can because who doesn't want to feel wanted.
    If you're like me you need you will fly off the handle if you talk about what's pissing you off right now, take some time cool off, think rationally and decide if its a big deal and maybe see it from their side. If you had someone screaming about how you never (insert chore), why are you so lazy, why do I have to do everything myself, etc, would you be inclined?
    Its the modern age...send an I love you text. Takes 2 seconds but brightens someone's day.
    Hold hands, snuggle on the couch, kiss hello and goodbye every time you leave the house , sadly something could happen and it could be your last.

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  107. Best advice (which sounded awful at the time) came from the pastor who married us. He told us that our marriage is more important than any kids we might have since ultimately they will grow up and leave and we'll be left with each other. This sounded terrible, of course kids come first, they are so vulnerable. But now I know he's right. We've been together for 13 years, married for 8, 2 kids and now we know that the very best gift we can give our kids is to set their needs aside for a while and focus on each other. How will they learn to build healthy strong relationships if we can't model it for them?
    Thanks for compiling this!

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  108. I recently read some great advice that said never talk about him before talking to him and never say something about him that you haven't already said to him.

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  109. Sex. Any problem that we've had can be solved with some good nooky, or at least the problem doesn't look so bad after some good nooky.

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  110. Absolutely NO name-alling.

    And, no sand-bagging. (that's when you bring up every past offense when you argue) If something bothers you enough to upset you, it's YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to bring it up WHEN YOU ARE UPSET (or shortly thereafter).
    You should NOT use HIM getting mad at YOU as an excuse to bring up your grievances.
    This means that you need to BRING UP THE SCHMIDT that bugs you ON YOUR OWN, or you're never gonna get heard.

    And BJ's are a quick, cheap fix too. :-)

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  111. I am happily married to my DH of 7 years. Even before we were married, I knew that the man could not sleep in a bed that had the sheets and everything tucked into the bottom. So my advice is simple. Don't make the bed! Keep your sheet/blanket on your side, and let him keep his own. I'm invited under his comforter with him when we want to be snuggly, but day to day it has saved us a lot of fighting over covers and getting in each others' space while we're sleeping. My bed is a mess and we're happier for it!

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  112. my Mamaw(gran)used to say that hard heads made soft as*es, in translation don't be a stubborn schmidt. Always work through your problems together no matter how big they seem, never walk away angry but if you get to the point your overly angry walk away and calm down then talk about the issue, never forget to show a little affection towards each other even if it's a quick peck, bum pinch or whatever, don't forget that your children watch everything you do, so if you fight and argue in front of them they will imitate you and at the worst possible moment! Basically, love each other, respect each other, give each other space, trust one another, be each others best friend, talk about everything and most of all forgive that neither of you is perfect...H

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  113. Everyone seems to have lots of the same things to say, and that's great. I'm going to be a bit different here.

    1. If your relationship feels schmitty, look inward. Are you unhappy? Why? Is it work/kids/politics/other stuff? Chances are, it is NOT your husband. For the times that it is, see #3.

    2. Nobody is a mind-reader. Say what you want, how you want it, and, in general, when. What you actually want is usually not what he thinks you want, so speak up! If you can't speak your mind to your mate, you have no business being married.

    3. TALK about what is going on. Get out of the sandbox and quit blaming. Focus your statements on how YOU are feeling, not how someone else is falling short of your expectations. Example: 'Hon, sorry dinner was late tonight. I'm upset and need to talk. I cooked a nice dinner last night, and yet when I got home today, I had to clean up before I could cook again. I'd really appreciate it if you could help me load the dishwasher tonight.' Sounds TONS better than 'You lazy jackhole! You NEVER help me around the house!' and the subsequent cooking strike.

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  114. Thank you for these comments, especially those that say "know when it's over." I am struggling with my marriage a lot, and now have some new ammo to try in order to make things better. This is a tough V Day for me, for sure.

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  115. I have been with my husband for twenty years, and the biggest thing that we make sure continues to happen is saying "I love you." It may seem simple, but it's necessary. You may think your loved ones KNOW you love them, but they need to hear it. And touch them. Touch each other. Don't go to bed angry. Don't stop trying to be a good person for your loved one, be a good person for yourself and in turn be a better person for them. Don't expect them to just let you be a douche. You don't get to treat each other like crap just because you love each other. Treat them the way you want to be treated, and expect them to do the same.

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  116. Everything written here is great! Hard pressed to come up with something new; however, I'll give it a whirl. Years ago, my husband and I went through some tough times - take out the C,M and D in Schmidt - and that's what I felt like most of the time. Looking back, it did start with small things, that turned into feelings of resentment, lack of appreciation - you name it. Then, it just snowballed from there. If you can't drum up a conversation just yet - start getting back on track with COMMON COURTESY... the things you teach your children. Say, "Please". Say, "Thank You." Whether he just handed you the pepper you asked for, or picked up the towel off the floor - just say those simple things. We are now at 17 years of marriage in large part because we acknowledge each other through simple respect and common courtesy - even when we don't agree. (Of course, all of the other things written here too). You'll be surprised how far those simple words can go. That's my two cents.

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    1. YES! It bugs me when I see couples not using "please" and "thank you" with each other. Respect in marriage goes a long way!

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  117. Anytime we get into a rut, I do this trick in the bedroom. Sounds lame - but it seriously works and pulls us out of our funks! http://www.mylifeandkids.com/2011/12/my-tip-for-bedroom-bliss.html

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    1. That is awesome! Totally teaching my kids...

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  118. TALK and HAVE SEX and love him so much that it makes your heart ache. I'm serious! It works!

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  119. This one is for the fellas- I don’t know is never ever an acceptable answer to any question asking your opinion.

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  120. I demand at least five minutes of attention a day. That's all. Just five minutes. And it doesn't have to be in a row. It can be a kiss goodbye in the morning, 10 seconds; a small conversation about what we have to do/already did that day, 2 minutes; helping me bring in the groceries, 1 minute; calling to tell me goodnight, 30 seconds; bringing me coffee, 1 minute; text me to see how my day is going, 30 seconds. As long as I get my five minutes, I'm happy. And when I'm happy, he is much happier, because when I am happy, I put out! We've been together almost 20 years, and things are going very smooth, for the most part. Sometimes he lapses in his timing, and I tell him point blank, "I'm not feeling the love!" and he usually straightens up pretty quickly! LOL

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  121. Be polite. I always say thank you when my husband does something that makes my life easier. I think this is the point of marriage- to spend your life with someone who makes living it easier. I try each day to make his day easier and I appreciate the things he does to make mine easier.

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  122. Your friend lied about the BJs... liberal application of BJs did NOT save my marriage. I'm just saying. After 15 years he said "You have been a truly awesome wife, but I just don't like the 'lifestyle' of being a dad any more so I'm going to leave you to live with some girl I met online. Bye!" Can you say "Mid life crisis"? I have seen this happen to MANY of my girlfriends now that I'm in my early forties... and the moral of my story is that sometimes there is nothing you CAN do - BOTH partners have to want it to work and be willing to work for it in order to have a chance. One person can't make it happen by themselves [believe me, I spent 15 years trying.]

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  123. Love the (wo)man (s)he is, not the (wo)man you want him/her to be.
    Never disagree without offering an alternate choice.
    If (s)she offers advice, try it even if you don't think it will work (unless you know 100% it will break something.)
    And while this (probably) won't work for everyone, my husband is a fixer. So every day, I try to find some problem for him to fix. A few times they've been major, but mostly it's along the lines of "can you please get this open for me?"

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  124. Best advice ever, and has served me very well, came from my husband's grandmother..."Hot food, hot sex...oh, and I was willing to do his laundry too!" 13+ years later, it's still working!

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  125. Great advice from my mom...

    Don't tell everything you know.

    You can pick up the towel off the floor in 5 secs or fight over why he didn't for hours.

    Sometimes you just have to give it up.

    My personal adds: he isn't a mind reader, tell him what you want. And take trips alone without the kids, even if just for a night. You both need it.

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  126. I agree with so many of the other mommies' comments. I just have one thing that my mother taught me from an early age - works great for everyone, but especially your spouse...remember, that person who you see every single day, who you promised to love forever?

    *If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all!

    I try to remember that, and it kind of forces me to put a positive perspective on things. Instead of complaining that my husband came home an hour late - "Where have you been? I've been going crazy!!", it's "Hunny, I'm so glad you're finally here. It's good to see you walk through the door."

    Just rephrasing something into nicer words can work miracles. He doesn't get defensive, I don't get angry, there's no fight, and in return I get what I really wanted all along, a kiss, a smile and someone else to put the kids to bed.

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  127. My fave advice for when things get tough or you are arguing - "Do you want to be happy, or do you want to be right?"

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  128. When things get hard remind yourself of why you love that person. Remind him of the good times. Count the reasons you fell in love with that person. Tell him some of those reasons. Sometimes living in the past for a little while can help soothe the temporary pains of the present.

    Also, do not continually vent to family and friends. Go to a professional, keep a diary, but don't air your laundry to the world.

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  129. What my grandfather told my mother and my mother told me:
    In your marriage, don't expect to go halfway and meet in the middle. Only when you both feel like you've gone the whole way will you meet in the middle.

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  130. Think win-win. Not every issue has to be resolved in your first conversation about it, and some don't have to be resolved at all if they're not really bothering anybody. But think in terms of solving a problem together, not proving you're right.
    Charge a toll: no walking by one another without a kiss! Life gets busy--don't let it get too busy for affection.

    We're coming up on our 12th wedding anniversary. :)

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  131. 1) respect each other's boundaries, even if you may not agree with his.

    2) speak up ahead of time about your wants and needs, so that you don't explode when they're not met because someone didn't know.

    3) have sex. Seriously, it's an important component in a relationship.

    4) have your own interest/hobbies. Even the couples who truly are each other's best friends occasionally need to do their own thing.

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  132. I think several of your posters have already said it but here goes
    1) He can't read your mind. If you aren't happy, tell him (respectfully)
    2) Take time for yourself away from husband and kids and quit feeling guilty about it. We all need out time alone or with the girlfriends and it is good for them to know our lives do not entirely revolve around them
    3) A friend of mine said it perfectly "Having sex is like going to the gym. I don't always want to go but I am always so glad that I did afterwards" The best thing I ever did for my marriage was to learn to let it happen even when I didn't want to. Cause it isn't women who confuse sex with love- it's men. It's how they feel loved.

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  133. Advice that was given to me just after my wedding - FIGHT NAKED. How can you stay mad when you're naked and now want to have sex? I've never done it, but it makes me laugh.

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  134. 3. Sometimes sex is like picking up the playroom. You just have to force the first 10 min, then you are either happy with your progress or happy that it's done. And yes, you have to do it again later.


    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Never thought of it that way before, but YOU. ARE. RIGHT!!!!

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  135. When my husband and I were engaged (18 years ago), his grandmother took me aside.

    She said, "Gramps and I have been married for over 50 years. During those 50 years, there were at least 5 years of time in which I hated his guts. I couldn't stand the sight of him. All I could think about was that I would be better off without him, or with someone else. After a few months (or in one time, years), we would talk it out, and things would get better. Now, looking back, we were happy for probably 90% of our marriage. Not bad odds. And those 5 years don’t seem so bad in comparison to our life together. So be prepared. There will be times in which you hate your husband. Just try to hang on until it gets better."

    In my 18 years, I can count about a year and a half that I hated my husband. Not, “You didn’t do the dishes” or “You forgot my birthday, again”, but really, really didn’t want to be married to him anymore. He didn’t do anything specific; I just didn’t like who he was anymore. During those times, Granny’s words stayed with me. Just hang in there until it gets better. It did.

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  136. My husband and I have been together since I was 17 and he was 19, married at 21 and 23, so a total of nearly 16 years with nearly 12 years married. We have a 2-year-old daughter.
    Before my husband and I started dating, it was really important to me that the next guy I was with be into sports... in other words, I was sick of dating guys with whom I had nothing in common. Jason and I have tons in common. Also, we laugh at most of the same things.
    Yet, that being said, it's important to have interests that are your own as individuals. He likes to golf. I don't mind watching it on TV. His guy time is going out to play golf with his dad and brother or his buddy. Guy time, especially when you have kids, is important.
    I like gadgets and technology. I also like chick flicks, pedis and now, more than ever, I need girl time. He is supportive of my desire to go out and have a girls night every couple months. I tell him to get the hell out of the house and go play golf.
    Date days/nights without the kid(s). As Nike says, "Just Do It." Trust me.
    Also, every single day I ask him how his day was at work. And I listen. He doesn't always ask how my day was, but, he usually does.
    Figure out how to fight. Every couple has a different way of working through problems. Figure out how to do it in such a way that you can get through the fight most of the time without feeling like sleeping on the couch. How we fight may not be a way that works for you. Sometimes I go to bed angry. Sometimes I take a couple hours and go for a drive then come back to resolve the issue. Sometimes we yell until we run out of gas, we both realize we made mistakes, and we both apologize then talk about how to handle it better next time. So, figure out what works for you, then apply it. This may take some trial and error. Good luck.
    Finally, sex at least once a week, or else you will have problems. Guys are wired differently. The whole "I have needs" thing is biologically true. Sex is way cheaper than a porn habit, by the way.

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  137. Gosh! All of the comments are great, in fact some are hilariously wonderful. Although I am only 33, we have been married for almost 10 years and have an 8yr daughter and 4yr twin boys.

    I find that when you understand that you are with this person because you WANT to be with them not because you NEED to be with them the pressure lifts.

    And while everyone keeps saying sex (which I am not disagreeing with), you need to be able to tell your husband EXACTLY what you want and how you want it. If you cannot do this, what is the point of having sex? I also agree with putting out even when you do not feel like it; you always end up enjoying it!

    Allow him to see you at your worst, only then do you truly know each other.

    Get over the fact that he doesn't do things the way you do. Refolding laundry is a waste; he will feel inadequate and stop helping.

    Lastly, NEVER turn to character assassination, your relationship will be over before it really starts...

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  138. Lots of good suggestions on here, but I'm just going to echo the "live as far away from your in-laws as you can" sentiment. My husband is in the Navy and we move every two years or so, never living in the same state as our parents and. it's. awesome.

    You and your spouse (and your kids, if you have any) are your own family. Parents, siblings, etc. are now "extended" family.

    It makes visits with them more enjoyable because they have to be planned and anticipated, and they never get sick of your kids (or taking care of them when you want to go on a little retreat!).

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  139. My husband and I have been together for 12 years and married for 9 with 3 kids.
    I've learned a lot in those years.
    1. It's ok to want to go out without your spouse (or just be by yourself)..You were an individual before you got married and just because you carry his name and ring doesn't mean you need to lose yourself in the process. Same goes for him. Go out with your friends, let him go out with his. You will appreciate your time together a lot more.

    2. Don't be afraid to fight...Make up sex is great!

    3. Keep reminding yourself what made you fall in love them when you started dating. Sometimes we forget why we fell in love in the first place with everything we have going on.

    4. Tell them you appreciate them. They need to know just as much as we do that they matter.

    5. Kiss all the time! When you wake up, before either of you leaves, when you get home, before bed, thank you, I Love you or just because.

    6. Sex!

    7. Know that marriage is HARD. It takes a lot of work on both sides to make it last. It's not always flowers and love notes. It's ok to seek an outsiders opinion. Sometimes you are both to close to the situation to see the solution.

    8. COMPROMISE!

    9. DATE NIGHT! No kids, no frieds or family. Just the two of you. Take this time to fall in love all over again. Sit beside each other in a both, hold hands, laugh and talk.

    10. I know this has been said before but talk. Its easy now a days to get so wrapped up in kids, work, house, family drama, the computer (damn you facebook, lol) that we forget to verbally comunicate. Set a time when it's just the two of you without the kids, your phone, or the tv to distract you. Make a list if you need to and just talk.

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  140. My husband and I always talk about how lucky we are...after 20 years together, 16 of them married...we have learned... #1 like each other...be a best friend....if you don't really LIKE one another how the hell will it ever last? Even when I am bitchy and he is a jackhole we still want to go to bed...mind you sometimes its on opposite sides of the bed...but we still share the bed...having relations of the (not so) biblical proportions are a bonus...oh and the BJs...we compromise...I LOVE to have my back scratched...really, I do ;) COMPROMISE!

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    1. Oh and I forgot...we flirt...with everyone and each other .....I am not the jealous type and neither is he...we wink wink nudge nudge joke around with other (wo) men...and we bring it back for us to use that sexual energy for just us...

      I also agree with having your own friends...I actually kicked him out today for dinner cause he was so miserable so now he is at a friends...but friends come and go...best friends are forever and it should be your partner in life....

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  141. Give a full battery of personality, IQ, and even morality/ethics tests prior to beginning a relationship. I'm not joking. I like having a similar IQ and similar personality traits, and valuing the same things (be it religion, education, art) is very important and can be a deal breaker later on.

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  142. While not being stingy on the BJ's is important to a lot of men, you need to find out what is really important to your spouse. Then you need to make sure that you make time to do those things for him. You have to leave behind the exuses that he doesn't do those things for you...because if you do them, he will start doing things for you too. Next, you cannot let "life" get in the way of your relationship. Saying that you don't have money for a babystiter or you feel guilty for taking time away from your kids are not acceptable reasons to give up alone time with your spouse. And I don't mean just for sex. Movies, quiet talks, drives through your dream neighborhood, hobbies you enjoyed when you were dating. In order to stay in love with someone you must continue to do the activities that helped you fall in love with them. That means you have to spend time together. Happy parents=happy children=happy families. And your kids and their freinds need to see what a healthy and happy marriage look like. Daughters need to see you treat your husband with reverence and respect. Sons need to see your husband show you his appreciation and respect, as well. Growing apart only happens if you let it.

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  143. Have known my husband 17 years, together 10 and married 7- neither of us are perfect and though he can drive me a bit nutty at times, not only do I like him, but I am madly in love with him. Things I've learned:
    - Don't get in the habit of name calling or saying things with the intention of causing pain. Don't just say I love you everyday, but reflect often on the things about him or her you love. Look out for one another. We don't always take the best care of ourselves, and sometimes we need to take care of each other a bit.
    - On sex- Sex is so important. If you don't feel like you're having enough gratifying sex, be honest with each other about your wants. Don't be afraid to talk about your fantasies, what feels good, preferences ect. without judgement. Spontaneity can be really hard (still trying to get good at this, especially with a baby) but it really keeps things fresh. Plus it shows that you CARE about your sex life. If you don't ever feel like having sex, (not due to emotional disconnect) consider the very real possibility that you might have a hormonal imbalance (I did). If you are hesitant to have sex bc you don't like the way you look and feel, trust me, your spouse still thinks you're hot. Just you expressing that you "want him" will be hot to him. Sometimes even if you're not hot, just faking a bit of confidence can be sexy. If you are giving lots of Bj's he should definitely be reciprocating in the same way!
    -Lastly, trust. Unless there is some obvious reason not to, just go for it. It's nice to feel trusted, and sometimes the assumption that you are trustworthy makes you want to live up to that.
    Sorry bout the rant! Cheers!

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  144. So much good advice yet I still feel like I have to add my own. At least what has worked for me. (I've known my husband for 18 years, lived with him for 10, and been married for 7.) Every relationship is different, but the stuff that seems to keep people together isn't really.

    1. Be present. Really notice the good times: they'll help carry you through the yucky stuff.
    2. When things are bad, speak up. When you're not talking, listen.
    3. Set boundaries you can live with (and communicate these clearly). My grandmother told me to lower my standards and I'd never be disappointed, but there's still a point where you can't go any further. This applies to in-laws (his AND yours), giving yourself time, and how clean you need your house to be.
    4. Have dirty sex but fight fair. (For me this means not yelling or cursing, even when I so desperately want to.)
    5. Have a good sense of humor and a short memory. Harboring resentment hurts you the most anyway.

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  145. My father told me the key to a long and healthy relationship was to worry about the other person and put them first. The caveat was that they have to do the same for you. If you're watching out for each other, there should be no overlap.

    I learned on my own that you have to freakin' communicate. He's the one who talks it out, I tend to try to internalize and work it out on my own. I found it's MUCH easier if I just tell him what I'm thinking and how I feel.

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  146. Gotta go with the Bj's, and pretty much any other kind of sex too. Also, food. Seventeen years of marriage have taught me that men are really very uncomplicated creatures. They like sex. Also, sex. It makes them happy. And a happy spouse means they don't care how much you spent on the boots. Alternatively, if they do spot the price tag on the Kenneth Cole box that you tried artfully to bring into the house disguised as a huge box of toilet paper, you can always demonstrate how nicely the boots go with a thong. Just sayin'.

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  147. If you plan on having kids, discuss discipline and follow through before conceiving - you'd be amazed at the differences people can have when it comes to this issue.
    We've been married 17 years, together for 20 and our only "big" fights have been over our ADD son.
    One other thing - when you think you up-to-here with it all, ask yourself "But do I still love him?" If you can honestly say yes, you can make it work.

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  148. What I have learned from my marriage and subsequent divorce - SEX and BJ's even if you don't want to; laughter lots of laughter especially at those awkward moments where you could either cry or laugh; communication, don't be afraid to tell it how it is, if you and your partner love each other everyone will appreciate the honesty even if it hurts or they don't like what you have to say; pick your battles; you each need time with your friends as much as you need alone time with each other; and compromise.

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  149. Years ago, I sold furniture as a job (please, don't be jealous). Whenever I had an older couple, I always asked how many years they'd been married and how to have a long and happy marriage. This one couple I had were married 56 years. When I asked how they got to 56 years, the wife didn't even let me finish my question.

    Her response? "Separate vacations."

    Preach on, sista.

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