No matter how rock-solid you think your relationship is before tying the knot, nothing really prepares you for life as husband and wife like marriage itself. Hopefully you have family and friends to seek marriage advice from. But if you don’t you should seek out those that have been married, both sucessfully and unsuccessfully to see what works and what doesn’t work.
That’s why one man who is getting ready to propose reached out to the spouses of Reddit to get their firsthand advice on what to expect from married life and how to make it last. Below are 15 pieces of relationship wisdom from couples who know a thing or two about wedded bliss.
1. “The proposal and the wedding seem like such big deals before they happen, and you’ll probably feel a tremendous amount of pressure to make sure everything goes perfectly. In hindsight, you realize that the details never mattered, just the results.”
2. “Keep pursuing your spouse after you’re married. Go on dates. Buy her flowers randomly. Hide a note somewhere that she won’t find for a few days. Offer to do something that’s usually her responsibility, just because. Let her know you love her — not just by saying so, but also absolutely by saying so!”
3. “The best advice I was ever given: ‘You will go through sh*t with anyone, but it’s your choice who you go through it with.'”
4. “Keep in mind that marriage isn’t just about committing to the person they are now. It’s about committing to the person they’ll be five years from now, the one they’ll be in 10 years, 20, 50, etc. While the fundamental things about each of us stay the same, you’re both going to change a lot over the years. Stuff happens, good and bad. It changes you. But if you stick through it, it makes things even deeper and more amazing.”
5. “You don’t just marry the girl, you marry her whole family. Make sure you keep very good relations with the family if you want things to last.”
6. “Go to bed angry. Let them know you love them, but you don’t have to resolve every argument before sleeping. Usually you’re tired and not making sense. When you wake up it’ll take a few minutes to realize you’re both wrong and the fight will be over.”
7. “There’s this new sense of ‘realness’ to it all after you’re married. It’s kind of hard to explain, but you’re going to wake up some days and just look at your wife and say to yourself, ‘Wow, she’s going to be here every day for the rest of our lives.‘”
8. “If you’re looking for the perfect time, there won’t be one. You have to get used to difficult times with her because those are the times that will really define your marriage. My wife and I have been through good and bad times, and if you work together, you can be stronger for it.”
9. “You both must understand and agree that it is no longer ‘My life, my money, my time, my career.’ Everything is ‘our.’ You should discuss how decisions will impact both of you.”
10. “Everyone will try to tell you how to act and what you guys should do. And while it’s nice to have advice, remember that because every single person is different, so is every single relationship.”
11. “Sticking by each other is so, so important. You need to know you have each other’s backs.”
12. “Learn to laugh stuff off. Living with someone else can be a challenge at times, and little stuff can begin to feel like big stuff. But you have a choice in how you react. You can decide whether some little thing that drives you crazy is a personal foible, or a ”Hill You Want To Die On Because If She Really Loved Me She Would Stop Doing It So It’s Now A Metaphor For Everything That Is Wrong With Our Marriage.’ Truth is, some people just don’t change the toilet paper roll. It’s not symbolic of anything. It’s a quirk. Laugh.”
13. “One of the most common questions in our marriage is ‘What’re you thinking and feeling?‘ Because it’s better just to ask than spend three hours trying to figure it out.”
14. “If you go into it expecting the other person to change their ways after marriage, then don’t do it. You don’t marry a messy slob and come home to a clean freak. If he’s obsessed with video games, don’t expect that he’ll suddenly want to go to the farmers market and hiking on the weekends.”
15. “Don’t ever stop being kind to each other. Little things like saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, offering compliments, etc. really do make a big difference.”
*Some responses have been edited and condensed.