1. If you think you’ve found “the one,” ask yourself if that person would stick with you through thick and thin. The good AND the bad. If you’re even a bit unsure, he/she may not be “the one.” I have a friend who lost his job and pretended to go to work for a week for fear of his wife would think/do. That marriage didn’t last. If that were to happen to me, my wife would be the first person I’d want to tell and run home to. Marry that person.
2. If you’re still young and find yourself in a good relationship, don’t mess it up for the sake of “playing the field”. Quality beats quantity every single time.
3. Never stop dating our spouse. Getting married isn’t a finish line. Just like you don’t magically get “in shape” one day and stop hitting the gym, you don’t have a guaranteed relationship. Take the time to woo them on a regular basis. Small gifts, thoughtful tasks, and date night. It’s easy to fall into a comfortable rut, but it doesn’t help anyone.
4. If you cant be yourself around someone, they arent right for you. If you have a deep love for dungeons and dragons, or football, or guns, or biking, dont make a secret of it. That doesnt mean beat whoever your dating over the head with it, but talk about it. Some shared interests are important in a relationship imho. obviously not ALL interests should be shared, my wife likes reality tv, I like zombies. those dont mesh for each other. but we share enough common interests that we can watch anime together and play D&D every weekend.
5. Don’t get complacent. It’s your biggest downfall. It’s so, so easy to forget how to woo a woman once she’s ‘your’ woman, but you should wake up every morning and evaluate how happy you are, and how lucky you feel – and let her know that. To summarise, complacency is bad, but spontaneity is good – don’t be afraid to buy her flowers, or give her a massage or just be the one to cook and clean, for no reason other than because she’s your wife and you love her. Seriously. It all boils down to complacency. Don’t get complacent. I don’t feel like I’ve said that enough.
6. If you want to be truly happy in a relationship be completely honest from the beginning. This doesn’t mean tell her everything on your first date, but don’t lie about things that may be important to you just because you think it might get you laid.
7. Talk about things. Sitting in moody silence for hours (or days in extreme cases) will only eat away at the relationship. When I say talk, I don’t mean try once and then give up, I mean push to get everything out in the open. Whilst it might be awkward to begin with, it can feel cathartic when you’re over whatever it was. And I say this because it’s somewhat surprising how many exchanges you can have that are the result of misunderstandings. Oh, and put your ego to one side if you do this. It won’t work if you don’t do that first.
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8. Don’t marry a woman because you think you can spend the rest of your life with her…marry a woman because you think you can’t spend the rest of your life without her.
9. The perfect woman is not the one you have to change the least for, but the one you want to improve yourself the most for.
10. You’re going to see the worst in your partner. They’re going to see your worst. Find someone who deserves and will return your patience. The most attractive thing about my wife is her 10+ years of empathy that she’s had for me.
11. You need to marry the girl who sticks with you through your darkest times. If she adds to the drama and is losing her head when you’re in the process of losing your job, she’s not the one. Loyalty is everything: in private, you may disagree with your girl, but always back her to the hilt in public.
12. Support your SO, but make sure you are getting support in return. Be yourself. Don’t sacrifice your goals for any woman. Don’t buy into the “woman/wife” is always right or gets what she wants. If you have a woman like this, she isn’t worth having. Your goals, dreams and hobbies will become secondary and you will resent them. Support is a two way street and demonstrated by mutual respect for each others goals.
13. Realize that your S.O. communicates differently than you. You can avoid a lot of anger and arguments by knowing the difference between frustration vs. confrontational intention.
14. Listen to understand rather than listen to respond. I think this goes for any relationship advice, but its super easy to listen to your wife trying to figure out how to respond; solve a problem, critique her issues, etc. Sometimes the wife just wants to rant and if you’re busy figuring out how to respond, you’re not listening.
15. If you can’t be yourself around someone, they aren’t right for you. If you have a deep love for dungeons and dragons, or football, or guns, or biking, don’t make a secret of it. That doesn’t mean beat whoever your dating over the head with it, but talk about it. Some shared interests are important in a relationship imho. obviously not ALL interests should be shared, my wife likes reality tv, I like zombies. those don’t mesh for each other. but we share enough common interests that we can watch anime together and play D&D every weekend.
17. Establish boundaries very early on and stick to them. My wife is a great person and I love her, BUT….. …her family is extremely pushy, domineering and controlling. They show up whenever they want, stay over days or weeks at a time, clean up our house to their standards, borrow money from her, call during dinner, etc. Every single cliché you see in goofy romantic movies. Now it’s getting hard to break up that dynamic without looking like the bad guy.
18. Nice guys don’t finish last; boring guys do. You can be the nicest, sweetest guy on the planet but still be so boring that women won’t come near you. Be interesting.
19. Don’t stop trying. Don’t stop courting. You don’t have to woo her every day but pick up some flowers every once in a while. Remember that one little thing she liked or mentioned once and get it for her. Dating isn’t just to get to marriage, it’s also for during marriage. Along with that, though, is to still be your own person. Keep some of your hobbies, even if you might need to scale back some. Take time for yourself. A marriage is between two individuals in union. Have shared goals while being your own person.
20. You remember that trip you went on as a couple where nothing went right? You were both hungover, your activity got rained out and you had to bust your ass to make your flight. How was that? That’s your life when you have two kids and two jobs. Can you be happy with that version of her?
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21. My wife and I had a conversation recently about what it means to love somebody. She, like most people, doesn’t really have a clear definition of love. I told her I view love as being about making a decision to be committed to a person. She was appalled at first because it sounded so clinical and rational whereas most people view love as some sort of mythical/magical thing. I told her that if love was some unknown mythical property that we can’t control then she shouldn’t be upset if I walk down the street later that day and fall in love with another woman. My advice is, take some time and truly think about your partner/love interest. Imagine your future together. If that’s the future you want, then make a decision to love that person and work hard to maintain it. Never treat your relationship as a goal that you’ve accomplished. Always work at it, tweak it, maintain it. Never give up.
22. Be super clear about who you are and what you want. Not just honest but clear and communicate exactly what you’re about before you commit to anything relational. It’s so easy for a lot of women I’ve met as well as my friends wives to expect things to change or happen a certain way after they get married. In fairness they’re not wrong at all for expecting that if you haven’t communicated clearly and effectively. If gaming is important to you, tell her and make sure you make it clear it won’t go anywhere if she married you. If gaming isn’t that important, make that clear to her that you’ll probably ditch it for the most part to spend time with her or just drop it in general because of money reasons. These communications honestly can save you so many head aches and open up a lot of beautiful dialogs with one another.
23. Everyone hears things differently. It is vital that you learn how she hears things and how she thinks so you can present what you’re saying clearly. So many times I’ve seen men and myself saying what I think they want to hear but really they are hearing something different. E.g., My wife and I’s definition of pretty and attractive are entirely different. She asked me if I thought her sister was attractive. I said no but I think she’s pretty. Attractive to me = you’re attracted to that person, to her = that person is good looking. So I said ‘your sister is good looking but I’m not attracted to her’ and she heard ‘I’m attracted to your sister.’After a while of ‘talking’ we figured out we meant different things.
24. Searching for the perfect partner or focusing on your partners faults will generally result in some pretty horribly superiority or inferiority complexes. It doesn’t matter if you’re married or not, do your best to nail down all your bases and your own character first and foremost. I see so many desperate guys searching for the perfect wife or woman but they have nothing to offer. It hit me one day when somebody said to me ‘if you did find your dream girl, would you be her dream guy? What have you got to offer her?’ It woke me up to how much I didn’t really have much to offer a woman (at the time) as much as a life or even good character.
25. After you’ve been dating or married for a while you’ll get pretty comfortable with your partner and start taking them for granted. After a while they’ll start getting on your nerves, too… …not too long ago I found myself getting very annoyed by little things my wife was doing: Taking too long to get ready, questioning or correcting things I was doing, spending money on little things we didn’t need… I was actually getting quite upset and occasionally snapping at her about these things…and then I realized how ridiculously mean I was being to her…I never did those things in the first couple of years we were married. I was actively trying to impress her during that time and be a nice, caring person. So now, every day, I try to be that guy again. I try to pretend we’ve just started dating and I want to impress my wife by being a light-hearted, dependable, funny person.