Marriage Advice from Around the World

When we plan to marry, our parents and friends often have quite a bit of marriage advice for us. The actor Bill Murray once gave very practical advice to a young couple: “If you have someone that you think is The One….take that person and travel around the world….go to places that are hard to go to and hard to get out of. And when you come back to the airport and you’re still in love with that person, get married at the airport.”

Why would he have suggested that? Well, when we are out of our comfort zone we usually see the real person. Our inherent coping styles come to the fore as we drop all the niceties and masks that we sometimes adopt to deal with life.

Some of the most valuable and insightful marriage advice comes from people who have been married for over forty or fifty years. Basic research across cultures highlights that traditional roles are still very much alive in many countries. At the same time the younger generation are pushing boundaries as young women and men are being exposed to a larger world and becoming economically independent. They want to make different choices to their parents.

General Marriage Advice

There are endless tips from people who have been married for a long time to relationship experts too. Below are some of the key points highlighted that could contribute to a long lasting and fulfilling marriage:

  • All the advice comes down to how aware we are of our own behaviour and what is happening in our relationship.What is our partner mirroring back to us about ourselves? This means we need to step away from the “blame game” where we point fingers and instead consider what we can do differently. Or work out what “button” our spouse is pressing in us and resolve it.
  • Choose someone who has similar values to you. Often we choose someone who is the opposite of us only to find later that the very traits that attracted us become the ones that irritate us!
  • Marriage is something that needs to be worked at. It is a discipline. We will get as much out of it as we are willing to invest. This is especially important once children arrive. Nurture your relationship so that one day when the children leave you and partner still have something in common and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Have your own life too. Even if you love and want to be with your spouse the whole time, live your own life too. Have your own hobbies, maintain your own interests and circle of friends and allow your spouse to do the same. We need to replenish our energy to be able to give to our spouse again. Pursuing our own interests takes the pressure off them to be everything to us.
  • Love and nurture yourself. This is a crucial piece of marriage advice. The more your take care of yourself the less needy and clingy you will be. Remember it is not your spouse’s role in life to make you happy. We need to focus on keeping ourselves happy and fulfilled. We often experience hurt when we have become too dependent on someone else and they are unable to meet our expectations.
  • Always remember why your married your spouse and what attracted you to them in the first place. Keep this alive by continuing to compliment them. Show your appreciation.
  • Learn to read between the lines. Look for the softer emotion behind your partner’s responses. Are they feeing hurt, insecure, disappointed, fearful, etc? What lies behind their anger? Showing anger is readily accepted in society. What is not acceptable though is showing our vulnerability or soft side. That means we are weak or unable to cope!
  • Accept your partner as they are. Marriage advice includes knowing that you cannot change your spouse. They can only change if they want to or see the need to do so. Women often think they can “rescue” their partner: they feel they will “get their spouse right”. Marriage does not work this way.
  • Are you making it pleasant for your spouse to be with you? Or have you turned into someone who complains and finds fault. Do you have some alone time, even if it is just fifteen minutes a day to talk about light things or what you appreciate about each other?
  • Probably one of the most important points of marriage advice is to always be present. When you are with your spouse give your time and focussed attention. Place yourselves in a small cocoon for a short while every day so that you can ensure that the connection remains strong.

It is one thing hearing all the marriage advice in the world. It is quite another matter being in the territory of making a marriage work.  You may be keen to strengthen the bond with your partner through some relationship counselling sessions.

Posted in Relationships.