Last week, I shared some of the marriage advice I’d received from social media on the eve of my sister’s wedding.
I was honored people were willing to be so authentic with their lessons learned.
I received even more than would fit in one column, so I’m extending it one more week because I think the advice is universal. It’s aimed specifically at marriage, but can be applied to relationships in general. And I think we’re all trying to improve some relationship in some way.
Chris Martin, married for the second time, has some perspective to share.
“I feel that I’ve had two very different marriages,” she said. “The thing I wish someone would have told me is that while marriage is not always easy, it is only as good as the effort both people put into it. The best piece of advice I did get this time around was that marriage should be enjoyed not just endured.”
Brian Reedy and his wife, Lily, have been through their share of struggle, but they’ve endured it together — with laughter and grace.
“Fasten your seatbelts and hold each others hands, you are in for the ride of your lives,” he said. “Marriage is a wild ride and it takes work, and especially team work. Commit to it completely and it will be the best and most rewarding work you will ever do.”
When it comes down to it, there’s no magic bullet.
Janet Baker, married for 30 years, advised, “Never go to bed mad.”
Jileen Platt offered an opposing view, “My best advice is sometimes it’s necessary to go to bed mad ... just as long as you talk about things the next day. We all need some time to diffuse.”
The important thing is doing what works best in your own relationship, like Amanda Long pointed out.
“Without talking, you don’t know the story the other person is telling themselves,” Long said. “Tell each other what you are feeling, be open and honest in a loving caring manner. It’ll create a deeper connection.”
There are practical ways to demonstrate respect.
Irene Waltz said, “Never schedule your husband, and, he never schedules you. Mutually check calendars and then get back to people.”
Maryellen Harlow advised to spend at least 15 hours a week together.
Some people lamented no amount of advice could save their marriages.
Sometimes, the most healthy thing to do is walk away. Not all marriages — or relationships — are supposed to last forever. Simply staying married doesn’t mean success and getting a divorce doesn’t mean failure. It’s about doing what’s right for you.
“Listen to your instincts,” Leslie Arnold advised. “You’re worthy!”
For the record, I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is it’s true when people say marriage is hard. But it’s also the most fun ever. Immerse yourself in the beautiful, wonderful, quirky, adventurous, peaceful, loving moments — so when the hard times come, you know what you’re fighting for.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.