Have you always wondered why most romantic comedies end before the honeymoon? That’s because it wouldn’t be a comedy anymore, life is full of drama and conflict. How do you navigate the mysteries of a long marriage? After extensive research and a lot of trial and error these are the best rules to advise anyone on how to make it to through the long haul. There is a reason the divorce rate is high and the road is rocky. It’s not easy but take heart , it can be done with a lot humor and a little work you too can make your castle a more peaceful place that you’ll want to come home to.
1) Always argue naked, it makes it much harder to get up and walk out and much easier to kiss and make up. Let’s face it: great sex makes up for a lot of other crap that is also part of a long term relationship, sometimes it’s all you get after a lousy day at work you get to come home, eat and get lucky. And if you do it right you’ll even sleep better after that exertion.
2) Real Honesty. There is a difference between telling the truth and being brutally honest. Here’s an example: What do you want for your birthday? If you reply, “Nothing, you’ve bought me the same perfume three years in a row I don’t need another” and you get nothing don’t be surprised. Being diplomatic has it’s advantages, replying.”That’s a nice thought but I’d rather we go together and pick out a gift” will get you a date night and what you receive will please you both. Now many feel they don’t have to sugarcoat anything after a long relationship, hence “I’ve hated everything you’ve ever picked out for me” is a little too frank. Who wouldn’t feel stymied at the next trip to the mall? Just giving a gift certificate is so impersonal, but do you deserve anything after that outburst that was really intended to maim not inform.
3) Never say “No” to sex, it often takes longer to argue it about than it does to just have sex, (refer to rule #1). Besides who gets married to have less sex than when they were single, no one. You may not feel like doing it in the beginning but you will by the time things heat up. It’s a win win for both of you. Never underestimate the healing power of a quickie.
4) Don’t sweat the small stuff. Compromise whenever you can. It is good to have principles but you must pick your battles. There is nothing worse than waking up on the couch over some stupid fight when you can’t even remember what it was about. If he wants to watch sports tonight, then make him agree to watch your choice tomorrow then Tivo your shows so everyone wins. In the greater scheme of things just about everything is considered small stuff in the end.
5) Retail Therapy. It’s called the $100 rule. What is the number one reason couples fight? Money. If it’s under a hundred bucks you can’t fight about it Everyone should be able to splurge on a small purchase once in a while. Figure out a budget, decide what amount is discretionary spending that the amount you can spend without a battle but stay within the budget! Come on, who hasn’t felt better after indulging on a little “retail therapy” from the mall?
6) Don’t say always and never. “You never take me anywhere.” Really? “You haven’t gone to dinner with me in so long I miss having alone time with you,” Which will get the response you are looking for? You always leave the toilet seat up? Not really, be accurate, there is nothing to be gained by arguing semantics, it’s a waste of time, energy and it hides the real issue, stick to the topic of what’s really important. If you want real solutions state the real problem clearly and succinctly.
7) Be nice. It doesn’t take much to make your mate feel appreciated, it also doesn’t take much to ruin the moment with some impulsive insult they will never forgive. A little note stuck to the mirror saying “I love you” take a few seconds but may make up for the next three stupid annoying things you are about to do. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate just thoughtful. It should show you are paying attention to their needs and desires. A cheap card, a short text with “Sorry, I’m trying though” stops the fight before it starts sometimes.
8) A little affection goes a long way. Do you hold hands, open the door, a kiss before you leave or say goodnight? Public displays of affection shouldn’t be marking your territory or embarrassing to either of you or spectators, so no T and A. A light discreet touch or gesture combined with that private but intimate eye contact is a combination that lets them feel special in a crowd but not slobbered on.
9) Write it down. If you feel you can’t get your point across verbally, put pen to paper, sometimes that’s enough to vent your frustration. It’s cathartic and avoids the confusion of misinterpretation. People tend to stop listening and start forming a reply instead of truly listening. It’s great for those ADD spouses, you know who you are. Avoid bringing up old arguments to pile on stick to one issue until it’s resolved, it’s is about finding solutions not dredging up the past in an endless cycle.
10) Never use the “D” word unless you really want a divorce. There is nothing worse than blurting out an insult you didn’t mean only to be blind sided by the reaction it creates. It may be a one way street you never intended but you can’t undo that kind of hurt. Don’t try to win the argument by starting a new one because the fight may never end with this strategy.
At the end of the day it boils down to how much you are willing to do, as well as what you really say that builds a relationship or tears it down bit by bit. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree and acknowledge that you may not “win” every time but the real victory is getting to cuddle up next to each other that same night and sleep soundly and maybe even get lucky again and forget about it. It’s all about living to fight another day and who knows, after all that great sex you probably won’t have the energy to argue any more any way.