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Without a doubt, marriage is a wonderful gift and a true blessing. But it is also something that can be powerfully difficult. Marriage is not always easy, but most of us would have to agree, it’s absolutely worth it. We asked some of the married people we know to share their very best marriage advice for newlyweds.
What are the tips that have helped them succeed in their own partnerships? What indispensable advice would you offer a young couple on their wedding day?
40+ people shared their words of wisdom for newlyweds. Some of these are great general rules for a happy marriage, but many are newlywed-specific. Below you’ll find a veritable encyclopedia of solid relationship advice for the married couple. What’s the secret to a good marriage? Read on to find out.
Table of Contents
Learn to practice empathy
Learn to practice empathy. It is inevitable that you will have disagreements with each other. Sometimes that will escalate into anger and even a fight or two. Take a minute to breathe and try to see things from your spouse’s point of view. Try to find ways that they could be seeing things differently from you. Even if you still do not agree with them, if you can understand where they are coming from it will be easier to resolve your issues. –Dan, married 4 years.
Travel as a couple
Travel together, and not just for your honeymoon! If you can survive holidays together then you’ll be all set for married life. Travelling is the most enjoyable, but often the most stressful experience you can have as a couple, and for most, being together in unfamiliar places and situations can help bring you even closer. It sometimes feels like an ‘us against the world’ when we’re away, which has done wonders for keeping our marriage a very happy one. It also makes us appreciate our lives back home, which may seem mundane at times, but after a few weeks of tramping through jungles or lugging suitcases around cities, returning home to happily married life is a blessing.
You’ll get to know each other a lot better when you travel too, sharing the highs and the lows (we spent most of our honeymoon in South America being ill, or seasick, or both!) and that will only make you stronger as a couple. Try and travel together often to keep things fresh. It doesn’t have to be an exotic holiday abroad, just a quiet weekend away in the countryside is just as good. It’s the secret to a long and wonderful marriage! –Heather, married 11 years
Spend quality time together
Do your best to enjoy spending time together. This may be something simple like making your partner laugh every day. But for us it was important to build a life together. We’ve seen a lot of couples live entirely separate lives. Not only do they work apart, but they have different friends, different interests. In my opinion, this leads to a couple that grows apart rather than together.
Sure, it’s healthy to spend time apart, but ensure you enjoy spending quality time together. In the end, it will be the two of you together for decades. It’s important to find quality ways to spend those decades together. Travel together. Cook together. Exercise together. Spend time with your friends together. Make the most of your time and grow together as a couple. –Amber, married 17 years
Learn your love languages
Learn the other one’s love language! The “5 Love Languages” is a book and concept by Gary Chapman. It has been such a game changer for us. Understanding how you can show love effectively on a level your partner intuitively understands and feels makes an incredible difference in a relationship.
Naturally, we will use our own preferred love language to show love to our partner. But that might not be the way they best receive love. So learn your partner’s love language and start “speaking” it. It could be as simple as giving them an extra hug every day. –Leo, married 8 months
Prioritize trust and honesty
Honesty and trust are the two pillars of a strong marriage. For any marriage to be happy and to last both partners need to be patient with each other, give each other space, encourage each other and most importantly give their best to the relationship. Focus on the good and watch the love grow! –Deeptha, married 14 years
Make time to connect daily
It can be easy to neglect your relationship when life gets busy, stressful or when kids are added to the mix. For this reason it is so important to make time to connect as a couple, even when you’re tired or busy. If this is becoming a struggle, don’t hesitate to schedule time in as part of every day when you are spending quality time together. It could be as simple as having breakfast together each morning or an after-dinner chat to reflect on your day. Communication is going to keep you feeling connected as a couple and supporting one another. -Holly, married 9 years
Don’t go to bed angry
I’d say never go to bed angry. Communicate, when you’re angry, take a break, walk away, then revisit the issue when you’re calm. Let the little shit go, leave the past in the past. Don’t hold a grudge. Talk shit out and no matter how angry you are don’t ever call names. That hurts more than anything. -Jen, was married 7 years
Talk out your anger
Always talk it out. It’s definitely the harder option when you are in the middle of a fight, and often you just want to walk away. But if you don’t speak about it and clear the air things will build up over time and you will find yourself fighting about something new and bringing up the past! Save yourself time and heartache and just talk, talk and talk some more. –Felicity, married 5 years
Let the little things go
Learn to let the little things go. In a marriage, arguments happen. Some are important and need to be resolved. But, many are about trivial things, often blown out of proportion when someone is already feeling tired or overwhelmed. If you snap at each other over the dirty socks left on the floor, or whose turn it is to run the kids to soccer practice, let the frustration go when the conversation is over.
Holding onto petty arguments will eventually turn into resentment. When he left those dirty socks on the floor, he probably didn’t do it with the intention of adding to your workload or out of a lack of respect. Honestly, he was probably tired and forgot. Let it go, and you will both be happier. –Kristin, married 6 years
Always remember you are on the same team
When faced with difficulties, remember this: It is both of you against the world, not against each other. –Eva, married 2 years
Consider merging your money
My wife and I tied the knot in Las Vegas, after travelling the world for over a year. During our travels, spending every day together we witnessed each other’s personalities (good and bad). Though this wasn’t the main reason that solidified our relationship. The strange thing was, it was sharing our expenses. Our travels forced us to share our finances uniting us together with a common goal (visiting amazing places).
After we arrived back home in Australia as newlyweds. We organised a joint account (Romantic, I know). For myself, letting control of my own money and to trust my wife was difficult. It wasn’t like she would run away with all our money or go on a crazy shopping spree. It was more than that money was a personal thing, I’ve never had to justify buying anything before. I couldn’t just buy a new surfboard because it looked super fun or shiny new climbing gear without bringing it up for discussion first. It’s also very tricky to justify all the fast food on the bank statement.
But the benefits when I did, was well worth the initial discomfort. I’ve only been married for a few years and I know shared finances is a boring subject. Though It’s truly paved the foundation for a trusting relationship and has strengthened our marriage as a partnership. –Simon, married 3 years
Give one another the benefit of the doubt
It’s been about six months since our wedding and boy, what a ride! While it’s early in our marriage, this journey has already taught me so much. Wedding planning can be a stressful, tumultuous time and just when you’re through to the other side comes adjustment to the marriage itself. It’s been a time of growth and happiness and my best marriage advice so far is: give each other the benefit of the doubt.
Remember, in the midst of silly arguments and tough days, that you are both on the same team. Bearing in mind that neither of you is intentionally hurting the other, that continuously improving your communication skills is key, will help set the foundation for increasing trust and love. –Nausheen, married 6 months
Work together from the start
Be a team from day one. Try to avoid things like “my money” or “my house” especially if the scale may be uneven. You’re in this together, so work together from the start and share your life as partners, not roommates. When you fight (and you will) remember this and don’t throw around these terms as a way to hurt the other person. You will each bring valuable parts to the relationship. One day the tables may turn and the words you used may be coming back at you. -Amanda, married 14 years
Talk about everything openly and honestly
Talking about finances openly and honestly is an important part of a strong marriage. Getting into this habit as newlyweds is a smart move and sets the tone for financial transparency through your marriage. A married couple with joint financial goals is a powerful force, we often have two incomes – at least to start with – and reduced expenses from sharing a home. But marriages don’t always start out like that.
Some of us bring debt to the relationship, one partner might be a spender while the other saves every spare penny. Laying bare all outstanding debt, repayments amounts and other financial commitments sets the bar for honest money talk in the future. Discuss your opinions on home ownership, children and any other financial goals you might have. By establishing clear communication about your financial situation, early in your marriage (or ideally, beforehand) you will strengthen your bond, and give your marriage the best chance at standing the test of time. –Emma, married 8 years
Read Next: 48 Questions to Ask Before Getting Married
Love and accept each other completely
Be open and honest with each other, love and accept each other completely and travel together far and wide as much as possible! –Betsy, married 32 years
Keep adventure alive!
Never stop exploring together. And while that can obviously include traveling the world, it doesn’t necessarily have to. A big part of keeping a relationship fresh over a long period of time is not allowing yourself to fall prey to the humdrum repetition of the routine. People tend to get bored when they’re stuck in a rut, which is one reason so many people ultimately get fed up living the usual 9 to 5 lifestyle.
If you can afford the luxury of traveling often, that’s great! But if not, find other ways to explore new things together. Eat at new restaurants, sample exotic cuisines, or just order something weird you haven’t had before. Go to a museum exhibiting the art of another culture, or check out a concert by a band from a country very different from your own. Take a picnic and go hiking in a state park you have never been to before. Take classes together: Learning new hobbies like photography, pottery, or gardening can help establish new bonds.
We’re 10 years into our relationship now, and we try to keep learning, growing, and seeking new adventures together. Whether we’re at home or exploring abroad, our boundless curiosity keeps us young, vibrant, and even more in love than we were during the “honeymoon” phase. –Bret, married 10 years
Dream and set goals together
We firmly believe in realizing dreams. Not hoping for them to happen. Not waiting for that maybe-we’ll-do-that-when-we’re-retired kind of plan. But acting on them now. To be able to do that, we talk and dream together. And then we start planning how we can work towards them.
Not every dream is possible straight away and not every dream might be achievable in the way that you want it to be. You might have to save money. Or you have to quit your job and that feels like a very big step. Or you might have to put yours aside for a bit, to work on your partner’s. But working on those dreams together, as a team, makes a marriage stronger and happier. –Babs, married 8 years
Keep humor fresh (and remember funny memories)
Don’t forget the inside jokes and funny things that happen early in your relationship. It helps keep the laughter going between the two of you for years and years. The other day my husband and I were laughing at something that happened when we were first dating. Things that are only funny to the two of you never get old. –Jaime, married 16 years
Fix what needs fixing
Compare it to a house, just because a lightbulb is broken you don’t buy a new house, you fix the lightbulb. So, stick together and try to work out whatever there is to work out. Communication, understanding and compromising are the key. –Josephine, married 2 years
Figure out rules for how to avoid and solve problems
Learn how to navigate hardship together early. Do difficult fun but things (like going backpacking for a few days), and work out rules to get through the tough times, like when you’re tired, hungry, being swarmed by bugs and it starts raining.
Those rules you agree on — how to communicate, how to avoid problems and how to solve them — will serve you many times in the future, in situations you didn’t bring on yourselves. It’s great to work out the rules when the stakes aren’t too high. -Dana
Communicate wisely and creatively
Open discussion. But if you feel discussing something might turn into a big fight when you regret saying things, write an e-mail instead. That way you have a chance to explain the problem calmly and fully and the other one has time to react without misunderstanding or cutting it short. Some might say it is strange or impersonal to write an e-mail instead of talking but it really helped us in the first couple of years. –Emese, married 10 years
Remember that words are powerful
Language is the most important thing in a relationship. The language you use in an argument or when you are frustrated with your partner is extremely important. And this can be difficult, especially when emotions are high. However, the difference between switching a “You” for an “I” can make your partner feel less like you are blaming them for something which will make them defensive, and more like they need to listen to you because there is something that is bothering you. For example, “You never listen to me.” Versus, “I feel like I am not being listened to.” –Mike, married 3 years
Don’t try to change your spouse
I think one of the most important things to remember when you first get married is that you can’t change the other person. Once you realize that, it’s freeing. I think you can give your opinions freely but know that your partner is who they are and you married them for that. You can hope that someday they’ll change but don’t make it your goal to change them. But aside from that, my favorite words to a successful marriage are honesty, respect, and selflessness. –Grace, married 12 years
Give 60%, not 50
The 60-40 rule! Always aim to give 60% and only expect your spouse to give 40%. If you focus too hard on being exactly equal in effort, you’ll fall into the trap of assuming (possibly incorrectly, due to bias!) you’re putting in an unfair amount of work for your marriage. Then you might resent your spouse for not doing enough! But by aiming for 60-40, you help eliminate the confirmation bias and avoid resentment. Plus genuinely aiming to contribute 60% and genuinely expecting only 40% will help you and your spouse better appreciate each other!
The 60-40 rule also helps you realize when there truly is an unfair division of effort in your marriage. If you start to see 70-30, and there aren’t extenuating circumstances, then you and your spouse can reevaluate what you’re both doing. The 60-40 rule applies to work/chores, romance, etc.–anything that requires dual efforts. –Brita, married 5 years
Sometimes, just agree to disagree
It’s so hard to do sometimes, but try not to go to bed angry with each other. Take time to cool down when you get into a disagreement so no one says anything they regret, but then come back together and talk about it once you are both calm. Apologize, ask for forgiveness, or sometimes just agree to disagree.
The icing on the cake is having passionate makeup sex! –Alexis, married 12 years
Put down that toilet seat, men
In my tiny 3 years of marriage (5 years cohabitating) I’ve learned a lot, but one thing sticks out the most, and it is that you should always put both the toilet seat AND the lid down, so both partners do equal work. This will clear up at least half of all your marital problems! –Shanna, married 3 years
Be honest about your expectations for marriage
Talk about what you don’t want. When we first started dating, my now husband and I focused on what we didn’t want: all the ways we didn’t want to speak to each other, we didn’t want to go to bed angry, we didn’t want to put down each other’s ideas. At the start especially, we just lived by our own self imposed rules. By doing so it allowed us to evolve and put our energy into growing into the couple we wanted to be. A decade later and 40+ countries traveled together, we are so glad we did that. –Tiffany, married 11 years
Embrace before bed, even if you’re still angry
My best marriage advice is an oldie, but a goodie. Never go to bed mad. Whenever we do this, I know I start the next day feeling mad too and it can take a while to get over the fight and any resentment. This can seem easy at times when it is a small fight and it’s not last thing at night.
However, when it’s late and you’re tired and you probably just both want to be right, it can be really hard to make up. I recommend that at those times, you have some type of time out where you already have a plan of what happens next so the “discussion” can go on hold until a time where you are going to not be half asleep so you can work it out. Then you can put it to the side for the evening and still go to bed not mad at each other. I recommend you agree to kiss and hug before sleep time no matter how mad you are. –Suzi, married 12 years
*A note from Two Drifters: in our post on Relationship Myths, we dispel the idea that you can never go to bed angry. As Suzi says, sometimes you have to go to bed and put the discussion on hold ’til the morning.
Get to know each other as well as possible
Get to know your partner before you decide to tie the knot. This way you are making a sound decision. My hub and I dated for 6 years before settling down. Both of us love to travel, so we enjoyed doing that together and have been traveling ever since. –Mayuri, 2.5 years
Appreciate every little thing your partner does for you. Once you’re married, it can be easy to take each other for granted, but that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do! So when your other half makes you dinner after a long day at work, say thank you.
When they offer to come pick you up after a night out with your friends, make sure you offer to do it for them the next time around. If they squeeze your hand when your favourite character dies on tv, remember how lucky you are to have found them. It’s these little things we often forget to appreciate, but they’re the ones that matter the most. –Anna, married 4 1/2 years
Share the burdens
Always give the other person the benefit of the doubt. It can be difficult to blend two lives together so give each other some grace, assume the best of the other person’s intentions, and always try to be kind. Kindness costs nothing as well as the small gestures that make the other person’s load lighter.
Marriage is about making the other person’s path in life easier by sharing the burdens. Tasks and balance may shift throughout the years but if each person is trying to help the other it’ll all turn out ok! –Alexis, married 4 years
Marry someone who is self-sufficient
Marry only that man who already lived alone (no more with his parents) and is able to take care of himself. – Sarka, married 14 years
Know that the first year can be hard
I don’t know why, but things change when you first get married. The first year of marriage was really hard for my husband and I and we came close to getting a divorce. Just remember why you got married in the first place and work hard to appreciate each other and value each other’s opinions and feelings. Also, make time to do fun things together. It helps keep the spark going. –Hollee, married 3 years
Learn to fight well
The first year, as they say, is hard. Even if you lived together before, some things do change. Not for the bad, not for the worse, but they change. Most of all have patience and learn to fight. Don’t call names, don’t yell. Communication is the cornerstone of any relationship. Set a good base and you’ll be fine. –Cris, married 6 years
Make space for your own time and hobbies
Spend time together and apart. Have separate hobbies you like to do on your own outside of the things you like to do together. Being with someone 24/7 will can destroy the mystery and ruin the relationship. –Casie, married 6 years
Be cautious about sharing problems with family
Your first year of marriage, there will be times you think you have made a mistake. More often than not, you have not made a mistake. Don’t run to your friends or family and gossip about arguments because you and your partner are a team. At the end of the day, you will still love your partner but your family and friends are not beholden to do the same. Always think in terms of being a team. –Jaime, married 1 year
Learn to compromise
My best advice is don’t travel together… no, I’m kidding. My husband and I recently got back from 5 weeks away, we didn’t kill each other but we came close a few times. I think you need to make sure to listen to each other and compromise to ensure you are both getting to do and see the things you want to see. I’d also recommend (especially for long trips) that you plan a spa day or a day trip to go on alone, give each other a few hours of space / you time as living in each other’s back pockets for weeks can just about drive anyone crazy! –Samantha, married 4 years
Give each other space, even when traveling
Travel together. It’s like an extreme form of marriage because you’re together 24/7, and it promotes bonding at an accelerated pace. That’s the beauty of honeymoons. It can also bring up differences at a great rate, so – as long as you work at it – you can learn how to solve a lot of problems quickly that might come up in the future. Just remember that compromise is the key.
If you want to see ALL the sights and your partner wants to do nothing but sit in a cafe, see fewer sights but at a greater depth and make sure you take breaks between each one. Travel is a great romance builder so use this time to foster affection. Make an effort to go for a few lazy dinners with low lights and wine. Hold hands when you see the Eiffel Tower, and appreciate the fact that the experience is magnified because you’re sharing it with someone special. That said, don’t be afraid to give each other space – a little breathing room in any marriage can go a long way. –Carol, married 5 years
Read Next: 8 Ways to Create More Romance in a Relationship
Be friends with your spouse
Don’t keep score
Being married from 11 yrs I have tons of marriage advice (which even I struggle to follow!) .Newlywed couples are living in fairyland feeling so much love and dreams. All the romantic movies you had watched over the time, seems like true and most of us imagine the great loving married life ahead. All of your relatives are ready to give you a secret of a successful marriage. Believe me, no one gives you the BEST because in any relationship no set formula works!!!
To be a really happy married couple, you should have “ BAD MATHS”. I am asking you to be bad in calculations although your parents and teachers always ask you to do best. In marriage, we always use “mathematics”. I give more, she gives less. I am loving him more, he doesn’t. I do my best to make the best life for us, he/she is just not putting real efforts into it.
All the math equations you hate, you are using them into your marriage life. For example, comparison. Who is a better spouse? Who loves more? Who cares more? Even, who earns more? Right? So you are calculating your feelings. Stop doing such mathematics. Do you know in marriage who give up is a real winner. All the rules and calculations are worthless if you love truly. Be bad at maths, don’t calculate who is doing more or who is best. Stop comparing, forget each other’s mistakes and leave every small argument which makes you an opponent, not a partner. –Arti, married 11 years
Want even MORE marriage advice from veteran married folks? Check out this great post on Diapers & Cocktails!
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- Top 5 Things Your Husband Needs to Hear (and 25 Ways to Tell Him!)
- Affair-Proof: 7 Ways to Protect Your Marriage from Infidelity
Amy Hartle is the Editor behind Two Drifters, and author of Do You Love Me? How To Stop Seeking Reassurance in Relationships, a book on reassurance seeking. While her name often is found beside the title of “Relationship Expert”, she knows that becoming an expert on love and relationships will be a lifelong challenge. But, she is a passionate student of the subject, fully dedicated to learning all she can about relationships, connection, and intimacy, and nurturing her own marriage along the way.
Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband Nathan, and son Malcolm. When not working on websites or traveling the world, the Hartles can be found cuddling, reading, and hanging out with their cats.