Young engaged couples get tons of advice from well-meaning family and friends. I still remember some of the tips we were given as we planned our wedding. Not all advice is helpful, so consider the example of those giving the advice (is their marriage one you’d like to imitate?) and take all advice with a grain of salt. That said, here’s 5 rules for young married couples from relationship expert Rachael Pace, which may go against other advice you’ve heard…
At your wedding, did you put out a little book where people could write in some marriage advice? You know that advice—the stuff people have been telling newlyweds for 100 years that is the “secret” to a happy marriage.
What if that advice isn’t really all that good anymore? As times change, we study marriage and relationships, and our roles in marriage evolve, perhaps it’s time to revisit that traditional, and somewhat outdated advice. So look out Ward and June Cleaver! There is a new generation of married couples out there. Here are 5 rules for young married couples to replace all that outdated advice.
1. Go Ahead and Go to Bed Angry
You know the saying, “Never go to bed angry”? Ever wonder why that was a thing? In the modern era, it’s time to flip that outdated advice around.
While coming to a resolution is a good thing, sometimes taking a break from the argument is just what you and your spouse need to get through it. Battling it out before bed can make you exhausted, even if you reach a resolution.
Instead, agree to disagree, sleep on it, and set a time when you can revisit the issue. Sometimes a good night’s sleep can work wonders—they say that your brain keeps working out the last problems you thought about before bed.
And besides, you can still love each other while discussing an issue that you are at odds about, so stretching it out a little longer won’t hurt. In fact, it may help you both come around to the other side.
2. Share Your Fears
If you ever read those 1950s advice lists for housewives, you’ll notice that a lot of them say to only speak positively to each other. While that is always good advice, it’s not bad to also include your fears or worries. Ignoring them only makes them bigger in your mind, and then they start to affect your daily life, which can affect your marriage.
It’s always best to be honest, even if that includes a few negative things your spouse may not like. You can’t help each other if you aren’t willing to say anything, and those feelings can eat away at you if you don’t share them. What better person to help you than your spouse?
3. Put Each Other First
Old advice used to tell couples to always put the children first. While that seems logical—children need their parents, after all—in the end, a united couple is the best gift you can give your children. It’s like on an airplane, when they tell you to place your oxygen mask first before helping someone else.
In a marriage, you must put the relationship with your spouse first before you can then help the children. As your marriage becomes stronger, you will be more able to be there for your children in all the ways they need you.
4. Be Proactive About Intimacy
If you ever had the sex talk from your parents, chances are they said that these things just happen naturally. While it’s true that surrendering to our natural instincts is a fun part of intimacy, there is still much you can learn and grow from if you are proactive about it. Educate each other on what you like, rather than just guessing and doing your best.
Communicate, practice, read articles to each other, and really discover what will help you both achieve the best intimate experience possible. What’s great about this is it’s an area you can keep learning your entire marriage.
5. It’s All About Compromise
If you’ve ever been told to just grin and bear it, well, forget about it. Marriage is about two people coming together and working together, not one bending over backwards for the other one. While you need to give a little, you do need to talk about what you want, too.
You both will need to negotiate and have a little give and take to reach a place where you both feel happy. It’s satisfying helping your spouse feel catered to, and it’s important to offer that same opportunity to them, too.
What rules for young married couples helped—or didn’t help—you in your relationship?
Rachael Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for Marriage.com, a resource to support healthy, happy marriages.