Jacked from madamenoire.com
1. Don't rush! Surprisingly, despite having almost 30 years of marriage under his belt, one of my friend's simple advice was "don't rush." He didn't say this to suggest he wasn't happily married. He merely meant that when the time is right, the time is right and "forever is a long time." He's looking forward to spending the rest of his life with his wife; however, he can do so comfortably knowing he had a fulfilling single life before meeting the woman he loves. He doesn't sit up late at night wondering, "what if" because he knows he met his wife and committed to her at the right time in his life.
2. No kids in bed. Married seven years, another friend said he had to learn this lesson through trial and error. The proud father of two girls, he let his first daughter sleep in the bed with him and his wife every time she asked. This exception soon became the rule. Eventually, as you might expect, their love life suffered, because it's a little difficult to have sex with your wife when your child is constantly in your bed. When his wife became pregnant again, they decided that the baby would not sleep with them. Establishing this from the beginning, their younger daughter accepted it as normal routine and became more independent sooner than their oldest daughter. I'll spare you the details, but he says their love life greatly improved. In the end, he said the parents should work together to set the expectations and not be driven solely by the children's wants. In other words, it's important to remember that "adults have needs too."
3. Accept that other women are still attractive. This theme came up a few times. You're beautiful and he loves you, BUT there are other women in the world he might, from time to time, find attractive. A quote from one friend sums it up best, "space is #1, a good wife isn't smothering, she's confident enough to let her man hit the streets and follow Draya on Instagram."
Let's be clear, these men weren't advocating for letting your husband blatantly disrespect you by actively pursuing other women on social media or beyond. Still, you should be confident and trustworthy enough to know that just because he "LIKES" a picture on Facebook/Instagram or RTs some cute woman on Twitter, doesn't mean he's secretly plotting to run off with that woman the second you turn your back.
4. Recognize what's important to him and make sure you're at least casually involved. As you might have noticed, a number of men were transfixed with NFL playoffs this weekend. You don't have to be into football. You don't even have to like football. However, you should respect the fact that *insert random sport you don't care about here* is important to him and he might be emotionally involved in the outcome of said sport from time to time. Don't mock his seemingly illogical sports-related commitments simply because they don't align with yours. More importantly, don't make him choose between the game he loves and proving his love for you when the game is on the line by asking him to "turn down/off the game" so y'all can talk about window drapes or some other equal non-emergency. Aint nobody got time for that! Recognize he loves you and the game and there's ample time in the week to show love for both of you - you know, as long as those days aren't Monday, Thursday, Saturday or Sunday
5. Marry someone you can laugh with. I've often heard that women like a man that can make them laugh but apparently men feel the same way! Almost every happily married man I spoke with referred to having a woman in your life that you can laugh or joke with. In other words, life is too short to take serious all the time. Apparently, having a woman by your side that can keep you in good spirits goes a long way.
6. Peace and quiet is underrated. Although these happily married men recognized that the women they love generally liked to talk more than themselves - and that was ok - peace and quiet was often underrated in the relationships prior to their wives. As one friend put it, "I think the key to a happy marriage, for a man, is understanding what most men want. Most of the married guys I know appreciate nothing more than peace and quiet. Just don't bug us. A peaceful household free of drama and arguing goes a long way." In other words, talking is fine and the men know it's a key part of maintaining a happy marriage, but sometimes silence is golden.
7. Communication, communication, communication! As if sensing that they might need to redeem themselves from the "peace and quiet" request, most of my friends couldn't stress the idea of communicating openly and honestly with their wives enough. If you can't share your inner most thoughts with a woman you're considering marrying, then you're about to marry the wrong woman. Additionally, it's important for both parties to be able to see and respect the other's point of view. It's not about agreeing on everything, it's about respecting each other's right to have their own opinion. As one friend put it, "you can't put a price on a woman who respects your right to agree to disagree."
8. Each day is a new day. A married friend of three years stated it simply, "grudges are for single people." He went on to explain that arguing is a natural part of any relationship, but he plans on spending the rest of his life with his wife, so what's the point of holding a grudge? In his mind, there is none. It's not a game, so he doesn't keep score. He and his wife aren't perfect, but they both agree the best way to make their marriage a success is to take the journey one step (or day) at a time.
9. The upside to divorce. One friend on his second, and happier, marriage told me the best advice he could give me was to "get a divorce under your belt." Half-joking and half-serious, he explained that his first marriage in his early 20's taught him what it really meant to be married. He said he went into his first marriage with ridiculously unrealistic expectations and he and his wife both suffered through the process. In the end, they couldn't make it work because neither had any real idea of what it meant to be a good husband or wife. Further, and mistakenly, they were both convinced it was the other person's responsibility to change. Older, wiser, and more mature, he is happy and confident he won't make the same mistakes the second time around. So, the moral of the story is if we want a happy marriage, some of us might need to get an unhappy marriage out of the way first.
10. It's us versus the problem. One of my favorite tips came from one happily married man's philosophy on maintaining a happy marriage, "it's us versus the problem." In his marriage, he and his wife have made a conscious effort to ensure it's always them versus the problem instead of it ever being a case of him versus her. It sounds idealistic, but it's proven very effective for them over the years. Regardless of the issue, in their marriage it's always a team effort. This means whenever they have a fight, it's not them fighting each other, it's them fighting to resolve the problem, together.