The 7 Worst Marriage (+ Preparing for Marriage) Tips I’ve Ever Received

 

1. No one knows what they’re doing in marriage – so just jump right in!

THIS WAS REAL ADVICE I RECEIVED. And I can’t be too judgmental because, well, I did this. It is partly true. We can’t fully know what two people’s lives becoming one is really like until we’re in it. 

BUT (BIG BUT HERE) there’s a lot we can know. The first phase of any relationship is characterized by complete fantasy. All we have are the attraction chemicals bubbling up from a childhood place drawing us to this person. Our conscious adult brains like to give our feelings logic, so we place all the fantasies we’ve ever had about a love interest on this person, because why else would we be having the warm and fuzzies? Getting married in this state is not a good idea. 

Once we’re out of fantasy land which is different for different people, it is important to evaluate a partner on much more than how they make us feel (which is often the downfall for women) or they’re resume and dashing good looks (which is generally the downfall for men).

What is marriage, anyway? It is definitely part romance, but it is a BIGGER PART picking the co-CEO to your life. What type of character does this person exhibit? Do they struggle through hard times with integrity or dip at the first sign of discomfort? Do you love the vision they are casting for life? Is their story one you could see yourself in and vice versa? Do you become more or less of the person you want to be around this person?

2. Have sex when ever your partner wants it, no matter what

It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the US recognized marital rape as a thing because it was thought that spouse’s have complete rights to their spouse’s body. 

You can probably guess which gender suffered more from that.

Thankfully, spousal rape is now recognized as illegal in all 50 states.

Sex is not only a physical act. Sex at its best, is about connection. When sex is experienced void of connection too often, those are the circumstances under which addictions and compulsions develop. This is especially critical within marriage. As the pressures of life build, vulnerability and communication sometimes become more difficult, after all, you’re running a family business together. Returning to a place of connection in such a way that sex is a beautifully vulnerable and connecting act is a sure fire way to ensure marital health. Forcing sex without connection is a sure fire way to leave at least one spouse feeling unknown and lonely. 

3. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger

Dr. + Dr. Gottman are longtime researchers and therapists in the field of couple’s intimacy. Flooding is one phenomena they discuss in their research and it is what happens in the brain during a particularly intense argument when all rationality goes out the window and our brains are hijacked by the fight, flight, or freeze response. Physiologically, ZERO LOGICAL CONVERSATION CAN BE HAD for at least 20 minutes. 

Our options – (1) Stay up all night until our brains have calmed down (although much more fatigued) or (2) Go to sleep for goodness sake and try again in the morning.

I vote #2. 

4. Divorce is always wrong

Divorce is always awful. Divorce damages everyone in its wake. If there’s one thing I learned from fighting for a marriage but ultimately getting divorced, is that we are all ill people doing the best we can. Everyone’s situation is different and holding such strong lines in the sand to the degree that we feel justified to judge other people is never helpful. My hope for this space is to give us clearer heads as we enter marriage with less heartbreaking divorce. 

5. Air out all your dirty laundry on your first date (second is fine too), that will let you know if they’re long-term relationship material

Why. People. Why. 

I’m both flabbergasted this happens so often and also totally compassionate to this reality having done this myself. As an Enneagram 8 part of me feels like I’m lying if you don’t know absolutely EVERYTHING about me right away.

But, thank you, universe I have learned. 

Our first date is for FUN PEOPLE. We are not detectives trying to find the secrets of the universe.

Our journey to the present holds precious pieces of our hearts. Our first or second date has not earned the right to those pieces. Get to know the person in front of you, the person they are today. Fall in love with all the things that made them who they are in the present. We will probably find the hard things played a more beautiful role than we could have imagined.

6. Too much arguing is a sign you’re not meant to be, while zero arguing is proof you’re meant for each other

Disagreement is normal. Arguing is normal. Different relationships will have different levels of disagreement based on their temperament. There isn’t one right way to argue. Let’s normalize this behavior for couples.

I will say, that zero arguing means one or both parties are not being honest. Two imperfect people coming together will have differences that need to be worked through and occasionally these differences will need to be argued through. If one or both parties is taking the completely passive role, this will show up to bite them in the behind in the future.  

7. You’re soulmate is out there, wait for them

Ah yes, the soulmate advice. This soulmate idea comes from a more toxic cultural narrative that screams from the movies our person will complete us. Once we find the romantic partner we were always meant for, our life will finally be all that it was meant to be. All loneliness and longing will disappear in the arms of a loved one.

This is toxic worship of the love relationship that will leave all parties involved devastated. Your partner will not only not complete you, they will let you down and it will hurt more than anyone else because we share the most intimacy with them. 

The truth is there are many people we could be extremely happy with. The key is less about finding the perfect person, and more about being the most healthy and whole version of ourselves. Like attracts like. The healthier we are, the healthier the people we attract will be (and by healthy I mean fun, sexy, emotionally present, smart, etc. etc.)

Come watch my best friend, Kristina, and friends make fun of all things bad advice this Friday! There will be wine people 🙂

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