Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Four F’s of a Good Marriage

As I sit contemplating my next wedding anniversary and the upcoming wedding of a young family member, I have to reflect on some of the advice we were given as newlyweds.

My mother-in-law sat us down and in a grave voice said, “Never go to bed angry.”

We also heard, ‘You can’t change them,’  and  ‘Let it go.’   My husband was always going to be a slob. I would always be late. It can be irritating sometimes for both of us, but we knew those things going into the marriage. We each made an informed decision. That means we can’t fight about this one. It’s off the table. Pick a different battle if you need to let off some steam. These issues aren’t up for discussion. Deal with it and move on.

My husband was given sage advice from someone, I forget who. He was told to memorize this line. It will come in handy. “You’re right. I’m wrong. I’m sorry. I love you.”  Hubs likes to pass this little gem on to every groom now. And yes, he’s not afraid to use it, though I can’t always vouch for his sincerity, not when he’s fighting to hold it together and his chuckles are escaping in muffled little farts.

To these, I’d like to add my own words of wisdom. Let’s call them the Four F’s.

Friendship.  You will always have other friends, but the one you should be closest to is your spouse. Keep things open, honest, true, and tender with them. Passions fluctuate in every relationship. A solid friendship underneath will help a marriage endure and grow even during those low libido points.

Flirt.  Enjoy each other. Throw your whole heart into it and let go. Laugh, tease, and suggest bawdy or ridiculous things out of the blue. Keep your lover interested, curious, and amused.  Never forget what attracted you to this person in the first place, what won you over, and why you chose to make them a major part of your life.

Forgive.  We all screw up. We say things, do things, forget to do things. We’re all born with very selfish needs. It’s up to our parents to civilize us and make us fit for a more collective society. But our egocentric natures are always there. They will escape our control from time to time. Unless your spouse knowingly, willingly, and or callously wounded you in some way, try to have a sense of perspective. Talk it out, work it out then forgive them.    

Fuck. Crude, yes, but I needed another F word and this one is major. As I said earlier, libidos fluctuate. Sometimes you’re not going to be in the mood. Don’t get angry with each other, but try to understand why you just don’t feel it right now. Is there lingering resentment about something? Are you just plain tired? What do you need from your spouse in order to get you both on the same wavelength? Remember, this isn’t just your partner, they’re your friend. You should be able to say what’s on your mind. Calmly tell them how you feel before it becomes a shout. If you can work as a team, everything will align and you’ll both come out ahead in the end.

photo credit: <a href="">dsevilla</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>