To those about to Wed: some advice

I just KNOW I would have appreciated knowing this stuff before we got married, and spurred on by this thread:

(edit: some of this seems a little negative, so take the first statement with more emphasis)

When you are on the same page, NOTHING feels better than being married to your best friend.

-There is no crime in sleeping apart (Living together, sleeping apart; new taboo? - In My Humble Opinion - Straight Dope Message Board)

-Your Libidos WILL change. Probably not for the better.

-You WILL get in a RUT, a successful marriage must manage that…either both parties come to grip with the rut, or both parties scramble to get OUT of that rut. It cannot be done by one person alone.

-You (and your spouse) will change over the course of your marriage. You will either grow together or apart. Recognize and prepare for it.

-Getting married means entrusting your whole life in the whims of another. The person that cares the least has the most power. That means the person that wants sex the least, wants to work the least, wants to love the least, wants to change the least. There’s nothing scarier than looking at where you are, and realizing it can all change if the other person doesn’t want it as much as you. That said, the rewards in taking the risk are significant.

-The only way you can tell the Marriage will be successful is if you lay on your deathbed and your spouse holds your hand (or vice versa). There’s no one test that proves at the outset, that your marriage will last. Best get busy in making sure the foundation is strong.

-Once married, you will encounter someone that turns your eye. You have to evaluate a potentially fleeting emotion with the damage it could cause. You are not dead. It happens to everybody. But what you choose to do about it could have long lasting and unexpected repercussions.

-Like the Lottery, you can’t win if you don’t play. Unlike the Lottery, your odds are much better.

Any other thoughts?

“50% of all marrages end in divorce” is a totally bullshit statistic. Some groups, especially teenagers and people who have previously divorced, are much more likely to divorce than others.

For example, if the bride was under 18 at the time of first marriage, 48% of marriages are disrupted (divorce or separation) after 10 years, and if 18 or 19, 40%.

Similarly, if a woman has been previously divorced and is under 25 at the time of her second marriage, 47% of marriages have dissolved within 10 years.

If the bride is over the age of 25 at the time of her first marriage, only 24% of marriages are disrupted after 10 years.

CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad323.pdf

Marry the right person in the first place. 90% of the success of a marriage hinges on this. It’s important to love each other, but it’s not enough: you have to like who you are when you are together. Never marry anyone that you become someone you disapprove of when you are with them. Never marry someone that you don’t admire and respect as well as love.

The marriage is the third entity in the relationship. Don’t think of favors or concessions as something you do for the other person, but as things you do for the marriage. This avoids feeling like you are owed anything in return, or that they aren’t properly grateful.

Always give each other the benefit of the doubt. Assume carelessness, not meanness, assume genuine mistake, not intentional cruelty, assume good intentions, not malice aforethought. If it gets to the point that you can’t do that anymore, go ahead and get divorced, because it’s all over anyway.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Informally or formally arranged, but talk about what you want and need and how you feel.

Of course, if the other person isn’t willing to, it can be a problem, but at least you should try.

QFT. I’d also add that it’s very difficult to be happy with someone unless you’re able to be happy on your own. Know who YOU are first; don’t expect a spouse or significant other to figure it out for you.

We’ve been married 33 years now, sleep together, libido still strong, no ruts, but being married to your best friend is still good advice. At this point neither of us could conceive of not being married. We tried being apart between the time we met and had an intense year long relationship and the time we got engaged, and being apart just didn’t work.

If you aren’t happy with who you are, marriage will not fix that.

If you don’t like you, marriage will not fix that.

If you don’t like who you’re marrying, marriage will not fix that.

If you don’t trust yourself, marriage will not fix that.

If you don’t trust the other person, marriage will not fix that.

If you are unsure if they love you, marriage will not fix that.

If you are unsure if you love them, marriage will not fix that.

And if your marriage is rocky, having a baby will not fix that.

marriage is a dish best served cold.
marriage is NOT romantic, it is grinding 24/7 hardwork with intangible rewards that far outweigh the input of effort (love romance cuddles and snuggles and having someone to care for you when you got runny butt from something your kid brought home from school)

  1. Mutual trust.

  2. Mutual Respect.

  3. Open, honest, two-way communication.

  4. Commitment to always working on #1–3.

  5. Profit!

With a fresh civil union certificate in our possession were quite curious about #5, we’ve had #'s 1-4 going on for 21 years but were unaware of #5!

Two can live as cheaply as one, yet draw two paychecks. :wink:

I was previously engaged for about 3 months. It was a chore. It was stressful. It was awful. I thought that’s what it took to land a mate. I thought I have to give stuff up.

That ended, I called up my ex-roommate’s ex-girlfriend, we dated a week later, we married 13 months after that, we’re still married 15 years later.

The things that took SO MUCH WORK in the first relationship were EFFORTLESS in the second. Love shouldn’t be hard to do.

You’re not doing it right. :wink:

Indeed. I try not to say it too often, because it makes me sound insufferably twee (I’m bringing that word back to the SDMB!), but for whatever reason, I really haven’t experienced any of the difficult and annoying aspects of marriage that so many comedians base their careers on. My wife doesn’t drag me on shopping trips. She doesn’t spend money irresponsibly. She doesn’t nag. She doesn’t give me lists of chores to do. She doesn’t yammer on incessantly about hair or soap operas or anything like that. On the rare occasion when she needs to talk about her feelings, we have a good chat about her feelings. She lets me talk about mine when I need to. In fact, she generally acts like a grown-up adult, and treats me as if she loves me.

I’ll stop here before people start to want to stab me in the eyes.

Quoted for truth. And I’ll add: Communicate. Don’t put it off. Of course, communicate does not mean nag. It means two people talking, not one.

Smeghead, UB, thanks for that. I agree. I’ve never found my marriage to be work either. But maybe that’s because I married someone who I respect and admire and like, not just love. There’s a lot of things at home that are work - the housework, the necessary repairs, paying bills, car maintenance, and on and on - but my marriage isn’t one of them.

As for advice: never look at your SO as a project. If you don’t like the person he is today, cut him loose and find someone else. You can only change yourself; you can’t change someone else.

And one more (an oldie but a goodie, and oft repeated here): when someone shows you who he really is, your job is to see.

(I’m using “he” and “him” because I’m a heterosexual female. Please make the necessary pronoun substitutions that fit you best.)

I think it means, one person listening and one person talking. Then, switch.

Lather, rinse…

I believe it is not the crass, material sort of profit, but, you know, the other kind.

My first marriage took work. I chose to marry someone disabled and it was often very hard work.

My fear would be that if people hear there’s no hard work to marriage they think “Oh, we just hit a bump. This shouldn’t happen. This must not be the right relationship.” Some relationships, some people, are simply harder than others. That doesn’t make them categorically not worth pursuing.

To use an example from my current relationship, we were over 2000 miles away for the first year and a half. That was way harder than a nearby relationship, but now we’re in the same place and it was completely worth it. Hard or easy, the people involved need to think it’s worth it in some way. If it’s not worth it, don’t do it.

The most important thing it to have your spouse’s back, and know he has yours. That trust is worth more than anything.

Remember that this person is your partner and maybe even your best friend. Remember how they look at you with love in his/her eyes.

Try to keep those things in the forefront of your mind and it will save you a lot of getting yourself worked up over little shit (e.g., he doesn’t know how to load the dishwasher!) and from saying something you can’t take back.

Marriage is work, but it shouldn’t be something you have to slog through. If you feel that way, my guess would be your partner isn’t carrying his/her share of the load.

Say you love each other. Say thank you. Hold hands. Remember to cheer each other on.