Over 20 years ago, Sheri and I were married. I was given advice that has turned out to be part of the key to my being a good husband and father. Here are the 3 best pieces of advice I received early in our union and a bonus tip that has helped me adjust along the way.
Always Check First: Chaplin Spingath. Sheri and I went through pre-marriage counseling because it was required. At 23ish I thought it was the dumbest thing ever. Until I went… I learned one of the foundational blocks to our marriage. Always check with Sheri before making any arrangements or commitments. This came as a result of a battery of personality tests and counseling. It has been absolutely priceless in our relationship. What I thought was the dumbest thing ever actually turned out to be one of the most important things ever. Guys, counseling is not a bad thing. If your wife says she thinks it will help, go and actively participate. I promise you’ll learn something that might just change your life. It did mine.
The 5-to-10 Rule: My father. If you’re fighting with your wife and it is getting out of control. STOP. Ask yourself, “Will this matter in 5 to 10 years?” If the answer is no. Drop it. It’s not worth winning the argument. If the answer is yes. Stop arguing; get yourself under control; and work through it. It’s too important to ignore or fight over without getting a real resolution. Usually the right answer is somewhere in the middle. You have to commit to solving the problem and not make it a personal battle with your life partner and best friend. You owe it to her to commit to solving the matter in a way that maintains her dignity and self respect. Pulling rank as the ‘man of the house’ or disengaging will not resolve the issue and only damages your relationship.
No Single Friends: Marty Herron. Marty once pulled me to the side and told me “You cannot have single friends Steve. You guys always partying was a large influence in my problems, and I don’t want to see you go through that.” This was difficult to address. These guys were my friends. How could their being ‘single’ influence my marriage? Single guys do not have the same life perspective and therefore do different things than married guys. You have made a lifelong commitment to your wife. If you plan to keep it, you’ll find true happiness in your wife – not the guys.
Bonus Tip: Make Little Adjustments: If something bothers your wife that you’re indifferent to, make the adjustment. It shows you love and honor her by making her happy. For example, I use to leave my close by the side of the bed at night and leave them there after getting up. This drove Sheri crazy. Finally (we’re talking years later), I decided to pick my clothes up in the morning when I got out of bed. This little change, made a big difference to Sheri. What’s the one thing you can change today to show your best friend and life partner that you listen and respect her wishes? Just Do It.
What about your best advice? Some of you old guys have been married forever. Leave your most important lesson below.