Important Relationship Advice from Real Married Men and Women

Relationship Advice from Real Married Men and Women

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When it comes to marriage advice and the inside scoop, it's best to ask people in-the-know. So we turned to married couples to ask them what they think you need to know — and what you should expect — when you commit your life to someone else.

"When you go into marriage, the first thing you need to understand is that it isn't a fairytale. It's work. And it's important that you understand that the best time to work on your relationship is always. Couples who think everything will just stay the same as they day the got married are behind the eight ball. Understanding that there will be disagreements, issues and struggles in the marriage — and that these things are normal — is important." — Rob

"Don't have secrets. Communicate, no matter how big or small. Your spouse should be your best friend and the one you should always be able to confide, depend, and rely on when you need someone." — Rachel

"Don't keep score. Fair does not mean equal. If you've done the dishes five times this week and she's only done it three, don't try to even the score. Keeping score only leads to resentment. And c'mon, in a balanced relationship there are things you do more and things the other does more. What is important is that both sides contribute. Especially if it's something you both despise." — Hunt

"Learn which specific things are the most important to your partner. For example, you might think it's most important to keep the house clean, but he feels that going out and spending time together is the most important. You both need to listen and fulfill the other's needs, even if his or her main wants and needs are not that important to you." — Frank

"The blues hit me the moment we stepped back through the door to our home back from our honeymoon. For weeks after the wedding, I felt really down. The day we had been waiting for and anticipated was over, and we were back down with a bang to the real world. What made things worse was the feeling of guilt, and the worry that what I was experiencing wasn't normal. It wasn't until I finally confided in some friends that I realized what I was feeling was perfectly natural. Everyone goes through it." — Hannah

"Use manners. That sounds funny, but show your partner the same thoughtfulness and manners you show other people. Don't speak to your partner in ways you wouldn't want to be spoken to." — Diana

"There's a saying, 'a happy marriage doesn't mean both people are equally happy all the time,' and it's true and totally OK. Just be aware that the different hats we wear — a spouse, parent, worker, adult — can take a toll on our unions at different times. That's when one partner boosts the other with extra support." — Alicia

See More: 7 Signs You're Definitely a Newlywed

"We had a surprising number of older married couples tell us, 'Enjoy this time, because you'll hate each other in 30 years.' But I call bullsh—t. So far, actual marriage just keeps getting better and better. I never got cold feet, per se, but hearing so many couples tell us that it was all downhill from here really stressed us out. For a long time, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, for marriage to shift our relationship. This is damaging advice and sets the expectation that marriage is some sort of commitment prison. Don't take it." — Marian

"You just received your very own family. I'm not talking about your in-laws — I'm talking about your spouse. You two together are your very own nuclear family, and you should never lose sight of that fact. Your extended family will take the place in your life that you choose to give them. If you let the extended family influence either of you too much, it will create tension and nothing good will come of it." — Christopher

"Tina Turner said it best: 'What's love got to do with it?' Newlyweds should know that love may bring you together, but it may not be enough to keep you together. Marriage requires skills like communication, decision making, conflict resolution, listening, coaching, leadership, and negotiation to name a few. Some marriages end because people fall out of love. Many end because it takes hard work to be married, which most people are not prepared for. When the fantasy falls short after the honeymoon and the reality sun rises — that's what newlyweds need to prepare for. Don't be afraid of the storm clouds that inevitably move in and out of marriage. Exercise courage, grow from mistakes, forgive each other, and remember there is no such thing as a perfect marriage." — Annette

"Newlyweds should use their first year to intentionally build a strong foundation for their marriage. It's very easy to forget about building a strong foundation for your marriage, especially in those early months of married life. After being married for more than five years, I can say the foundation my wife and l built in our first year has been essential for our marriage. Because of this foundation, we are able to resolve our differences easily, are able to communicate effectively, and best of all, we love our marriage. Without a strong foundation, a marriage is likely to fail or end in a divorce with the slightest of arguments." — Marcus

"When I got married, I was told the first year would be the hardest but I didn't believe it. Looking back, the first year was the hardest. I was ready for the major adjustments of marriage, like moving to a new city, finding new sets of friends and in-laws, but I was not ready for minor adjustments like sharing a bed every night and nose hair in the sink. Anticipate the minor adjustments and embrace them with a positive attitude. The first year is the hardest." — Uduak

"A marriage only needs to make sense to the two people who are in it. When you're first married, you make a thousand decisions — where to live, where to work, when to have kids. The ultimate choices are made by the two of you, and you don't have to justify or explain them to anyone else. It's so easy to let a marriage become a committee; friends and family wish you well and want to offer opinions. But if the two of you are happy with your plans, allowing other people to second-guess you can quickly become toxic to your relationship." — Erika

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