You’re not going anywhere. And neither is he.
By Susannah B. Lewis
Last updated on Nov 10, 2023
Photo: Pha88 / Shutterstock
I cannot believe that my husband and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary in a few months.
It seems like just yesterday I walked down the aisle in a beautiful beaded gown and flip-flops. And yet, somehow, it also seems like decades ago that we were joined together by God and a band of white gold. It’s really surreal stuff.
During these fleeting, yet dragging, years, I’ve discovered the 11 unspoken rules in happy, healthy marriages.
1. Just nod and agree.
You may think that’s the silliest idea you’ve ever heard, but just nod your pretty little head and hope it works out for him. Because it’s better to let the little things roll off your back instead of starting a fight.
2. Never say, ‘I told you so.’
It didn’t work out, did it? Well, don’t say a word. You’ll thank yourself later.
3. Know when to shut your trap.
You may be a very vocal wife, but know when to keep your lips zipped.
For example, while your man is assembling your children’s play set in 102-degree heat, he’ll probably misplace some nuts, bolts, and his sanity. As the expletives flow from his lips like water, now is not the time to ridicule his ridiculous work method or his lack of using the instructions.
Just take him some sweet tea and stay in the shade.
4. Keep your opinions about his family to yourself.
If you must recite the Serenity prayer every time you pull into the in-laws’ driveway, only do it in your head. Never speak it in front of him… while sobbing and clutching a Rosary.
When you marry someone, you “marry” their family as well. Even if you don’t get along with the in-laws, keeping your negative opinions to yourself will save you from hours of arguing.
5. Don’t threaten divorce every time something minor happens.
He set his glass on the table without a coaster, but there’s no need to draft an itemized list of what you want in the divorce (although, you’d let him keep the table with the drink ring). No disagreement or bad habit is worthy of this type of threat.
You’re not going anywhere. He’s not going anywhere. Take the lawyer off the speed dial.
6. Don’t share intimate stuff with strangers.
Maybe a 30-second commercial lasted longer than last night in the bedroom. Maybe he got so drunk he went to the bathroom in the aquarium’s water tank. Maybe he lost his job because of something ridiculous.
No matter what it was, there’s no need to put it on social media or tell all of your friends. Respect your man and know when to keep private things… well, private.
Photo: Felicity Tai / Pexels
7. No cheating. (Duh.)
It goes without saying that cheating throws a wrench into your relationship and leads to a lack of trust. And nobody wants that.
You don’t want him petting the waitress. He doesn’t want you petting anything. You know better. Just don’t do it.
8. Never stop celebrating together.
Who cares if you’ve spent the last two decades of holidays with the same man? Celebrate them big each time, as if it were the first Christmas, first Valentine’s Day, or first birthday.
As soon as you stop celebrating together, sparks start to fizzle. Buy him some new sunglasses, even though you know he’ll lose them within a month… Okay, a week.
9. Know the correct answer.
He should know how to answer, “Am I still hot?” “Is she prettier?” and “Is my lasagna edible?” And you should know how to answer, “Do you mind if I watch football?”
Who cares if you really don’t want to watch football? That man ate your lasagna last night. Cut him some slack.
10. Follow the golden rule.
It’s quite simple, really. Treat him the way you want to be treated, and if he’s a good one, he’ll reciprocate the love and respect. Any good marriage is built on both of those things — love and respect — and it’s the bare minimum for any spouse.
But no matter how often you hold in your farts, he’s never going to hold in his. That’s life. That’s marriage. Accept it.
11. Remember: honeymoons don’t last forever.
They just don’t, no matter how you may feel in the moment or in those first few years together. Marriage takes a lot of hard work once the butterflies die and the excitement dwindles.
Photo: Vladimir Konoplev / Pexels
Love isn’t a feeling. It’s an action. And by action, I don’t mean act all crazy and run away with the UPS guy because your husband forgot to do the dishes. It’s a “grass isn’t always greener” type thing, you know?
Enjoy your marriage. Enjoy each other. Enjoy these unspoken rules. You know they’re true.
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Susannah B. Lewis is an author, blogger, and podcaster. Her videos and articles have been featured in Reader’s Digest, Parents Magazine, US Weekly, Yahoo!, Huffington Post, Unilad, TODAY, among many others.