Thirteen years ago, after Casey and I let the cat out of the bag and told everyone we were engaged, we were both bombarded with marriage tips. Some of that advice was good advice and some of that advice was… not good advice. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t know which tips were good tips and which tips were bad tips. We had to learn through trial and error, and some of those learning experiences almost cost us our marriage–and many nights of sleep.
I’m sure that some of the advice is good for other couples, but it was just plain bad advice for us. And I’m also sure that some of the advice I would give to a newlywed couple would turn out to be terrible advice for them in the end as well. But some of the tips we received, we’d never give to anyone else regardless of the couple and I have no idea how some of these tips ever passed as good marriage advice in the first place.
Here is my list of the top 10 worst marriage tips that I received before I got married:
First Year is the Worst
We were told over and over again that the first year of marriage is the toughest year. That’s not really true, because for us the first year was pretty easy. It was the second, sixth, and eighth years that were the hardest for us.
Don’t Go to Bed Mad
This was just plain awful advice. We tried really hard for a really long time to not go to bed mad at each other, but often times staying awake until 3 AM trying to workout whatever was wrong just did way more damage to our marriage than was necessary. Sometimes taking a good 12 hours to cool off is far better for the marriage than hashing everything out before going to bed.
The M&M Game
We were told by a few other couples about the M&M game. The game consisted of putting an M&M in a jar each time we did the, uh, wild monkey dance together throughout the first year of marriage. And then after the first year of marriage was over we were supposed to take an M&M out of the jar each time we did the hokey pokey. We were told we would never be able to get all of the M&Ms out of the jar. Seems like a stupid little game that not many people play, but it put far too much pressure on our marriage in that little department and it caused all kinds of problems that didn’t get worked out until year 8 of our marriage.
Don’t Marry for Love
I was told not to marry the person I love but to learn to love the person I marry. Sorry, but I don’t know how a marriage can last unless you at least have some love that existed prior to getting married. Marriage is too hard and too important to just enter it with anyone just hoping to fall in love with that person at some point in the future.
Say Yes Ma’am
I was told I needed to learn to say “yes ma’am” to everything Casey wanted. The crux of the tip was that the wife should win all arguments and get whatever she wants whenever she wants it. I’m a full believer in a happy wife makes for a happy home, but sheesh, no way would our marriage work if I had to say yes ma’am to everything Casey wanted–we’d be moving onto our second bankruptcy by now.
We were told to take our vitamin T, as in tease, each day. That’s probably good advice for a lot of married couples, but that’s terrible advice for a future husband who could have gotten a doctorate degree in teasing after growing up with nothing but sisters.
Become Financially Sound
I was told to hold off on marriage until I was financially sound. Seems like a tip to help someone avoid the difficult parts of marriage. But here’s the thing: our marriage wouldn’t be nearly as important to us if we hadn’t experienced the difficult points of our marriage. Most of those difficult moments came about because of the financial struggles we had to go through.
Go on a Honeymoon
We were told to go on a honeymoon. If we had it to do all over again we wouldn’t have gone on our honeymoon. Instead, we would have went to some nearby town for a week and saved our money so we could begin an annual tradition of going on a vacation with each other each year.
Generally, not having secrets between each other is good advice, but there are things that should stay secret between each other. Like the time I told Casey her neck was really strong because her head was so big, or the time I told her she didn’t need a second plate of spaghetti. Just like I don’t need to know all the weird things she and her friends talk about–nor do I need to see her use the bathroom. The key is having common sense on what should remain secret and what needs to be discussed.
Have Things in Common
I was told not to marry someone unless I had a lot of things in common with that person. Casey and I couldn’t be anymore different from each other. Casey is an extrovert and I’m an introvert. She loves to dance and I hate to dance. I love to exercise and Casey hates to exercise. I don’t mind a good violent action movie and Casey can’t mentally handle a violent action movie. People constantly comment on how little we have in common with each other. Despite all of that, we love the hell out of each other and love spending time with each other. Turns out all we needed in common was the love we shared for each other.