Marriage Monday: Advice I Took to Heart in the First Year

Over the course of our first year of marriage, many people took it upon themselves to offer some insight on making a marriage last. Rather than become annoyed by the sometimes unsolicited advice, I made it a point to listen to the tips from those around me, and to read every marriage advice article that popped up on my facebook and pinterest feeds. Now, I won't give any advice of my own because I won't pretend that my marriage is perfect or that I have anything new to offer, but I'd like to relay some of the tid-bits that I found useful during our first year as a married couple.

1. Work at marriage like you'd work at a job. My mother gave me this advice before I got married and it's something I think about often. Marriage is a lot of work, that's no joke, and it should be given the same amount of attention -- if not more -- than you give your job. To do this, Alex and I started having what we call "family meetings" once a week. We either chat over dinner or while we're lying in bed before we fall asleep. We stole some questions from this list, but mostly we'd ask these staples.
     a) What was the highlight of your week?
     b) What was the low point of your week?
     c) What could I have done better for you this past week?
     d) What do you need from me this coming week?
     e) Anything you're looking forward to or dreading this week?
And then we'd finish by answering a silly question from this list. It was a nice way to just check in on each other and make sure we're both okay.

2. I read this list of advice from Glamour, and the first point really stood out to me. Learn to apologize. This is something that I'm still working on because I'm really stubborn and I hate being wrong, but being able to tell my husband and/or hear back from him, "I fucked up. You were right. I'm sorry. It won't happen again," was one of the greatest gifts we could give each other.

3. This list from Single Dad Laughing about the things he did wrong in his marriage is pretty funny and even though it's mainly directed at men, I found most of it totally applicable to both spouses. My favorite one is don't yell at your spouse. He explains that it's not only the fighting yelling that isn't so fun, but the lazy kind of yelling that's bad. Like when you're across the apartment and you need something from your partner, don't just scream for them like they're a dog. Get up and go talk to them as though they are the lovely person you decided to marry.

4. Learn each others' love language. I didn't even know that there was such a thing as a "love language" until after I got married, but when I saw this chart, it totally clicked. A love language is individual to each person; it's the way they best give and receive love. For example, my love language is physical touch. Getting a hug when Alex comes home from work makes me feel so happy and so loved. Alex's is acts of service. If I do the dishes, make dinner, help him carry his gear to his car, or take care of him when he's sick, he feels happy and loved too. Learning that about each other was so awesome.

I'd love to hear what your favorite marriage tips are. Please share them in the comments section!