Top 10 Tips for Marital Bliss

Marital bliss? Some days I'm happy (really happy) to settle for marital survival.

Here are the top 10 tips for keeping a marriage together, contributed by On Balance readers:

1. Be nice. This is stupidly simple, but it works. Even when you feel like hell, or have a beef with each other, or are tense or tired, make the effort to be kind and gentle with each other. Make the partnership a safe harbor where the other person wants to be. This means taking a breath, biting your tongue and going easy even when that's not exactly how you feel.

2. Before you get married, find common ground on your most important issues -- where you want to live, the role work plays in your family balance, how you will handle your finances, whether or not you want children (and if you are older, what lengths you will go to to have biological ones), the degree to which your extended family are involved in your lives, and what role religion will play in your lives and the lives of your children.

3. Whomever feels most passionately about a position wins that argument. It is rare that, upon candid reflection, you can't unanimously agree that one or the other simply cares more (or as is more likely the case, one cares less). You are going to have different opinions on many different subjects. Winning an argument doesn't mean the other loses. It just means one cared more about that particular issue.

4. Nurturing your marriage is more important than kids -- in part because staying together is so important for your kids. So, make time for each other. Have a regular date night without kids. Sex and affection and time alone together are a top priority. Make dates to cuddle up, let other things slide sometimes, do whatever you have to do. Just don't let it get pushed off the table by everything else that is "important."

5. Stay flexible, in every sense of the word. That means finding a compromise between his need to watch the game and your need get the house clean. It means finding ways to discipline the kids that both of you can live with. It means staying open minded to new ideas in bed. It means communicating, it means nothing is set in stone, other than your core values, which you should discuss and share before you ever get married.

6. Treat the logistics of raising a family and running a household like a small business. Once a week have a calendar meeting. Go over the schedule of the upcoming week or weeks, and talk through what you both and the kids have going on. Make lists about what has to happen to help the week go smoothly and who has which carpool, cooking responsibilities, etc.

7. Have a sense of humor -- some arguments can and should end in laughter.

8. Don't crowd too much into your lives. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.

9. When you get home at night, or when you honey calls in the middle of the day, stop, take a breath, smile, and say "Hello, sweetheart. How are you?" before launching into whatever daily business or complaints you have. Start every interchange on a basis of affection and kindness.

10. Accept that you can't change your spouse, especially by yelling or screaming or playing passive-aggressive. However, this doesn't mean letting small resentments simmer. Deal with them before they become big deals. If your spouse does anything that upsets you, talk about it. If he or she can understand why you are upset, and you can understand why your partner does what he/she does, both parties stand a chance of finding that happy medium.

Next week: Send me your Totally Straightforward, Sneaky and Snarky Tips for Getting a Promotion at Work When You Have to Leave at Five for Day Care Pickup so I can include them in next Monday's Top 10 Tips.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  April 7, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Top Ten Tips
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I'm just going to add, talk about your dreams, values and plans BEFORE you get married. Seems obvious, but for many it is not.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | April 7, 2008 7:40 AM

One of my girlfriends said this while we were discussing another friend who berates her husband in public:

"You know, sometimes you have to remember that this is the person you picked to watch your back."

I loved that.


Posted by: amy | April 7, 2008 7:45 AM

Fred's Top Ten List for Martial Bliss

10. Two words "arranged marriage"
9. Argue only about important things, like the color of bathroom towels.
8. Brittany and Kevin are excellent role models.
7. Get married in a church.
6. Oh, you said bliss, not blessed! Nevermind....
5. Bliss is easier to spell than Tchoupitoulas
4. The marriage made in Vegas stays in Vegas
3. Make sure your dog and her cat have the same religion
2. His and hers bathrooms
1. Just do what she says.

Posted by: fred | April 7, 2008 7:51 AM

The six most important words in marriage:
o yes, dear
o you're right
o I'm sorry

Posted by: chemguy1157 | April 7, 2008 8:18 AM

My first postcollege roommate in New York was from Savannah, Georgia. Those Southern women know a thing or two about respect. She told me that her mom's best friend took her husband aside the night before the wedding and said, "Honey, I love you beyond reckoning. But if you ever lie to me, beat me, or cheat on me, I'll leave you or I'll kill you. You can still back out now, but after tomorrow, it's a deal forever."

I loved that. I wish I had had the guts to deliver the same speech.

Posted by: leslie4 | April 7, 2008 8:45 AM

Marty Crane's rule #1 for men arguing with women: "It doesn't matter whether you're right or wrong. You're going to wind up apologizing sooner or later, so just do it sooner and avoid the ulcer."

(Yes, we used to be huge fans of "Frasier".)

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 7, 2008 8:55 AM

Even though I am not married I have many friends who are. And some who are no longer married. Whether it is work or home there are certain ways that shouldn't start a sentence.
Anything that starts with "who". It sounds like you are trying to blame someone.
Any question that starts with "when". You seem to be hurrying someone.
And there is always "why". Again, it sounds like the blame game starting.

Posted by: jackdmom | April 7, 2008 8:59 AM

This sounds morbid (or maybe really mean), but I think it helps to acknowledge when you have some loser family members.

As in, my sister and brother-in-law bring annoying and spiteful to a whole new level. I totally acknowledge that and I respect my husband for doing everything in his power to put up with them (for a specified amount of time).

I also let him rant and rave about them when he needs to without taking it personally (because, really, it's not my job to 'fix' them).

The same 'free pass' is given to me when his family pulls one of their signature annoying moves.

Posted by: Corvette1975 | April 7, 2008 9:10 AM

1. Keep some money separate for those purchases the other won't ever understand.
2. Maintain the distance between work and home.
3. Don't get married.

Posted by: babsy1 | April 7, 2008 9:19 AM

When she starts out the question with, "I want your honest opinion...", it's NOT the time to get in touch with yourself and answer truthfully. It will lead to nothing but trouble!

If you want to be a good lover, practice being a good liar first. It really helps!

Posted by: DandyLion | April 7, 2008 9:19 AM

fred - I concur. My husband says it this way..."let the wookie win"...of course, with a smile on his face

I then laugh too hard.

Posted by: dotted_1 | April 7, 2008 9:22 AM

babysy1 -- great advice, esp. #3.

also agree STRONGLY about the separate money thing. works on many levels. actually independence. virtual independence. and keeping your own credit history just in case.

Posted by: leslie4 | April 7, 2008 9:25 AM

I have absolutely no marital advice given that I have yet to have marital bliss but I am looking forward to hearing all of your wisdom.

Posted by: Billie_R | April 7, 2008 9:31 AM

I think you forgot two of the most important factors to a successful marriage.

1-TRUST! If you can't, don't or won't trust your spouse, no marriage will ever work.

2-FRIENDSHIP. Make sure you are friends before you get married. It is always better to marry your best friend.

Posted by: happydad | April 7, 2008 9:53 AM

lol Corvette! One tidbit my mom always said was "Being the right person is as important as finding the right person". Just a reminder that it is a two way street and no one else can "make" you happy.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | April 7, 2008 9:56 AM

HappyDad -- Good advice but you make it sound too easy!

Agree about marrying your best friend. But I also think it's critical to have good sexual chemistry. It is hard to find both in one person.

And the trust thing is also critical. But equally tricky. Sometimes you don't know for sure if you trust (or don't trust) someone until you've been married for years.

Posted by: leslie4 | April 7, 2008 10:02 AM

Hard to believe no one has commented on Number 4 on the list. Or do married folks all think they subscribe to it? Look around and you'll know that many married folks put their kids front and center. Kids come before *everything* -- certainly the husband-wife relationship. So Number 4 strikes me as pretty revolutionary in this day and age. That's sad, but that's the way it it. I appreciate that it found its way onto this list, but I wonder if anyone reading the list truly abides by it.

Posted by: shamaker | April 7, 2008 10:13 AM

1. our vows included the line "I will cherish you," and that's the one we both choked up on. here's the definition, in case that's unclear:

cher·ish -verb (used with object)
1. to hold or treat as dear; feel love for: to cherish one's native land.
2. to care for tenderly; nurture: to cherish a child.
3. to cling fondly or inveterately to: to cherish a memory.
If you both cherish each other 24-7, marriage is shockingly easy.

2. you have to have FAITH in each other, long before you have trust. you have to genuinely believe that the other person is good, and that you are good, for it to work. if you go into the relationship without the willingness to make this fundamental assumption, you're doomed from the start. TRUST develops over time, and is important too, but a bedrock of faith is the true necessity. Faith is about jumping off a mountain because you're convinced you'll grow wings in the air. It's crazy, but it's wonderful. (if you've heard of people staying with their spouses after they've been convicted of some monstrous crime, faith is what that's all about. and, every now and then, the person gets cleared and the spouse's faith gets vindicated long after the fact...)

Posted by: newslinks1 | April 7, 2008 10:23 AM

5. Bliss is easier to spell than Tchoupitoulas

What's impressive in this statement is that Tchoupitoulas is spelled correctly!
You probably can pronounce Thibodaux, too...:)


Posted by: CheleFernandez | April 7, 2008 10:49 AM

Remember to say "thank you." My husband and I try to always thank the other for doing a dreaded chore ... "Thank you for cleaning the litterbox." "Thank you for going through all the piled up mail and shredding the pile of credit card offers" etc. It helps the other feel appreciated, plus then you know the other person NOTICED that the dreaded chore was completed.

Posted by: Gaylek | April 7, 2008 10:53 AM

Shamaker -- I understand how you see it. But sometimes you can't tell by looking from the outside what a couple's priorities are. I have friends with four kids, and they are constantly doing stuff for their children and they take their kids on every vacation. But what you don't see, because it's not so visible, is that they have a lot of adult, couple time, on weekend nights and at home.

I kind of count my husband and myself in the same category. During the week I don't see him much one-on-one, because I'm busy with the kids activities and homework, and I'm exhausted when he gets home from work. On weekends he coaches a team for each kid and runs around like crazy with them.

But what you don't see is that we talk on the phone and email each other several times a day, and every Saturday night we go out alone. Maybe 1-2 times a year we sneak away alone. This will probably increase as our kids get older and more independent. Right now it's really hard because finding someone to care for three kids 6-11 is tough.

So I'd caution you: don't judge families by the outside appearance. Unless, of course, you are okay with being judged that way yourself!

Posted by: leslie4 | April 7, 2008 10:54 AM

I wanted to thank everyone for their support. I have thought hard about what everyone has said and also about my own feelings and the events that have occurred in the last few months.

I had a revelation on Friday about what was really wrong between us and came to the conclusion that the child support/time spent with ex and kids boiled down to one thing: the feeling that I am unimportant to him. What he says and does (it does not have to do with just the amount of time/money) around the decisions he makes is what makes me feel unimportant.

This is actually an interesting revelation as my husband accused me of making him feel unimportant to me very early on in our relationship. This one incident was enough for him to consider breaking up with me. He even made a point of saying that his ex had never made him feel like that.

So... I have decided that I will demand the same of him as he demands of me... that I am made to feel important to him. I wrote him a letter that told him how I felt. A letter worked once before when we were fighting about the budget. I also gave three examples of how he made me feel unimportant and one example of something that I did for him that highlight the differences in how we treat each other and the differences in how he treats me with respect to other people in his life.

At the end of the letter, I said that I took back whatever permission he thought I gave him to treat me like this. He could continue to treat me as he saw fit... either as important or unimportant but my actions from this point forward would be dictated by my decision to not sit back and accept this treatment.

To help me stay accountable to this decision, I enlisted a trusted friend's help. He has agreed to follow-up with me one month from now to see if anything has changed. If nothing has changed, then he is to keep me accountable to leaving the situation. If we don't interact enough with each other (given our work schedules) then my friend and I agreed that we would go another month to see if there is a change.

So... we will see what happens in the mid-term. In the extreme short term it has cooled our relationship considerably *sigh*

Posted by: Billie_R | April 7, 2008 10:55 AM

leslie, you are right on. I try not to judge other people's marriages. There is a lot that happens between 6pm and 11pm (or via email) that no one sees, that makes or breaks a marriage.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | April 7, 2008 11:02 AM

And to comment on something newlinks1 said:

have to genuinely believe that the other person is good, and that you are good, for it to work. if you go into the relationship without the willingness to make this fundamental assumption, you're doomed from the start.

I think this is critical after experiencing the opposite of this in my second marriage. I believe that we started out believing that each other had our best interests at heart but after time, I could actually see that we no longer believed this. If someone did something... rather than thinking... they didn't mean it that way... we immediately leaped to the worst possible conclusion about what their actions/words meant. We tried (I know I did) to bring ourselves back to the point where we believed that the other person had our best interests at heart and never made it. The faith was broken and our marriage had nowhere to go but downhill.

You really do need to believe that the other person is essentially a good person because if you don't you will look at their every mistake/irritation with suspicion. It is hard enough to be married without adding that into it.

Posted by: Billie_R | April 7, 2008 11:03 AM

"You probably can pronounce Thibodaux, too...:)"

Jumping in front of Fred: Thibodaux is easy to pronounce - I had a friend in college who told everyone he was "Arceneaux from Thibodaux" - the rhyme made it easy to pronounce both.

(Those UNC fans among us - when not cursing Brandon Rush - might still be cursing Harold "The Show" Arceneaux and mighty Weber State. My condolences, but I work with a couple of really happy Jayhawks who are finally ready to shut down "".)

The real trick is pronouncing Natchitoches. (It's pretty close to "nack' i tush").

Posted by: ArmyBrat | April 7, 2008 11:07 AM

Know that there are highs and lows in any relationship, including a marriage. It's not all sunshine and roses.

Try not to take yourself, your spouse, and the relationship too seriously.

Marry a happy person.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 7, 2008 11:12 AM

(if you've heard of people staying with their spouses after they've been convicted of some monstrous crime, faith is what that's all about. and, every now and then, the person gets cleared and the spouse's faith gets vindicated long after the fact...)

Even if the spouse is guilty, that does not have to spell the end. If the person is a good person but has done something monstrous at a low and desperate time of life, and then this person makes great effort to restore him/herself to a righteous life and make amends, the faith the spouse has had is just as justified as if the spouse were to be found innocent.

It takes knowing the whole person, not just the public persona, to understand how this can work. A person who is a louse to the core is a louse. A person who is good but takes a tragic misstep can be worthy of the spouse's faith and support.

Posted by: lsturt | April 7, 2008 2:12 PM

Y'all have some great ideas!

And I am so angry with UNC!!!! What a HORRIBLE game. I just couldn't take my eyes off it, but it was like watching a car wreck.

I definitely need to work on the jumping to conclusions, because I do, sometimes, and yet I do always know that my DH has my back. There's no one I would ever trust more, and he is always there with good things.
So the faith in the other person is definitely a good thing, but it most certainly gets easier over time.

And certainly trust. I don't understand spouses who don't trust each other, it doesn't much make sense to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 2:45 PM

that is me, above, with no sig - how odd - how did that happen?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 2:46 PM

well, i guess i meant to say: it was atlmom who posted the anonymous stuff above.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 2:48 PM

Fred, was your reference to "martial" bliss just a Freudian slip?

Along those lines, when we were first married, an old family friend gave my wife a book called "Married For Life," which the friend described as really capturing the essentials of her own marriage. I was a little aghast to hear this at the time, because I'd only been able to catch a quick glance at the book's cover, and I thought it was titled, "Marred For Life"!

Posted by: tomtildrum | April 7, 2008 2:48 PM

Wow, no idea what's going on with comments today, but...

"I'm just going to add, talk about your dreams, values and plans BEFORE you get married. Seems obvious, but for many it is not."

I agree moxiemom, and I'd add to KEEP talking about your hopes and dreams and plans. For us, having continuing to dream and hope together is a big part of having a shared vision of a shared life.

I'd also add to remember that you are responsible for your own feelings of happiness, self-worth, peace, etc. Those things come from within, and while a marriage should be a place to share and reinforce them, nobody else can make you feel them (or lose them). How you think about, understand and give meaning to the events in your life and your marriage is up to you and you alone.

Posted by: LizaBean | April 7, 2008 2:50 PM


Posted by: test | April 7, 2008 3:11 PM

well, let's see if this posts. WaPo ate post for a few hours and then all posts disappeared.

ArmyBrat: I don't curse anyone at UNC. They didn't show up to play. Simple as that. Now, I do curse my bracket, but that is another story.

Fred: arranged marriage? Seems like, in most cases, the woman arranges the marriage. Though, to be fair, the woman allows the man to think he started the process.

MN: You there today?

Posted by: dotted_1 | April 7, 2008 3:16 PM

looks like we're back on a no-registration-needed-to-post day

we can be anonymous!

Posted by: dotted_1 | April 7, 2008 3:18 PM

"That means finding a compromise between his need to watch the game and your need get the house clean."

Really? Did we get transported back to the 1950's and I missed it? I'm a man and that's offensive. Geez, Leslie. Looks like your idea of balance is akin to that of James Dobson's. know what one of his tips for turning your wife on is? CLEANING. Pulled straight from a book given to us by one of my nut-job relatives and promptly destroyed so no one else would be subjected to that drivel. This "tip" deserves the same adjective: drivel.

Posted by: J | April 7, 2008 3:21 PM

Wow, if word gets out, we might just get back to the rollicking days of trolls and hundreds of comments...

Posted by: LizaBean | April 7, 2008 3:32 PM

MN: You there today?

Posted by: dotted_1 | April 7, 2008 3:16 PM

Reporting for duty, dotted. Have you recovered? I am surrounded by the walking wounded.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 3:34 PM

LizaBean: rock n' roll, though it is likely too late in the day for anything to start up... Too late and rock n' roll in the same sentence means I must be over 40.

Posted by: dotted_1 | April 7, 2008 3:35 PM

"What's impressive in this statement is that Tchoupitoulas is spelled correctly!
You probably can pronounce Thibodaux, too...:)"

And Erath, Thibodeaux, Boudreaux and Calcasieu.

In fact I was down on Tchoupitoulas having lunch last week at Franky's and Johnny's.

Pretty good for a native Yankee eh?

Natchitoches, natch, no problem! The T in Tchoupitoulas is silent.

Posted by: Fred | April 7, 2008 3:37 PM

MN - you have to sign your name in the space provided...ha ha ha

walking wounded is right, though at least it was the last game of the season. Think of what it would have been like if it had been the first game of the season!!

Posted by: dotted_1 | April 7, 2008 3:38 PM

Billie: hooray for you for making a game plan and taking some concrete steps towards resolution. I wish you all the best.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 3:39 PM

Fred, was your reference to "martial" bliss just a Freudian slip?

Hmmmmm, maybe so. Whatever it is, Frieda and I have had 32 years of it!

Posted by: Fred | April 7, 2008 3:43 PM

Come on Fred! I'm stuck in Chapel Hill, where the most complicated name is Frank Porter Graham. We're talking english, scottish names with simple spelling here...don't want those UNC undergrads to make mistakes, you know....he he he

Posted by: dotted_1 | April 7, 2008 3:50 PM

"Pretty good for a native Yankee eh?"

A Yankee is someone from north of Bunkie, because according to Justin Wilson, the Dixon & Mason line runs right through the middle of Bunkie.

North of that they got rocks and hills, and you can't get a decent meal.

South of Bunkie there's no rocks, no hills, and everybody knows how to cook.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 3:52 PM

Actually serious tips for marital bliss. (Not that there is not some truth in the Top Ten List)

1. Time away from each other is good. Sometimes, no explanation should be asked for or given.

2. Whatever happened in the past should stay in the past. If the issue is resolved, leave it alone. You don't need to bring up something that happened 5, 10, 20 25 or 30 years ago. C. Hax has a great definition of forgiveness. It goes something like this. "To forgive is to understand that the past is imperfect and will stay that way."

3. Sometimes you just need to walk away from an argument, even if you think you are "winning". Calm down but come back later and resolve it.

4. What Corvette1975 said about relatives. Twice over!

5. A bit of solitude is an excellent thing.

6. Recognize that marriage, like topography and the ocean has its ups and downs, has its ebbs and tides, has its boredom and excitement. There will be literally good years and bad years.

Posted by: Fred | April 7, 2008 3:56 PM

Oh, I know where Bunkie is. I am from a bit north of there, Chicago.

Posted by: Fred | April 7, 2008 3:58 PM


I'd say both Saturday games were big surprises to the, ahem, nonwinning (the L word seems so mean) teams' respective fan bases.

On topic:

"Whomever feels most passionately about a position wins that argument."

eh, I'm not feeling this one. First, I don't find at all conducive to long-term dispute resolution to characterize any disagreement in approach as "an argument". Second, lots and lots of passion doesn't mean you're right. Otherwise, you're merely creating a reward system for being out-of-control. If, on the other hand, you mean the person to whom X outcome is most important, I can agree, with one caveat.

If you concede, then you conceded. Don't concede to end a conversation in which you're tired of engaging, and then not support the agreed-upon approach. As an example, if you agree to pay the bills as they come in, then it's not okay to proceed with business as usual and say, "oops" when your spouse asks why you aren't following the plan on which you both agreed. Same for agreeing to enforce a bedtime for the kids, then leaving it entirely up to your spouse to handle the enforcement. If you aren't ready to concede, then table the conversation and give yourself more time to think. Don't say what you don't mean or won't live by. That's not respectful of your spouse's time or energy. Learning to concede and "losing" gracefully, to me, shows that you value your marriage and respect your spouse enough to compromise from time to time.

Posted by: MN | April 7, 2008 4:00 PM

"talk about your dreams..."

Um, uh, that dream about the redhead needent be discussed.

Posted by: DandyLion | April 7, 2008 4:03 PM

"Too late and rock n' roll in the same sentence means I must be over 40."

LOL! I've got my three year old son saying, "Let's rock and roll, kids!" when it's time to go. It cracks me up.

MN and Fred, agree very much about forgiveness, the past, and conceding, which seem related in my mind. For me, decisions are joint - if we decide to go with something my husband proposed that I wasn't sure about at first, it's not fair to then blame him if it doesn't pan out because it was his idea. We're partners. We make decisions together, and we deal with them together. If I decide to concede, I'm just as responsible for the outcome as he is. If it takes a long time and lot of discussion to get to that point, that's still better than harboring resentment later because we weren't really both on board.

Posted by: LizaBean | April 7, 2008 4:10 PM

MN - you racked my contribution! Sigh and double sigh! My point was, in many cases, a position is taken simply to take a position, not because of any inherent passion in the premise. Passion doesn't need to mean emotional outburst, but rather, a belief system.

Posted by: dotted_1 | April 7, 2008 4:13 PM

No registration anymore. I can be myself again. Billie, you must be pulling our legs, right? You can't be a real person. Or are you Christie's twin?

Posted by: This is cool | April 7, 2008 4:16 PM

Girls, if you ever find yourself losing an argument, aka discussion, and you are looking for a grenade to lobb to wreck the dialog and obscure the issue at hand, here are a few quick ones that are extremely effective:

1. You only want me for sex!
3. You are dumber than your mother!
4. Why don't you try acting like a man!
5. Before you say another word, PLEASE brush your teeth!

When the drama gets intense, then:
6. Cry!

Posted by: DandyLion | April 7, 2008 4:37 PM

LOL, DandyLion. We once overheard the end of an argument between our neighbors (a very sweet older couple who've been married forever) as they shouted on their way into the backyard:


We still crack up over it. Every now and then one of us will bust out with it in the middle of a discussion.

Posted by: LizaBean | April 7, 2008 4:42 PM

Wow, so interesting.

But really, it's atlmom -
can I really have my 'old' name back?

Posted by: IcanbeanyoneNow | April 7, 2008 4:45 PM

And one last piece of advice before I go home to my endearint, loving wife & family:

When something goes wrong and an argument breaks out, the most important thing to do before discussing any resolution is to establish blame. Without this step, nothing will get accomplished and you'll just end up spinning your wheels.

Posted by: DandyLion | April 7, 2008 4:46 PM

I loved that. I wish I had had the guts to deliver the same speech.

Posted by: leslie4 | April 7, 2008 8:45 AM

Ha, my mom did that to my brother in law, and I'm sure she'd do it to the person I ever marry as well, except I'd have already made it clear.

My advice is to add that
"marriage is only ONE option among many when it comes to forming a lifelong relationship"

"understand you can't change someone BEFORE you actually marry them"

"a wedding is not the same as a marriage"

Posted by: Liz D | April 7, 2008 4:51 PM

Dotted wrote: "...Chapel Hill, where the most complicated name is Frank Porter Graham."

As opposed to Durham, with "Krzyzewski" :-)

Posted by: mehitabel | April 7, 2008 4:57 PM

mehitabel : you got it in one! nothing but net there

Posted by: dotted_1 | April 7, 2008 4:59 PM

"understand you can't change someone BEFORE you actually marry them"

Posted by: Liz D | April 7, 2008 4:51 PM

So you can change them after you marry them, then? ;)

Posted by: atlmom | April 7, 2008 5:02 PM

Atlmom, I suspect that when Liz D wrote "'understand you can't change someone BEFORE you actually marry them,'" what she really meant was, "Understand, before you actually marry them, [that] you can't change them." Unless she was being sarcastic.

Posted by: mehitabel | April 7, 2008 5:05 PM

Heh nope, just sloppy wording on my part. Nice catch ATL! :)

Posted by: Liz D | April 7, 2008 5:10 PM

dotted, I'm with you that "passion" is a silly placeholder for "taking a position". Compromise on the stuff that matters more to your spouse. Then actively support the compromise, as LizaBean said. Own the joint decision. If it fails, you were in it together, right or wrong.

hey - this whole name thing is so very freeing, LOL

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor NC Lawyer Friend of Dotted | April 7, 2008 5:21 PM

Yeah, I like it too. It is very nice to have a choice. I hope we can keep it this way, and that the trolls don't ruin it.

Posted by: emily | April 7, 2008 5:29 PM

psssst....keep it quiet! I too love this liberty

Posted by: dotted_1 | April 7, 2008 6:25 PM

Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 7, 2008 7:20 PM

These were so good and so funny. DandyLion, you must be listening in on my fights. And Anonymous, I've missed you so much over the past year...and your take is right on. Giving up is the better part of valor...and a happy marriage.

Posted by: Leslie | April 7, 2008 8:48 PM

Liz D if you're still out there- I figured that's what you meant :)

Posted by: atlmom | April 7, 2008 9:21 PM

Yes, dotted, you are crazy out there with the freedom :)

Posted by: atlmom | April 7, 2008 9:35 PM

totally disagree with number 4 - nurturing your marriage is more important than kids.

Nurturing your marriage is JUST AS important as kids, but not more.

Posted by: latetotheparty | April 8, 2008 7:22 AM

Financial stability -- nobody had mentioned it -- gives you freedom to practice all these other great things that everybody posted about. Believe me, if you are struggling financially, a lot of these issues get exacerbated. It's not the money per se but the freedom that financial well being gives you. I am posting this BECAUSE I can be anonymous :-)-- having been married for nearly 14 years and in the relationship for nearly 18, my personal opinion is that not having to struggle financially has really helped our marriage through emotional upheavals

Posted by: blank | April 8, 2008 9:08 AM

This is a great collection. I love number 4 -- I see too many married friends devote themselves to parenting, but completely neglecting their spouse!

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Posted by: zxevil193 | April 9, 2008 3:27 PM

Good idea!
P.S. A U realy girl?

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