Some years ago, on a very busy shopping day just before Christmas, I chanced to pull my buggy (I know, it’s a cart to some of ya’ll) behind a couple out doing the same thing I was doing…getting last minute Christmas gifts.
The store was packed and I had to travel behind them for quite some time in order to get to where I needed to go. During my time behind them, the wife nagged her husband about all manner of things. She complained that they wouldn’t be in this mess if he’d just gotten the right things she sent him after in the first place. Then there was the washing machine he wasn’t manly enough to fix. The oil changes that they could save money on if only she’d married a more handy guy. For a while, I tried not to eavesdrop on their conversation, but she became so loud that I’m sure folks three aisles over could hear.
Finally, she picked up an item off the shelf and placed it in her buggy. Her husband quietly said, “He already has one like that.” The berating this poor man took for this slight correction was nothing short of a verbal whipping. At the end and out of breath, the woman turned to me and said, “See, see how he treats me?”
That process that happens in your brain that tells you all the things you should say or that you don’t need to say, but really want to. Yeah, all that happened at that moment. Ultimately, I felt sorry for her husband, but it wasn’t my battle to fight. I excused myself and left them behind, but from time to time, I think about that moment.
It’s a pet peeve of mine to hear wives complain about their husbands, especially to complete strangers. By no means am I saying that husbands (and wives) don’t give us reasons to want to nag from time to time. What I am saying is that dragging other people into those arguments is ugly business. Something that puts neither partner in a good light.
Before The Dane and I got engaged, we sat down to discuss foundational principles. Things that we believed to be truths at the core that would cause harm or damage to our relationship if these principles were broken.
Recently, two of our kiddos have started very serious relationships that appear to be headed down the aisle. Our girls have both found very good guys that we feel love them very much.
These budding romances reminded me of that faithful night that The Dane and I sat down together and came up with our rules for marriage. Since I’m thinking about them so much, I thought I might share them with all of you. Also, I might add, The Dane brought many to the table, but was only adamant about one. I think you’ll be able to figure out which one it is.
Our “Rules for Marriage”
- Put your marriage first!
- Never run your partner down to other people (in fact, never run your partner down).
- Don’t overshare the intimate parts of your relationship with friends or family.
- Support your partners hopes and dreams. (And whatever you do, don’t try to make them give it up, they will resent you for that).
- If you are in the wrong, say so and don’t add the word but!
- Do not fight in public!
- Don’t drag other people into your arguments.
- Allow your partner to have friends of the opposite sex, but listen to your partner if they are uncomfortable with a given situation. Sometimes they truly can see things that you can’t.
- Never go off alone with friends of the opposite sex. (This may work differently in same-sex marriages, but it bares discussion).
- Give lots of kisses and compliments to your partner.
- Make a plan NOT to fight about the small things. (Seriously, you are sitting down anyway, just turn the damn roll around).
- Do not let your kids come between you. (Keep a united front even if that means you didn’t get it the way you want it).
- Discuss a budget and stick to it as closely as possible. If there is some left over after bills, it should be decided equally where that money goes so that one partner isn’t always the giver and the other always the receiver.
- Don’t fight over forgetting anniversary dates – just give little presents all year-long so that one day isn’t the only special day you have. Hey, lots of people forget (in my relationship, I’m the one that has a hard time remembering dates).
- Appreciate your partner’s differences.
- Find common hobbies.
- Continue to date after you are married.
- Respect each others families. You might not like your mother-in-law, but your husband loves her!
- Care about the people your partner cares about, or recognize that your partner cares for them even if you don’t.
- Get on the same page about the kids, even if they are step-children. Everybody is happier with boundaries.
- Have sex whenever he wants it.
There you have it, our list of core principles that we follow in our marriage. I’m curious if any of you have “rules” for marriage that you follow.
Hope you’re off to a great start this week!