We were at a wedding this past weekend- and while I lapped up the vows and promises and generally intoxicating and quite tangible fairytale romance that seemed to permeate every square inch of the affair (I mean, what wedding doesn't conjure up the belief that everything is possible when you are in love?) on the car ride back, as one of the dogs proceeded to vomit, the kids were beating the heck out of each other and my husband and I were sitting in relative silence trying to manage the chaos- I thought- what better way to test the bounds of matrionial bliss than a five hour car ride- right?
And during this car ride I also thought it might be fun to put together my 4 non-negotiable rules for your marriage- rules that you MUST abide by-( some of which we inspired by GASP– good old DR. PHIL– I have to admit the old guy has some good advice and the fact that he's been married over 30 years does give him some expertise in this area) if you are truly invested in the longevity of your relationship and didn't get hitched just so you could buy a beautiful gown and have a room full of people tell you how beautiful and amazing you are.
#1 Never demand your husband talk to you especially when you are sitting in a car full of vomiting dogs and screaming kids–( it's like demanding he get hard on command– I can't take credit for this example- I heard it on L.A. Shrinks- but it sure does ring true)- and I don't know about you- but in my relationship that just doesn't work.
#2 Believe in your own power- don't live vicariously through your spouse– find and assert your own power. In other words- make something that is yours that no one else but you can take credit for, and that you can be proud of. (i.e. MAKE YOUR OWN MONEY).
#3 Ask yourself What is your currency? What do you need from your husband that would show you he cares about you. Is it a love note, or his cleaning the house. Remember negotiation should not be adversarial, and the basis os all good relationship is having a solid foundation of friendship and communication. Ask for what you need and what you want.
#4 Ask yourself every day what can I do today to make my marriage better.
#5 When you first see your spouse after time apart use those first ten minutes you are together to be loving and kind. Don't worry the broken water heater, the gardener's bill and the kid you put in time out will all still be waiting for you after those ten minutes are up.