Teri Vance: Much needed marriage advice

By the time you read this column, it will be my wedding day. It’s an exciting and terrifying prospect. And I’m worried I’m not cut out for it.

In trying to figure out what we would do with my dog’s bed once he moved in (Roxy has slept on a double mattress next to my bed for years, but left no room for anybody else in the room), I came up with a solution.

I proposed we draw an invisible line down the center of the room. One half would be his, and the other mine.

“Roxy is my problem, I’ll handle it,” I concluded.

He didn’t like that idea.

Divorce is dividing things in half, he argued, marriage is bringing them together.

“Roxy is our problem,” he said. “We’ll figure it out together.”

I had to admit he made sense. Which led me to wonder what else I may be getting wrong. So I did the only thing I know to do: I asked you.

And here’s what you said:

“After 38 years, this is what I have found,” wrote Reba Coombs. “Never go to bed mad. Make up or apologize, whatever it takes so you wake up fresh for the new day.”

She continued with advice:

“Have joint outside interests that will keep you together after the kids are gone or you retire. Don’t fight about money. Have a plan to deal with income and bills that you both agree on.

“Be kind and honest with and to each other.

“Always give 75 percent, even if you feel your spouse isn’t.

“Be sure to set aside some ‘me’ time — it is not selfish but everyone needs time to reflect and regenerate.”

Lisa Tolda wrote, “Always be kind. Put each other first. It is the most important relationship, only behind the one with God.

“Laugh often. Be playful. Always communicate, especially about the tough stuff. Let go of the little things … they really don’t matter. No one can change another person. We can only change how we react to that person. Dance in your kitchen. Leave each other love notes.

“And most importantly, don’t have children! Lol. That’s just a little joke. I love my girls.

“I will leave you by repeating what I’ve already said, put each other first.”

Maud Naroll’s advice rang similar to what my business partner Cathleen Allison always says. “Don’t try to change your spouse,” Naroll wrote. “You are an adult, and I suspect you are marrying another adult. You are both formed. Trying to change the other person will create much annoyance, or worse, and little change.”

She went onto say, “Don’t bring up old issues. If the spouse surprised you with dinner guests on an evening when you had a deadline to meet, but hasn’t done it since, don’t bring up that old annoyance when the fight is really about something current.”

While I suppose much I’ll have to learn along the way, I appreciate all of the input from friends, family and readers.

I think the most consistent, most important advice I have received is also the simplest. Just to be kind. And we could all benefit from following that, in all relationships.

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at terivance@rocketmail.com.


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