The Great Big List of Awesome Relationship Advice

The Great Big List of Awesome Relationship Advice

Women share their favorite words of wisdom for a long and happy marriage.


By: Leah Maxwell

Romantic relationships are usually between two individuals, but some days it seems like there are a dozen extra people along for the ride, each with his or her own opinion about what you’re doing right, what you’re doing wrong, and what you should be doing if you want to stay together until you’re old and gray and have heard each other’s jokes 80 times each. Some of the advice you hear will make you laugh, and some will make you cringe, but hopefully some will also come from just the right person, at just the right time, in just the right way, and be so spot on it will hit you squarely in the heart and stick there forever.

We asked women to share the best relationship advice they’ve ever received, and reading the responses was like opening a treasure trove of gems. Following are 30 pearls of wisdom to add to your string, whether you’re single, dating, a newlywed, or celebrating your paper, silver, or diamond anniversaries (or anything in between).

1. “Your husband/wife is not a home improvement project.” -- Katrina R., 28, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2. “When you get married, you’re not promising to always feel a specific way, you’re promising to always act a certain way.” -- Jacquie M., 44, Darien, Connecticut

3. “Never stay up late to fight. Go to bed angry if you need to, because disagreeing while tired is a bad idea.” -- Bethany W., 25, Roseburg, Oregon

4. “When you’re wrong, admit it. When you’re right, shut up.” -- Kim D., 48, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

5. “Don't be afraid to ask for what you need.” -- Amanda W., 38, Portland, Oregon

6. “It’s you and your husband against the baby, not you and the baby against your husband. You’re the original team; the baby was drafted in.” -- Miriel R., 27, Rochester, Minnesota

7. “Flirt with your significant other in some way at least once a day.” -- Angie C., 37, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

8. “You’re a team now. Don’t complain about each other to your families.” -- Erin J., 32, Memphis, Tennessee

9. “My dad told me, ‘We don’t care about the money, we just want you to be happy.’ It helped give me the courage to leave my ex-fiance two months before the wedding.” -- Cari T., 38, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

10. “The only good secrets come in a gift box.” -- Daisy C., 31, Chicago, Illinois

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11. “Have separate tubes of toothpaste.” -- Angela C., 39, Seattle, Washington

12. “The loving is easy, the living is hard. Because the living is hard, it’s important to do small, kind things each day.” -- Nora W., 31, St. Louis, Missouri

13. “You were married before you were parents. Tend to the marriage separately from the children.” -- Dawn P., 43, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

14. “Marriage is not 50/50, it’s 90/10. Sometimes you get to be the 90 and sometimes you get to be the 10.” -- Whitney M., 41, Berkeley, California

15. “No TV in the bedroom.” -- Kristen H., 39, Costa Mesa, California

16. “Don’t think the relationship into the ground.” -- Maria M., 34, St. Pete, Florida

17. “I once worked with a couple who obviously loved each other deeply and were with us on their 60th anniversary. I asked the wife privately if she’d ever doubted, or thought they wouldn’t make it, and she said, ‘Oh God, yeah. There were at least three or four times when I thought I couldn’t stand it anymore. But you get through those times.’ So I guess, long story short, that commitment isn’t always easy or fun but that’s normal and surmountable.” -- Amy W., 31, Bloomington, Illinois

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18. “Don’t keep score.” -- Christine D., 41, Greenbelt, Maryland

19. “The nurse at our baby care class said to go out within the first couple of weeks post-baby. We were only gone two hours down the street, but I needed that for my sanity. (I was not sane then.)” -- Jen B., 32, Dallas, Texas

20. “Always assume the best and that the other person is coming from a place of love. It’s too easy to get on the defensive.” -- Kathleen F., 32, Katy, Texas

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21. “The most important part of my relationship is that we allow each other to be individuals and true to ourselves.” -- Emily K., 26, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

22. “Take separate vacations and have different hobbies.” -- Linnea W., 34, Dallas, Texas

23. “I know it’s silly/trite, but ‘Be nice.’ There was this story I read ages ago about a couple who had been married for decades, and when the husband was asked their secret, he said he kept a note on him that he saw every day and it just said, ‘Say something nice to _______ [wife’s name].’ Say something nice every day. Say something nice even when you want to kick them in the shins.” -- Jennie C., 32, Roanoke, Texas

24. “If he’s doing laundry, LET HIM DO LAUNDRY (meaning: don’t criticize the method).” -- Sarah P., 38, Durham, North Carolina

25. “When we were taking a cross-country road trip, my dad had a little chat with me and said, ‘Go easy on each other and be kind. When you’re stuck in a car, everything seems big. Let it go. It isn’t big.’”-- Sarah L., 34, New York City

26. “It’s not always about you.” -- Jessica G., 32, Austin, Texas

27. “‘Would you rather be right or happy?’ has quieted down my internal know-it-all sometimes.” -- Leah V., 37, San Francisco, California

28. “On our wedding day, from my dad: ‘May today be the day you love each other the least.’” -- Jennifer B., 41, Shelburne, Vermont

29. “My mom always told me and my brother, ‘No one can read your mind. If you want or need something, you’ve got to say it out loud.’” -- Bethany G., 39, Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan

30. “There will always be dirty dishes and there will always be dirty socks.” -- Deva C., 28, Newport, Kentucky

Which are your favorites? What relationship advice would you add to the list?



Leah Maxwell is a book editor, freelance writer, cereal addict, wife, and mom to two young boys. She has been blogging at A Girl and a Boy since 2003.

Image ©iStock.com/PeopleImages




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