- Show gratitude. This seems so obvious, but it is easy to forget how important it is. Say thank you several times a day. Men need to be appreciated for their efforts just as much as women do. Maybe even more.
- When you discover what his "buttons" are, don't push them. The longer you are married, the more amio you have to hurt the other person. You learn what things put them over the edge. Once you learn those things, make a goal not to ever use them. Make sure to fight fair. Never say anything out of spite. No name calling. Ever.
- Have sex. Often. As a newlywed, this isn't an issue. However, it gets to be more of one. I highly recommend reading "Mars and Venus in the Bedroom". This book is fantastic in explaining what men really want and what women really want. (i.e. Have your husband read it too.)
- Learn how your spouse wants love expressed, and then express love in that way. The worst thing I think I have ever heard a man say was, "My wife wants me to take her on dates and buy her little gifts, but I figure, I show her enough love by making all the money and keeping her car in working condition." I literally had to hold myself back from socking this guy in the gut. That isn't the way love works. What if the only way I felt comfortable showing love was by writing my husband sweet notes. That's great, but that isn't what he wants. He wants support and physical affection. If I don't give him these things, he isn't going to feel loved. Shane can bring home the bacon, but if he don't wrap me up in his arms when he gets home, no amount of money is going to make me feel loved. Everyone should read the book The Five Love Languages. It helps you discover how your spouse needs love expressed. (i.e. Have your husband read it too.)
- DATE NIGHT. I will quote from my post Motherhood Game Plan, "I have a belief I hold very close to: I married my husband because I wanted to spend eternity with him. I did not marry him to provide seed so that I could reproduce; that was a secondary thought. I got married so that I could be with this man. I see date nights as totally and absolutely critical to a working marriage. If a marriage is all about the small daily workings of raising children and maintaining a household, it isn’t exactly going to be the passionate relationship we envisioned on our wedding day." I cannot emphasis this enough. Even before kids, date nights are so important. You have to get away from work and school and kids and cleaning and just be together. When we don't have a babysitter we have bed picnics. We get takeout, lay a blanket over our bed, light candles all around our room and sit, eat and talk for hours. It is a simple way to reconnect as a couple, even if we can't get out of the house.
Husband's note : I read Shane my top 5 pieces of advice and asked if he wanted to add anything. He said - don't criticize. Amen to that. Criticism poisons a marriage. There are so many better ways to get your point across.
I could go on, but I thought it would be fun to get other opinions on the subject. Let me know what advice you would give to the newlyweds. Write your comment on this post. Even if you aren't married, I'm sure you have some advice. Next week I will award one winner a pair of the bridesmaids earrings that I designed for Molly's wedding. Molly will choose the winner based on her favorite comment. Good luck!