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Tuesday, July 07, 2015


Steve Cole's standard speech at a wedding rehearsal dinner: I have assembled the best advice I can find and am offering it to you now.
1. The dictionary has a definition of love. (You might think something you have to feel can't be defined, but it can.) The definition is: "The state of mind when the health, happiness, and well-being of another person assumes importance equal to your own." Remember that when you have an argument. You're in this marriage to make the other person happy. Most people use the term "love" incorrectly to mean "I am really pleased to be in your company" (e.g., I love Doctor Who!) but that's not the kind of love that makes a marriage.
2. My mother said that marriage is not a 50-50 deal. Both sides have to give 100% all the time, every day. That's an ideal goal, and you won't make it every day, but try to do it as much of the time as you can. Decide how to divide up the housework (including the errands, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, balancing the checkbook, and home maintenance).
3. Happy wife = happy life. That's true and hubby better live by it, but I would advise wifey that nobody wants to live with grumpy hubby, so it's not all going to go your way.
4. A wedding is like a date, but when it's over, you get to keep the person you went out with.
5. It is said that to avoid the level of conflict that will destroy a marriage, you have to get an agreement on four things: the number of children you want to have, what role religion will have in your lives, politics, and your relations with your in-laws. I would also add where you're going to live, what you expect of the other person's career, and how you're going to handle money. (How hard you expect to work, expect the other person to work, expect to spend and on what, and what you think about big credit card balances.) If you haven't worked that out yet, you better get it done before soon.
6. The number one thing that will destroy a marriage is a fight over money. Have a budget you both agreed to, and stick to it or have a meeting to discuss changing the plan. The budget needs to have a reserve, some savings, and some fun money, but you'll stay out of trouble if you don't spend much of your money without a plan.
7. The second most effective way to destroy a marriage is resentment. If your spouse resents the money or time you spend on something, if your spouse resents the things you do, if your spouse resents the things you make them do that they aren't that interested in, if your spouse resents the opportunities and experiences they lost because of your decisions, you're going to have trouble. No relationship is perfect but keep the things they resent down to a minimum. That includes speaking up when you resent something. Don't let resentment build up an turn toxic. Sure you want to avoid an argument, but if the other person doesn't understand that you're upset about something, they'll keep doing it until there is a major explosion. Those major explosions are rough on a marriage.
8. Avoid going into debt, other than buying a house which is pretty much impossible to do without a mortgage. The best way to avoid debt is to never spend money you don't have to buy junk you don't need so you can impress people you don't even like. Never go into debt for a "want" but only for a real "need."
9. The best way to strengthen a marriage is to build memories together of things you did together. Places you went together, things you created together. Don't let anybody work while the other watches TV. Don't make one person run all of the errands (which are work, not playtime). While there will always be things one person is in charge of, the other one needs to know how to do them. (The wife needs to teach her husband how to do laundry and run the dishwasher. The husband needs to show the wife how to start the lawnmower.) If one is sick or out of town, the other can at least keeps things running. (Anyone could manage to make themselves something to eat, but if you run out of clean clothes, you have a problem that is very expensive to solve.)
10. My best advice to other men: Just do what the woman says. It will hurt less and she was probably right anyway. Women biologically think about the bigger picture and for the longer term.