When you enter into marriage people are full of well-meant advice. Here are the top five pieces of advice that you should ignore.
1. Don't go to sleep angry. No, you know what, do it. Sometimes it's OK to simmer in your anger a little bit. Going to sleep angry gives you a breather, it allows you to find fresh perspective and remind you that whatever you are fighting about isn't more important that that person you married or their feelings.
2. Use phrases like "I feel" rather than "This is how it is." I married an engineer. When I try to use that kind of feeling language that says, "When you forget to put away your socks it makes me feel unloved" it does not make sense to him. Once, when I told him that him forgetting to wipe the counters made me feel like he didn't respect me, he laughed, "They are counters. Don't feel that way." Now, I simply ask him to help me out and give him a list of tasks he can choose from. Sure, sometimes "feeling" language comes in handy in a fight, when rather than accusing him of being insensitive I can say it "feels" like he is insensitive (Note: He isn't). But for everyday small things, sometimes it works best just to ask for help and forget the psycho-babble lecture.
3. People don't change. When we got married, I didn't expect anything about my husband to change. I was told to accept him how he is and I did and I'm glad I did, but the idea that people don't change is preposterous and if you go into marriage with that mindset you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Since we've been married, both my husband and I have changed a great deal in small ways and big ways. He does the laundry now and is better at voicing his feelings. I no longer complain about how the towels are folded and I'm better at not voicing every single feeling I have. I'm so glad we both have changed. I can't wait to see what the next five years of marriage brings.
4. Just apologize, even if you aren't sorry. My husband tried to do this once, and I immediately asked him why he was lying to me. Even in the middle of a fight, no one wants to be patronized or appeased. As much as it sucks that my husband isn't sorry for leaving his socks on the floor, I'd rather know the truth than have him lie. Also, why does he need to be sorry for putting his socks on the floor? I'm not sorry for leaving all the lights on in the house and I probably won't ever be. I think, in the grand scheme of things, we can both manage without false apologies.
5. Let him know how you feel: Actually, sometimes it's better to suck it up. I used to let my husband know how I felt about every single little thing he did and that caused a lot of problems. Feelings are fleeting. Some days I am irritated when he insists we watch NOVA on PBS for three hours straight and other days I'm charmed. The problem isn't him, it's my fleeting feelings. Getting control of my emotions and learning what's worth discussing and bringing up and what's worth considering before sharing is an ongoing effort for me. But letting my husband know how I feel about everything, is definitely not the way to go.
What's some of the worst marriage advice you've ever received?