A happily married man has shared his no “bullshit” tips to building a long, strong and meaningful marriage, saying that while he’s learnt “the hard way” he hopes others can take the tips onboard. The anonymous man posted his advice on the image-sharing platform Imgur, urging readers to communicate, avoid trying to change your partner and remembering that your marriage is a team, and never just about you.
Having just celebrated his 20th wedding anniversary – a milestone which he described as “absolutely nuts” – the man said he wanted to share what he’d “learned the hard way” in the hope “that it can help others along their path”. The man included the disclaimer that he was no marriage counsellor and was not claiming his marriage was perfect, saying “none of them are”.
“It’s absolutely nuts to think we have been together this long,” the man wrote. “Looking back, we have had a crazy-fun ride and have learned a lot of things along the way. So, with that, I wanted to share with the community what I have learned, in [the] hope that it can help others along their path. No feel-good bullshit or silver bullet solutions, but tips I have learned the hard way on how to build a strong and meaningful marriage.”
The man went on to share several relatively simple sounding lessons, highlighting the importance of communication and learning when your spouse needs space or time with friends. He said no marriage is perfect, despite appearances, encouraging people to ditch any preconceived marriage rules and find out what works for your relationship.
He said his number one tip is that marriage is never about you or what you want, and it’s important that you tackle issues as a team. “It’s a union and it’s about what’s best for the relationship,” he wrote. “Establish relationship goals together, which usually fall in line with personal goals. This becomes even more vital when kids are introduced and it’s not just a marriage anymore, it’s a family.
“It is NEVER you versus your spouse on anything. It is always you and your spouse versus the issue. A key aspect… is never directly attacking your spouse. Always [take] aim at the issue.”
Next, the man highlighted some home truths, which he says are an issue for many couples: sex and trust. The man said that sex will become an issue at some point in the relationship, advising people to “be ready for it together” and remember that while sex cannot define a sustainable marriage, it does play a big role in your relationship. The man said trust is “an absolute must from both parties”, and added that if you don’t trust your partner, it’s your issue and not theirs.
The man continued with two reminders that many couples probably need to hear: “You are not perfect, so don’t expect your spouse to be, or your marriage. We all screw up, and when that happens, our spouse needs to be there to support us. But, as a couple, you also need to push each other to improve on faults.
“You will never change your spouse, ever! Change comes from within, and you harping on your spouse about something you don’t like will only push them away. Instead, work to accept and love them for who they are. Then support them in improving themselves. Better yet, look inwards and ask yourself how you can improve.”
The man’s final tip is about working to understand your spouse’s past and upbringing, and dropping any judgement of how they were raised. He said this will not only help you get along with the in-laws but also strengthen your marital bond. “Our past plays a massive part in how we act today and react to situations,” he wrote. “The more we understand this about our spouse, the better equipped we are to support them.”
Users were quick to comment on the list, with many sharing their own words of wisdom on exactly how to keep the love alive after decades of marriage. Common advice from other users included finding your own interests and hobbies and to “laugh a lot and often”.
To read one Starts at 60 blogger’s personal account of his marriage, head here.