Relationship advice? Here are some amazingly simple suggestions to help out the men about to start out on the adventure we call married life. We men aren’t much good at taking advice generally. The following isn’t something that I’ve written, but from experience this does seem to be darned great advice and I’m wishing that I read it at least a couple of decades ago and started putting it into practise in my daily life. I know that I’d have been a better man if I had.

The original author was reflecting on a failed relationship and reviewing what he could have done better, or differently, based on where he felt things could have gone better. Here’s his thoughts for you:

  1. Relationship advice to become the Best Husband EVERDON’T STOP HOLDING HER HAND

When I first dated the woman I ended up marrying, I always held her hand. In the car. While walking. At meals. At movies. It didn’t matter where. Over time, I stopped. I made up excuses like my hand was too hot or it made me sweat or I wasn’t comfortable with it in public. Truth was, I stopped holding hands because I stopped wanting to put in the effort to be close to my wife. No other reason.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d hold her hand in the car. I’d hold her hand on a star. I’d hold her hand in a box. I’d hold her hand with a fox. And I’d hold her hand everywhere else, too, even when we didn’t particularly like each other for the moment.

BONUS!

When you hold hands in the winter, they don’t get cold. True story.

 

  1. DON’T STOP TRYING TO BE ATTRACTIVE.

Obviously when I was working to woo her, I would do myself up as attractively as I possibly could every time I saw her. I kept perfectly groomed. I always smelled good. I held in my farts until she wasn’t around. For some reason, marriage made me feel like I could stop doing all that. I would get all properly groomed, smelling good, and dressed up any time we went out somewhere or I went out by myself, but I rarely, if ever, cared about making myself attractive just for her.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d try and put my best foot forward throughout our entire marriage. I’d wait to fart until I was in the bathroom whenever possible. I’d make myself desirable so that she would desire me.

BONUS!

When you trim your man hair, guess what. She returns the favour.

 

  1. DON’T ALWAYS POINT OUT HER WEAKNESSES.

For some reason, somewhere along the way, I always ended up feeling like it was my place to tell her where she was weak and where she could do better. I sure as heck didn’t do that while we were dating. No, when I dated her I only built her up, only told her how amazing she was, and easily looked past all of her flaws. After we got married though, she sometimes couldn’t even cook eggs without me telling her how she might be able to improve.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I wouldn’t say a damned thing about anything that I thought could use improvement. I’ve learned since my marriage ended that there is more than one right way to do most things, and that the imperfections of others are too beautiful to try and change.

BONUS!

When you tell her what she’s doing right, she’ll tell you what you’re doing right. And she’ll also tell her friends. And her family. And the dentist. And even strangers on the street.

 

  1. DON’T STOP COOKING FOR HER.

I knew how to woo a girl, for sure. And the ticket was usually a night in, cooking a nice meal and having a romantic evening. So why is it then, that I didn’t do that for her after we got married? Sure, I’d throw some canned soup in the microwave or fry up some chimichangas once in a while, but I rarely if ever went out of my way to sweep her off her feet after we were married by steaming crab legs, or making fancy pasta, or setting up a candlelit table.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d make it a priority to cook for her, and only her, something awesome at least every month. And I’d remember that meat in a can is never awesome.

BONUS!

Candlelit dinners often lead to candlelit bow-chicka-bow-wow.

 

  1. DON’T YELL AT YOUR SPOUSE.

I’m not talking about the angry kind of yelling. I’m talking about the lazy kind of yelling. The kind of yelling you do when you don’t want to get up from your television show or you don’t want to go ALL THE WAY UPSTAIRS to ask her if she’s seen your keys. It really doesn’t take that much effort to go find her, and yelling (by nature) sounds demanding and authoritative.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d try to go find her anytime I needed something or wanted to know something, and I’d have both gratitude and manners when I did. I always hated when she would yell to me, so why did I always feel it was okay to yell to her?

BONUS!

Sometimes you catch her doing something cute that you would have missed otherwise.

 

  1. DON’T CALL NAMES.

I always felt I was the king of not calling names, but I wasn’t. I may not have called her stupid, or idiot, or any of the other names she’d sometimes call me, but I would tell her she was stubborn, or that she was impossible, or that she was so hard to deal with. Names are names, and calling them will drive bigger wedges in communication than just about anything else.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

Any time it got to the point that I wanted to call names, I’d call a time-out and come back to it later. Or better yet, I’d call her names, but they’d be names like “super sexy” or “hotness.” Even in the heat of the moment.

BONUS!

She’ll call you names in better places. Like the bedroom.

 

  1. Relationship advice to help you become Super Husband!DON’T BE STINGY WITH YOUR MONEY.

As the main bread earner, I was always so stingy with the money. I’d whine about the cost of her shampoo or that she didn’t order water at restaurants, or that she’d spend so much money on things like pedicures or hair dye jobs. But seriously. I always had just as many if not more things that I spent my money on, and in the end, the money was spent, we were just fine, and the only thing my bitching and moaning did was bring undo stress to our relationship.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d tell her I trusted her to buy whatever she wanted, whenever she felt like she needed it. And then, I’d actually trust her to do it.

BONUS!

Sometimes she will make bad purchase decisions, which leads to makeup purchase decisions. Like that new gadget you’ve had your eyes on.

 

  1. DON’T ARGUE IN FRONT OF THE KIDS.

There was never any argument that was so important or pressing that we couldn’t wait to have it until the kids weren’t there. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist or super-shrink to know why fighting in front of the kids is a dangerous and selfish way of doing things.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I would never, ever, not even once fight in front of the kids, no matter how big or how small the issue was. I’d maybe make a code word that meant, “not with the kids here.”

BONUS!

When you wait to fight, usually you both realise how stupid or unimportant the fight was and the fight never happens.

 

  1. DON’T ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER TO SKIP WORKING OUT.

I always thought it was love to tell my spouse, “I don’t care if you don’t take care of yourself. I don’t care if you don’t exercise. I don’t care if you let yourself go.” But that was lying, and it was lying when she said it to me because the truth is, we did care and I wish that we would have always told each other how sexy and attractive the other was any time we’d go workout or do something to become healthier.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d ask her to tell me that she cared. I’d ask her to encourage me to go to the gym. I’d ask her to remind me of my goals and tell me I’m strong enough to keep them.

BONUS!

Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And happy people don’t kill other people. (Name that movie!)

 

  1. DON’T POOP WITH THE BATHROOM DOOR OPEN.

I don’t know why, but at some point I started thinking it was okay to poop with the bathroom door open, and so did she. First of all, it’s gross. Second of all, it stinks everything up. Third of all, there is literally no way to make pooping attractive, which means that every time she saw me do it, she, at least in some little way, would have thought I was less attractive.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d shut the damn door and poop in private.

BONUS!

When she does think of your naked body, she’s not going to be thinking about it in a grunting/squatting position.

 

  1. DON’T STOP KISSING HER.

It always got to a point when I’d more or less stop kissing her. Usually it was because things were stressful and there was tension in our relationship, and so I’d make it worse by refusing to kiss her. This of course would lead to her feeling rejected. Which would of course lead to arguments about it. Other times I had my own issues with germs and whatnot.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d kiss her in the morning when she looked like people do in the morning. I’d kiss her at night when she’s had a long day. I’d kiss her any time I felt like she secretly wanted a kiss. And, I’d kiss her even when my germ issues kicked in.

BONUS!

She feels loved when you kiss her. That’s bonus enough.

 

  1. DON’T STOP HAVING FUN TOGETHER.

Age shouldn’t matter. Physical ability shouldn’t matter. Couples should never stop having fun with each other, and I really wish I wouldn’t have gotten into so many ruts in which we didn’t really go out and do anything. And, I’ve been around the block enough times to know that when the fun is missing, and the social part of life is missing, so also goes missing the ability to be fully content with each other.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d make a rule with her that we’d never stay home two weekends in a row.

BONUS!

Awesome stories and awesome memories come from doing awesome things. And so do cherished embarrassing moments.

 

  1. DON’T PRESSURE EACH OTHER.

Pressuring each other about anything is always a recipe for resentment. I always felt so pressured to make more money. I always felt so pressured to not slip in my religion. I always felt so pressured to feel certain ways about things when I felt the opposite. And I usually carried a lot of resentment. Looking back, I can think of just as many times that I pressured her, so I know it was a two-way street.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d make it a point to celebrate the different views, opinions, and ways that she had of doing things. I’d find the beauty in differentiation, not the threat.

BONUS!

Authentic happiness becomes a real possibility. And so do authentic foot rubs.

 

  1. DON’T LABEL EACH OTHER WITH NEGATIVE LABELS.

Sometimes the easiest phrases to say in my marriage started with one of three things. Either, “you should have,” “you aren’t,” or “you didn’t.” Inevitably after each of those seemed to come something negative. And since when have negative labels ever helped anyone? They certainly never helped her. Or me. Instead, they seemed to make the action that sparked the label worsen in big ways.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I would learn to stop myself before saying any of those phrases, and then I’d switch them out for positive labels. Instead of “you should,” I’d say “you are great at.” Instead of saying “you aren’t,” I’d say “you are.” Instead of saying “you didn’t,” I’d say, “you did.” And then I’d follow it up with something positive.

BONUS!

The noblest struggles become far more conquerable. And you don’t think or believe that you’re a schmuck, which is always nice.

 

  1. 81xzKHXro3L._SX355_DON’T SKIP OUT ON THINGS THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO HER.

Here’s some simple relationship advice. It was so easy in marriage to veto so many of the things she enjoyed doing. My reasoning, “we can find things we both enjoy.” That’s lame. There will always be things she enjoys that I will never enjoy, and that’s no reason not to support her in them. Sometimes the only thing she needs is to know that I’m there.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d attend many more of the events that she invited me to. I would actively participate and not tell all the reasons why I’d do it differently or how it could be better or more fun or time better spent.

BONUS!

Go to something she knows you don’t enjoy and the gratitude gets piled on later that night, like whipped cream on a cheesecake.

 

  1. DON’T EMOTIONALLY DISTANCE YOURSELF AFTER A FIGHT.

I never got to experience the power of make-up sex because any time my wife was mean or we got in a fight, I’d completely distance myself from her, usually for several days. Communication would shut down and I’d avoid contact at all cost. This never let things get worked out, and eventually after it had happened enough times I’d explode unnecessarily.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d let myself communicate my emotions and feelings more often, and I’d make sure that she knew I still loved her any time we had an ugly bout. Sure, we’d give each other some distance. But not days of distance.

BONUS!

Fantastic make-up sex. Or at least that’s the theory.

 

  1. DON’T STOP BRINGING HER FLOWERS.

When I was wooing her, I made it a point to show up with flowers. And not just for special occasions. I’d have them delivered. I’d drop some at her door and run. I’d have them if I was just showing up for a movie on her couch. I brought her flowers from day one to day married. And then after we said I do, I stopped. Flowers became an unnecessary expense and were only worth splurging on for really special occasions like anniversaries or Valentine’s day. And sadly not always on those days, either.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I might get her flowers on those special occasions, but I’d make it a point to get her flowers often enough that she never wondered what I’d done wrong when I did. I’d understand that the most meaningful flowers were the ones given with no reason but to give them.

BONUS!

It’s hard to hold grudges for the other stupid things you do when there are fresh flowers reminding her that you’re a good guy most of the time.

 

  1. DON’T WORK SO MUCH THAT YOU DON’T WANT SEX.

This may be a little too much information, but when I was married, I would sometimes be so in need of sex, yet I would work so hard and so late into the night that even when sex was an option, I would turn it down in favour of crashing and decompressing. This of course would make her feel rejected because she knew that I wanted it, but couldn’t figure out why I didn’t want it from her.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d set a bed time for myself and wake up earlier to get my work done if needed. I’d remind myself that no amount of money is ever enough when you’re a workaholic. And I’d not give up the boonda boonda with my wife to make a few extra unneeded bucks.

BONUS!

You don’t have to go to the gym as often because the gym comes to your bedroom.

 

  1. DON’T PUT HER DOWN TO OTHERS.

It always seemed that the more blah our marriage got, the more I would (usually jokingly) put her down to others. What’s worse is that I’d do it while she was standing there as much as I would when she wasn’t. I made sure that she knew that her faults and her weaknesses were never going to be secret and then if she’d get mad about it, I’d throw it back on her and tell her she needed to develop a sense of humour.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d realise that there’s nothing motivating about being put down. Building people up can still be done in awesomely joking ways.

BONUS!

She probably wants a good guy as part of her foundation. Building her up makes sure that her foundation is with you and not Billy Bob over there.

 

  1. DON’T BE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE WITH HER.

Always claiming I was the saint, I would refuse to talk about what was bothering me, I’d refuse to discuss when things hurt me, and I’d refuse to admit that anything was wrong. Instead, I’d be passive aggressive about things. I’d pretend to take the high road. “It’s not worth the contention to me, just have it your way,” I’d blurt out. Let’s not kid ourselves. I said that to make her feel like a bully and to push her into giving me my way. It rarely worked. All it ever did was make her feel worse about herself and about me, and neither one of us would get what we needed.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d tell her how things were actually affecting me, and I’d learn to genuinely want her to have her way sometimes, or I’d learn to agree to disagree, or I’d learn to take a break from the conversation. I’d also ask her to point out when I was being passive aggressive so that I could rephrase things in a productive way.

BONUS!

When you tell her what you actually want or need, sometimes you get it. Fancy that.

 

  1. DON’T FIND REASONS TO DITCH HER.

It seemed that when I got home from work, there was always an important business issue that needed dealing with. There was always an email that needed to be answered. There was always something I needed to check on my phone. There was always Facebook that needed updating. There was always something that couldn’t wait, and I’d happily ditch her to go do it.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d completely power off my cell phone for an hour or two every night and instead spend that time with her. Eating, talking, having fun, playing games, or just catching up on all the little things. The computer would be off limits, and so would the TV.

BONUS!

A quality hour with her is far more fun than a six-hour long fight about not spending enough quality time with her.

 

  1. DON’T TOUCH HER ONLY WHEN YOU WANT SEX.

Ever the Romeo, I would usually distance myself from her physically and emotionally for days or weeks, and then I’d roll over in bed one night, and start putting the moves on her. This of course would leave her hurt and upset that I was only touching her for sex, which would make me react passive aggressively, and become more emotionally and physically distant.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d touch her gently and without sexual motives when she was lying in bed. I’d rub her legs when she was reading a book. I’d softly make circles on the small of her back while we washed dishes. I’d massage her knees in the car. I’d push the hair out of her eyes. I’d kiss her on the forehead. And the cheek. And the nose when I wanted to really grab her by surprise. And I’d do it all without the need to get it on.

BONUS!

Wait for it… wait for it… more sex. Well, sex and you touching her doesn’t give her the heebie jeebies.

 

  1. DON’T STOP TAKING HER ON NICE DATES.

When I was dating her, I’d have no problem paying a little more for nice dates. Twenty extra bucks for the ambiance of a nicer restaurant was no biggie when I wanted to charm her and make her feel worth it. I’d pay for nicer seats at the show. I’d get better seats at the basketball game. So why is it that after marriage, she was no longer worth it? Why was spending the money a waste instead of a valuable way to keep her feeling special? Why did I stop going to shows and basketball games and everything else?

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d think she was special enough to spend a little extra cash on once in a while. I’d look at every extra dollar spent as an investment into our relationship. I’d keep apprised of her favourite bands and her favourite performing art shows and I’d surprise her with tickets before she even knew they were coming.

BONUS!

Nice dates lead to nice pictures on her phone which lead to everyone on her Instagram and Facebook thinking you’re the damned coolest hubby on the planet.

 

  1. husbandDON’T GIVE HER GUILT FOR NEEDING TO GET AWAY FROM YOU.

There were times when I just needed to get the hell away from her for a while. And not because something was wrong. Simply because too much of anybody is just too much. But for some reason, I always felt like something was secretly wrong when she wanted to duck out for a while with no explanation. I’d insist she “talk” or that she tell me what was up. I’d never just let her go and get her much needed moments without me.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d make sure she knew that it was always okay with me if she just needed to get out and away for a little while. I would never pressure her to have a good reason. I’d encourage her to spend some time on her own, out with the girls, or doing what she wanted to do.

BONUS!

Time away from you means you can sneak that triple bacon burger she rightfully never wants you to eat.

 

  1. DON’T DROWN HER WITH YOUR SARCASM.

Sarcasm comes from the Latin sarcasmos or “tearing of the flesh.” I don’t know that having my flesh torn sounds particularly fun. Yet, fun is exactly what I thought it was every time I’d lay on the sarcasm. Fun. No matter what she did, it seemed I would lay on a dose of sarcasm. Happy sarcasm. Funny sarcasm. Snide sarcasm. A lot of times straight up mean sarcasm. And, just like when I put her down, I’d make her feel stupid for not laughing about it.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d understand that some funny sarcasm, in the proper moments and with the right spirit can really enhance a relationship, so long as it goes both ways. I’d also understand that when she’s trying to tell me something important is not the time. Or when she’s trying to apologize. Or when she’s sad that her mom’s in the hospital. Or when she’s throwing up. Or when she miscarries. Or when she’s already about to strangle me because she just dipped her butt in the toilet water.

BONUS!

When you skip the negative sarcasm, you develop a real sense of humour instead of that sorry excuse for a funny bone you call wit. Pleeeease tell me you noted my ironic use of sarcasm being used here.

 

  1. DON’T MAKE HER DO THE GROSS AND SCARY THINGS.

When we were dating, I was a knight in shining armour. Was there a spider that needed killing? I was the Gladiator. Was there a drain that needed a good hair-unclogging? Who else would she call but me? Was one of the kids losing her lunch in the entryway? Sit back my fair lady. I’ll clean up the puke. Then, the second we were married I told her to kill her own spiders. It was her hair clogging the drain, so why should I have to touch it? And it just seemed like a mom’s duty to “help” a sick kid.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d cinch up my damned knickers and do the gross and scary things that I was born to do. I’d remember that I fell in love with sugar and spice and everything nice, not slugs and snails and puppy dog tails.

BONUS!

How do I put this? When she gets scared, she more often than not needs physical reassurance of the safety that she’ll only feel in the arms of her big, brawny, tough, macho man.

EXTRA BONUS!

After doing the gross and scary things, you get to stand up and scream, “are you not entertained?! ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” (name that movie.)

 

  1. b8c7aeee328271505d16a85bfd92e755DON’T THINK YOU’RE SMARTER THAN SHE IS.

I have always struggled with an over-bloated “confidence” in my own intelligence, and unfortunately that carried over into my marriage far too often. Guess who always had the right answer about everything? Guess who always had to correct her when she was wrong? Guess who always had to whip out his phone to prove something she said was incorrect? Guess who would crap on her awesome ideas? Guess who was constantly DRIVING HER CRAZY with it?

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d remember three things. One, know-it-alls drive everyone crazy. Two, know-it-alls usually end up alone. Three, know-it-alls are wrong, a lot. And they’re never as smart as they think they are. So, instead of thinking I knew everything and that I knew better ways of doing everything, I’d sit back and enjoy letting her make a lot of the decisions. I’d let her save face when she was wrong. And, I’d applaud the fact that there are a lot of areas of life that she knows a lot more about than I do.

BONUS!

Not knowing everything makes you look a lot less stupid.

 

  1. MOVE AWAY FROM HER FAMILY. AND YOURS.

When we were first married, we would see my family all the time and her family almost as often. We spent almost every Sunday at my family’s house, and a lot of weeknights and weekends at hers. We spent nearly every holiday with our families. And every special occasion, too. And while family is usually great, it really kept us from developing our own working family dynamic, our own traditions, and our own strengthened way of living and doing things. It drug us into unnecessary drama. And most of all, it kept us from learning to lean on each other during our rough patches instead of on our parents or siblings.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I would move far away from both families for a year or two. I wouldn’t come back until we’d been through at least a few big marital challenges on our own without the involvement of any family at all. That way, when we did come back, we’d be strong on our own and our families would be great supplements to our marriage instead of major players.

BONUS!

When you make your own traditions, you can finally add things in that your parents weren’t cool with. “And after we open our Christmas pyjamas… everyone has to eat a pound of chocolate. And then they have to stand on their heads while screaming. And then they have to jump on their beds.” Stuff like that.

 

  1. DON’T BE A TALK-HOG.

I often had a way of making everything about me. I’d come home from work and want to talk about me. I’d go to bed with her and want to talk about me. I’d want to talk about my successes, my ideas, my struggles, and my worries. Usually I’d realize I was being a talk-hog and I’d ask her about what was going on with her, but only listen with half an ear, hardly reply, and be anxious to move the conversation back to me as soon as possible.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d shut the heck up. And, because of my little problem, I’d try not to talk about me at all until I knew about her day, her successes, her ideas, her struggles, and her worries.

BONUS!

When you listen, you hear nifty things that remind you how awesome and messed up and funny and perfect for you she really is.

 

  1. DON’T DEMAND THAT SHE TELL YOU WHAT SHE’S THINKING.

I always knew when something was wrong. I always knew when something was bugging her. I always knew when she disapproved of something I said or did. And, I always knew when she was keeping her mouth shut about it. Being the great communicator that I was, I would badger her, and pester her, and harass her until she finally told me what she was thinking. And sure enough, it was usually what I thought it was, and the next world war would break out.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d shrug my shoulders and send serious thank you vibes to her for keeping her opinion or her disapproval to herself, even though I’d know they weren’t positive. I’d recognise the noble reasons she was doing it, and I’d respect those reasons. I’d learn not to take it all personally and I’d learn not to desperately need approval for everything I did or said.

BONUS!

When war is averted, nobody ends up clobbered and wounded and hungry for blood. Which is always nice.

 

  1. DON’T BUY INTO YOUR GRANDPARENTS’ GENDER ROLES.

I had no trouble letting my wife go join all the other wives on Sundays and fix dinner for all of us men. I also had no trouble letting them all do clean-up without our help. I enjoyed playing pool, or ping pong, or chattin’ it up with the fellas while the women toiled. It’s just what happens more often than not in my family, and I often brought it home with me during the week. After all. I had a job, so she did everything else. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? Well, apparently not because it always led to all sorts of justified resentment.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER:

I’d realize that working a desk job is usually a heck of a lot easier than working at home all day. I’d jump into the chores that she had left when I got home so that we could both enjoy some quality free time later on. I’d insist on doing the dishes more often. I’d demand that she relax sometimes while I got the kids ready for bed. And, I’d never let myself think that her work was easier or less important than mine.

BONUS!

Appreciated wives show their appreciation for it in much more private settings, like the bedroom. And by appreciation, I mean they’ll surprise you with that incredible nerdy electric tie rack that spins. Oh, and probably sex, too. I hadn’t even thought of that.

Relationship advice for a great marriage