After ‘I Do’: Real Advice That’s Not Awful

What’s the best piece of wedding advice you’ve ever received?

Perhaps second only to the announcement of a pregnancy, people — strangers, family members, well-meaning friends, the cashier at your local grocery store — just love to dole out unwelcome advice and comments about an upcoming marriage. Maybe it’s your miserable uncle, who advises you to “get out while you still can! Hahaha!” (um, thanks?), or a well-intentioned friend chipperly repeating that nauseating line from the 1970 film Love Story: “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Gag. Also, spoiler alert: just because you’re married doesn’t mean you can go around not apologizing to your spouse for whatever thing you did or said that warrants a “sorry”. There’s just something about engagements, weddings, and marriage that makes people want to get personal. Way too personal.

When my partner and I announced we’d gotten engaged, we were met with rounds of congratulations and excitement. Mostly. What was shocking was the amount of veiled negativity and unsolicited advice thrown our way. Relatives whose own marriages hadn’t worked out. Aforementioned bachelor uncles. Friends who held vastly different ideologies than our own. Though we’d been together for seven years already, me and my husband’s year-long engagement was one of our first lessons in marriage. If we were uniting with each other for the rest of our lives, we had to learn how to navigate the flood of other people’s advice thrown our way — both the good (because really, there was some great advice in there) and the really, really bad — and ultimately do what was best for us. And I think that’s where the advice from others truly goes astray, and the same goes for advice gleaned from magazines, books, etc. Even when it’s well-intentioned, what may have worked for one couple won’t necessarily work for another, and perhaps more importantly, what was considered sound advice for our grandparents’ and parents’ generations is often vastly out of step by today’s standards (example: telling me to always have a hot dinner ready for my spouse assumes I’m A: not working and B: the one cooking and cleaning all day. Because, you know… womanhood. It also assumes I can cook.) Also, it should go without saying why it’s important to tune out that wedding/marriage/divorce horror story relayed to you in hushed tones during your engagement party. Those kinds of tales have the ability to poison an otherwise happy occasion. And your engagement, and all parties related to it, should be a very, very happy time.

My advice? Ignore the advice… most of it. Say you’re sorry when you need to. Got to bed angry if you need to. Make each other dinner if that’s what makes you happy… or order a pizza if that’s what makes you happier. You’re in this together, it’s time to forge your own path and choose your own adventure (and what an adventure it will be)!

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+ What’s the BEST piece of wedding/marriage advice you’ve received? …and the worst?

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I eloped so there wasn’t a ton of advice, but the worst thing someone told me was to expect to fight – a lot. Like, wtf man? Who wants to hear that? I can get warning people about petty arguments (like how clean a kitchen needs to be before bed), but this person meant damn near screaming matches. FWIW, that has NEVER happened and I’ve been married 4 years. If one of us is displeased by something, we do this magical thing called communicate. The best advice for relationships in general? Pee after sex, hah. I wish more girls knew… Read more »