There is no way to divorce-proof your marriage. Life is difficult. Marriage is difficult. You can’t predict what turns your life will take in the future, personally or as a couple. As you are approaching married life, spend more time planning for that humungous life change than for the single day that is your wedding.
One such step of preparation is to listen to the advice of those who have already experienced marriage. Soak in as much as you can. Real-life accounts are much more valuable than any book or manual or blog post.
You should collect your fair share of guidance from the couples who have been married for many years — from those who encountered difficulties and overcame them. But you should also accept advice from those who have tried marriage and called it quits — from those who made mistakes and were never the same again. These individuals know the struggles, the temptations, and the complications of marriage.
Individuals who have divorced, or separated from their spouses in some way, may be the best people to give instruction to soon-to-be married couples. They have probably thought long and hard about what they could have done differently to make their marriage last. They carry with them a mind full of thoughts, warnings, and recommendations that they are just dying to share with others — to prevent others from making their same mistakes.
We’ve compiled some valuable marriage advice from some such individuals below — from the ones who wished they’d done it a little differently.
1. “My advice for someone getting married would not be to learn how to get along, but to learn how to fight fairly and productively.” – Steve
2. “Learn from me. Bill was always saying I never complimented him. He’s right. Not only wouldn’t it have cost me anything to say, ‘You look so handsome today’; ‘You have such good taste in clothes,’ those types of comments might have saved my marriage.'” – Emily
3. “In my first marriage, I assumed that because we had “forever” that I could give my marriage the attention it needed to thrive later. So now I give my husband and our relationship daily consideration.” – Kathleen
4. “No, I don’t think you have to agree on silly things like who likes white meat and who likes dark meat, or who wants the thermostat set to 75 and who wants it set to 65. Temperament is important; temperature is not.” – Mary
5. “Don’t be threatened when your partner changes. You will change too. It’s about accepting each other and welcoming growth, not trying to keep your other half in a box.” —Sheila
6. “You have to keep it romantic. And ‘romantic’ doesn’t have to mean candles and flowers and getting all dressed up. You can bring home a pizza and make that romantic.” – Eddie
7. “My divorced mom gave me sage advice, ‘Never forget you are part of a team. Keep growing together instead of in opposite directions and you’ve got it made.'” – Beth
8. “Fighting is like the court or the ring or the arena. There are boundaries but it’s still full-contact. And once you enter that arena, that’s the time to let it all out.” – Ben
9. “Stop picking at the scab. Once he apologizes and you forgive him, truly let it go.” – Sandy
10. “Of course, we need to listen and try to understand the other person, but at least as importantly, we need to be very clear ourselves, about our hopes, our expectations, our intentions, and what we really mean. Assumptions may actually be the root of marital evil.” – Kenny
11. “There is something absolutely divine — I mean, literally, the breath of God — in the ability to put someone else in your heart, to think of them first.” – Jim
12. “Remember the expression: Walk a mile in the other person’s moccasins? Empathy is key. I think the major reason Dan and I got divorced is because we never truly tried to understand for the other person’s point of view.” – Sondra
13. “Intimacy makes or breaks a marriage. You live with other people, you see movies with other people, you shop with other people, you share meals with other people. Intimacy is the only thing that sets your partnership apart from friendships and other relationships you have. Make space for it in spades.” – Kate
14. “I put way too much pressure on my ex to satisfy all my needs and make me happy. That’s why he left. It was a hard lesson to learn that no one else can be responsible for your well-being.” – Tammy
15. “I have learned to pause and check in with my partner when I sense a silence on his end. Sometimes I find that I’m making decisions and forging ahead in life without consulting him and he feels left out or that his opinions aren’t important to me.” – Jessica
16. “Put your trust in another human and there’s a chance you’ll end up with heartbreak and disappointment. Do it anyway.” – David
Divorced people really know how to give relationship advice! Take their wise words into account as you enter married life. With enough effort, you can avoid their mistakes and enjoy a long, beautiful marriage.