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I figured we needed a place to put our words of wisdom. You know those things you learned the hard way and want to pass on to others.

I'll start with marriage isn't a democracy. I learned that it's not 50/50 but more like 1/99 and you take turns getting your way. If it was 50/50 then neither of you would get your way and be happy. I've just had to learn to pick my battles carefully and not sweat the little stuff.

Your turn.
 

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  • Marry and then have children after at least a year. You're going to need the time when you were just a young married couple to look back on when your kids are driving you crazy and you haven't had a "date" in months.
  • Don't be proud. Admit when you are wrong. Forgive your spouse when they are. Don't bring up old stuff.
  • Always say good things about your spouse to others. Don't tell your friends personal things about them.
  • Play to your strengths, try to minimize the effects of each other's weaknesses.
  • Kiss and touch a lot. Give compliments.
  • Have sex once a week at least.
  • Don't listen to what your family says about them. There are only two people in a marriage.
  • Talk about everything before you get married (especially money). I didn't see a counselor, but it would have been beneficial.
  • Don't live together before you get married! I moved in for one month before we eloped because my lease ran out. I justified it because we were engaged anyways. When we came back from the honeymoon, it was very anti-climatic...business as usual. The honeymoon wasn't even as fun. No surprises.
  • Don't make divorce an option. My husband and I agreed the only way out of our relationship was in a coffin. I got married when I was 19 and I have been married for 10 years and counting.
 

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Contrary to Slkmcphee, I would strongly encourage everyone to live together before you marry. She seems to cite "lack of excitement" and anti-climatic feeling as a reason. If those are really important to you, go for it, but you may want to take this into consideration.

Living separately, you may learn nothing about your partner's hygiene, house keeping and home sex roles, which have a tremendous impact on a relationship. After the honey moon, you may get the big climax (giggle) of moving in together, but what if you find out that your partner is an absolute slob and that you have just committed yourself to picking up and doing his/her laundry for the rest of your life.

Imagine your surprise when your wife tells you that cooking and cleaning is sexist and that she refused to do it... but then mowing the yard is men's work and she refuses to do it. Sadly, this is why my brother's marriage ended. He didn't pick up on this when they were dating one bit. Then she turned out to be a lazy sack of shit.

If you too want to gamble on this surprise, don't live together before marriage.

It is also important to observe how your partner handles money. Pay bills together and talk about money. Is you partner a mathematical idiot? Do they have massive credit card debt? Are they a "buy now, pay later" sort of person? Paying bills together will get this out in the open quickly.

The romanticism of "just get married and hammer out the problems as you go" seems far too outdated, especially with the more liberally defined social roles we have today. You either need to have fantastic communication with your partner, or you should live together as a trial. I strongly recommend it.
 

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Contrary to Slkmcphee, I would strongly encourage everyone to live together before you marry. She seems to cite "lack of excitement" and anti-climatic feeling as a reason. If those are really important to you, go for it, but you may want to take this into consideration.

Living separately, you may learn nothing about your partner's hygiene, house keeping and home sex roles, which have a tremendous impact on a relationship. After the honey moon, you may get the big climax (giggle) of moving in together, but what if you find out that your partner is an absolute slob and that you have just committed yourself to picking up and doing his/her laundry for the rest of your life.

Imagine your surprise when your wife tells you that cooking and cleaning is sexist and that she refused to do it... but then mowing the yard is men's work and she refuses to do it. Sadly, this is why my brother's marriage ended. He didn't pick up on this when they were dating one bit. Then she turned out to be a lazy sack of shit.

If you too want to gamble on this surprise, don't live together before marriage.

It is also important to observe how your partner handles money. Pay bills together and talk about money. Is you partner a mathematical idiot? Do they have massive credit card debt? Are they a "buy now, pay later" sort of person? Paying bills together will get this out in the open quickly.

The romanticism of "just get married and hammer out the problems as you go" seems far too outdated, especially with the more liberally defined social roles we have today. You either need to have fantastic communication with your partner, or you should live together as a trial. I strongly recommend it.
It doesn't take living together to know if someone is a slob, does their laundry regularly or brushes their teeth, etc. A moderately developed sense of observation over a decent dating period works well enough for that.

Sorry your brother's marriage ended...maybe he should have gone to pre-marriage counseling or asked her how she felt about such things first? Plenty of people who live together first get divorced later. My cousin lived with her high school sweetheart for ten years before they finally got married. They had a $50k wedding. They divorced within in a year because she thought that maybe he would change his mind about having children. He didn't. The divorce was entirely her fault.

I knew my husband was bad with money before I moved in with him. How did I know? We talked about money. He told me he had a prior bankruptcy and when we went to the mall together, he had no checkbook register. He liked to shop. Doesn't take a genius to figure some things out. It wasn't a deal breaker and we're still married - I handle the bills and he loves it. You have to understand what you are willing to tolerate and work with. There is no way I would throw my money or credit score in with someone unless there was a marriage contract involved.

Marriage is a work in progress - the entire time. There will never be a marriage that does not need problems hammered out. The idea that you will find someone who is perfectly compatible for you in every way sounds like an eharmony commercial and is really idealistic and unrealistic. Anyone who has been married for decades will tell you that.

The time that we lived together was more like the honeymoon than anything. When we got married, it was more, "well, now it's legal." I'm not really a female that puts much stock in romance or giggling. But if I could go back and do things differently, I would have extended my lease another month.

In short, Benjamin Franklin said to keep your eyes wide open before marriage and half-closed afterward. If you don't do that, you have no one to blame but yourself.
 

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Plenty of people who live together first get divorced later.
The opposite holds just as well, so it's pretty much a moot point. The post simply asked for conjecture.
 
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What about break ups when you are co-habitating? Messy, messy business. Living together does not always culminate in marriage. Who decides who gets what when the finances are combined and the cohabitation has spanned a decent length of time? What happens to the person who is fleeing their home and has to get the television set back? It begs unnecessary drama.


Now, I am a perfect example that cohabitation can lead to a successful marriage. What I am saying is, all things being equal, I would have done it differently. And after all, this is advice. My advice. That and $1 will get you something on the McDonald's Value Menu. Same thing with yours.
 

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What about break ups when you are co-habitating? Messy, messy business. Living together does not always culminate in marriage. Who decides who gets what when the finances are combined and the cohabitation has spanned a decent length of time? What happens to the person who is fleeing their home and has to get the television set back? It begs unnecessary drama.


Now, I am a perfect example that cohabitation can lead to a successful marriage. What I am saying is, all things being equal, I would have done it differently. And after all, this is advice. My advice. That and $1 will get you something on the McDonald's Value Menu. Same thing with yours.
Right. It's opinion based on experience.

I'm not sure what you're getting at with the cohabitation break up business. Of course it's messy. So is divorce. The bottom line is that if two people are seriously committed to each other, they'll move in together, regardless of their legal status before the U.S. government. Relationships in general beg unnecessary drama if they don't work out.
 

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Right. It's opinion based on experience.

I'm not sure what you're getting at with the cohabitation break up business. Of course it's messy. So is divorce. The bottom line is that if two people are seriously committed to each other, they'll move in together, regardless of their legal status before the U.S. government. Relationships in general beg unnecessary drama if they don't work out.
Maybe it's the fact that I am a J, but I see more value in the certainty and legally binding nature of marriage. You are right in that the serious commitment is what matters most, regardless of legal status. But cohabitation is a riskier venture in my book, especially financially. My husband's bankruptcy was largely the result of combining finances in a cohabitation. They both had fun running up the credit card debt....but they were all in his name. She kept everything after he learned that she was cheating on him. He was living with his mother for 2 months trying to get his life back together. Marriage and the legal protection it offers would have given him more protection and offered more justice. Personally, I don't trust easily enough for serious cohabitation and wouldn't have considered it at all if I didn't have an engagement ring on my finger.

But people have to make their own mistakes, I suppose.
 

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Maybe it's the fact that I am a J, but I see more value in the certainty and legally binding nature of marriage. You are right in that the serious commitment is what matters most, regardless of legal status. But cohabitation is a riskier venture in my book, especially financially. My husband's bankruptcy was largely the result of combining finances in a cohabitation. They both had fun running up the credit card debt....but they were all in his name. She kept everything after he learned that she was cheating on him. He was living with his mother for 2 months trying to get his life back together. Marriage and the legal protection it offers would have given him more protection and offered more justice. Personally, I don't trust easily enough for serious cohabitation and wouldn't have considered it at all if I didn't have an engagement ring on my finger.

But people have to make their own mistakes, I suppose.
Wow. I can't imagine what it feels like to live in the aftermath of something like that. Must be a lot like what my brother must have felt. My heart goes out to him.

Yeah, at the core of any relationship, there needs to be a very... "primordial" sense of trust that arises due to a sense of admiration, compatibility, mutual interests and gratitude. This is the sine qua non of a successful relationship. If you've got this core, seems like everything else is just details.
 
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- Learn to say "I'm sorry". Be able to swallow your pride.
- Learn how to forgive. Don't use past hurts and wrongdoings from yesterday as ammunition in your argument today.
- Throw all that "Don't marry the person you can live with, marry the one you can't live without" crap out the window. (INFPs, I'm looking at you.) Marriage is hard work. There is no "happily ever after". You can, however, live in a fulfilling, intimate marriage so long as you do the work.
- Marry someone who is willing to put the same amount of effort that you are into your marriage.
- Encourage girls/guys night out.
- Ladies, quit bitching about his dirty clothes on the floor. If that's the worst of your problems, then consider yourself lucky.
- Guys, be man enough to purchase tampons for your wife when she needs them.
- The stupid fights over petty things are (almost) never about how she leaves a glass on the table without a coaster or how he won't put the toilet paper in the holder. Those are the symptoms. Find out the cause.
- Say "please" and "thank you".
- Guys, be willing to take one for the team when you're doing having kids. Your procedure is an in-office visit, while hers will be done under anesthesia. Plus, worry-free sex without hormones and condoms is *awesome*.
 

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When we go by the literal sense of the word, "Marriage" is nothing more than a piece of paper and a waste of money.
If we go by what it really means, it should be called "bonding".

My advice to those who want to marry is this:

To the ladies (Please be aware that my brain is "wired" as a male's for the most part - around 90%, proved by psychological tests, so I may/will sound male):

- Stop being so anal about the damn toilet lid.
- The bathroom isn't your sanctuary. Having to hold it in for an hour while you plaster all that crap makeup on your faces is NOT fun.
- Don't throw "I have a headache". Just say "I'm not in the mood". Yes, we'll sulk but we're more prone to understand if you say the truth instead of some garbage.
- FFS, don't leave your damn used tampons rolled up in paper and your pads (panty liners for the UK peeps) all over the place in the bathroom. It's disgusting! :angry:
- Don't go around saying "I want A" when you really want to say "I want J".
- Please understand one thing: I have as much fun being dragged to a mall as you have fun being dragged to a warehouse.
- Your talks about makeup are as interesting to me as my talks about the latest drill-hammer from Bosch are interesting to you.
- Yes, there's clothes on the floor... so what? Don't I help clean the house and cook too?

To the guys (here's my female side speaking):

- Being a couch potato won't help you gain any points. Perhaps a trip to your parents' house...
- Being a slob is disgusting. Wash, bathe, clean, ffs. What are you? Pigs?
- Farts jokes are NOT funny.
- Same with belching jokes.
- Bragging about the smell of your shit or how big it was is something nice to make someone gag.
- Get some manners while eating or maybe you'd prefer having your food served on a bowl on the floor?
- Can't aim the toilet? Pee sitting or lick your own pee off. And ffs, use some paper to clean your junk after you pee. Do you even realize the smell?
- This isn't your mommy's house. If you want a maid, hire and pay for one.
- WASH YOUR JUNK!!

In general:

- Get to compromises. Both sides will have to give in a little without having to completely give up on their habits.
- Talk things out. Letting things to fester is horrid. When it explodes, it can be very nasty.
- Live together before you go to the paperwork. However, be aware that I know couples that lived happily together for over 10 years and broke apart after marrying.
- "Please" and "Thanks" are nice words. Use them.
- Don't throw tantrums over girls/boys nights out
- Remember that living together/marrying is something on which you have to work constantly.
- Try to surprise, improvise... routine is a terrible enemy.
- Take some time out when needed. Forcing yourselves to be together when you need to be alone is one of the worst things you can do. Take a walk, drive around, lock yourself up in the room...

There's so much more that I could add to this born from my own experience of living together but it would make this post so huge... I think I hit the generals though.
 

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  • Don't be proud. Admit when you are wrong. Forgive your spouse when they are. Don't bring up old stuff.
  • Don't make divorce an option. My husband and I agreed the only way out of our relationship was in a coffin. I got married when I was 19 and I have been married for 10 years and counting.
When you are wrong, say "I'm sorry". An apology doesn't cost you anything, but it goes a long way to heal wounds. My ex apologized maybe once in the 19 years we were married. That really starts to pile up after a while.

I don't completely agree with the second statement. Divorce should be avoided at all costs. With that said I will also say I stayed in a very bad marriage way too long because divorce was not an option. Everyone deserves to be happy.
 

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I don't completely agree with the second statement. Divorce should be avoided at all costs. With that said I will also say I stayed in a very bad marriage way too long because divorce was not an option. Everyone deserves to be happy.
I totally agree with having the right to be happy...but I still assert that the first rule of a successful marriage is not to divorce. I'm not trying to speak of your marriage in particular, but I think not enough people try hard enough to make a marriage work.

Of course, if that significant other person has some serious flaw in character that inhibits them from ever being a successful spouse, then I understand divorce.
 

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I totally agree with having the right to be happy...but I still assert that the first rule of a successful marriage is not to divorce. I'm not trying to speak of your marriage in particular, but I think not enough people try hard enough to make a marriage work.

Of course, if that significant other person has some serious flaw in character that inhibits them from ever being a successful spouse, then I understand divorce.
Clearly there must be some criteria for when a marriage needs to end. Where do you see that line?
 
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Now THAT deserves its own thread!!!! Since you brought it up, it's only fair to let you start it....

:crazy:

Oh, come on. It's clearly topical!
 

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YouTube - You're no fun anymore

:crazy:

Oh, come on. It's clearly topical!
:crazy::crazy::crazy: I love British humor.

Okay, I will bite.

I suppose everyone will have their own tolerances and what they consider to be forgivable. For example, in the case of adultery, a spouse may be able to forgive an indiscretion involving alcohol after 15 years of marriage, but not a blatant affair or string of affairs ala Tiger Woods.

All of these I would demand marriage counseling for. If he refused, I would proceed with divorce and apply for an annulment with the Church.

  • I could forgive one adulterous indiscretion, over time. Tiger Woods? I'd want to help him keep his promise about "death do us part."
  • Premeditated, hidden and catastrophic risks with family resources
  • Addiction that he refuses to treat (substance, gambling, porn, shopping, video games, etc)
  • Emotionally, physically or sexually abusive to me or children
  • Chronically unemployed due to his own character flaws (not bad fortune or health issues)

I am willing to put up with a lot of shenanigans, and have done so...but if I had to go to divorce court, I would be going armed to the teeth with reasons I should get everything I wanted.

My mother had 2 divorces and is alone in poor health. My father is on his 4th wife. I swore it would never happen to me or my kids. In a way, that alone is motivation to stay together.
 

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Maybe it's the fact that I am a J, but I see more value in the certainty and legally binding nature of marriage. You are right in that the serious commitment is what matters most, regardless of legal status. But cohabitation is a riskier venture in my book, especially financially. My husband's bankruptcy was largely the result of combining finances in a cohabitation. They both had fun running up the credit card debt....but they were all in his name. She kept everything after he learned that she was cheating on him. He was living with his mother for 2 months trying to get his life back together. Marriage and the legal protection it offers would have given him more protection and offered more justice. Personally, I don't trust easily enough for serious cohabitation and wouldn't have considered it at all if I didn't have an engagement ring on my finger.

But people have to make their own mistakes, I suppose.
Ah in that case may be you should add that co-habiting and combining finances is not a good idea. Co-habiting by itself can be done without getting a credit card in both people's names then it becomes like tragedy of the commons and gets run into debt by both partners. I co-habited with a guy for several years but we kept everything separate and paid for rent, food, and bills equally. We never did things like buy a car together or open combined bank account, or get into debt together. You co-habit successfully without getting into any of this. We also somehow happened to remember who bought that vacuum and that furniture after many years, so when we split we knew who gets to keep what. There was no drama over possessions.

Only thing I would add is that two people who are ultimately looking towards getting married should only co-habit if there is definitely commitment from both sides towards this goal and both partners are aiming for marriage. There should exist that sort of commitment before moving in. It shouldn't be treated as a result, "oh ... may be ... we'll see" kind of thing. Otherwise after some time it just turns into roommate with benefits relationship. When I moved in with him we were both unsure but we figured we want to be together. But there was no solid plan to follow it through.

All in all I would recommend at least short-lived co-habitation. Sure it ruins some of the surprise factor of honeymoon, but it also can guard you from some very negative surprises. One of my roommates was telling me a story how her mother ended up marrying an alcoholic. They dated for a year and she did not suspect that the guy drinks. When they married and moved in together she discovered that he has a habit of getting drunk when he is at home alone. After few years it only gotten worse and they divorced. So her mother told her to always cohabit with a guy that she plans to marry because people can and do hide things like this that can become major problems later in marriage and result in divorce.
 

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Ah in that case may be you should add that co-habiting and combining finances is not a good idea. Co-habiting by itself can be done without getting a credit card in both people's names then it becomes like tragedy of the commons and gets run into debt by both partners. I co-habited with a guy for several years but we kept everything separate and paid for rent, food, and bills equally. We never did things like buy a car together or open combined bank account, or get into debt together. You co-habit successfully without getting into any of this. We also somehow happened to remember who bought that vacuum and that furniture after many years, so when we split we knew who gets to keep what. There was no drama over possessions.

Only thing I would add is that two people who are ultimately looking towards getting married should only co-habit if there is definitely commitment from both sides towards this goal and both partners are aiming for marriage. There should exist that sort of commitment before moving in. It shouldn't be treated as a result, "oh ... may be ... we'll see" kind of thing. Otherwise after some time it just turns into roommate with benefits relationship. When I moved in with him we were both unsure but we figured we want to be together. But there was no solid plan to follow it through.

All in all I would recommend at least short-lived co-habitation. Sure it ruins some of the surprise factor of honeymoon, but it also can guard you from some very negative surprises. One of my roommates was telling me a story how her mother ended up marrying an alcoholic. They dated for a year and she did not suspect that the guy drinks. When they married and moved in together she discovered that he has a habit of getting drunk when he is at home alone. After few years it only gotten worse and they divorced. So her mother told her to always cohabit with a guy that she plans to marry because people can and do hide things like this that can become major problems later in marriage and result in divorce.
My grandmother lived in Cypress for a few years as a military spouse. She told me that they lived in a beautiful little home that happened to be a "dowry" house. The culture there goes as follows (maybe followed, I don't know if it has changed since the 60s):

Men and women are engaged and there is a legal, binding contract that they will co-habitate for one year. The bride's parents provide a home as a dowry, but they don't get the house unless they get married (which is why it was being rented to my grandparents). I believe the groom or his family provide the income during the year of co-habitation (I don't think at that time a woman was expected to have an income and she is bringing a dowry). If they agree after a year, the wedding is held in the church with much pomp and circumstance. And divorce is highly unlikely.

If both decide to end the arrangement, there is no stain at all on their reputation and all that is lost is what was agreed upon. Of course, if a pregnancy results, I think they are trapped (at least at that time), which may be why the potential grandparents are so keen on the idea to begin with....
 

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My grandmother lived in Cypress for a few years as a military spouse. She told me that they lived in a beautiful little home that happened to be a "dowry" house. The culture there goes as follows (maybe followed, I don't know if it has changed since the 60s):

Men and women are engaged and there is a legal, binding contract that they will co-habitate for one year. The bride's parents provide a home as a dowry, but they don't get the house unless they get married (which is why it was being rented to my grandparents). I believe the groom or his family provide the income during the year of co-habitation (I don't think at that time a woman was expected to have an income and she is bringing a dowry). If they agree after a year, the wedding is held in the church with much pomp and circumstance. And divorce is highly unlikely.

If both decide to end the arrangement, there is no stain at all on their reputation and all that is lost is what was agreed upon. Of course, if a pregnancy results, I think they are trapped (at least at that time), which may be why the potential grandparents are so keen on the idea to begin with....
It's a tarp! xD

thanks for sharing this, this is an interesting arrangement

I've had two acquaintances in past who went through with arranged marriage. They were both male and from India and were studying abroad in the states. When they were done their parents found them spouses back in their country. They got married after only having a few conversations with their future spouse, literally just flew back over holidays for the interview. No dating, no co-habitation, no notions that people have to fall in love first. I read that arranged marriages also have very low divorce rate. This might be due to cultural pressures, such as that people who get divorced cannot easily re-marry, but it can also be they go into marriage thinking of it more like a partnership. I knew another person from India. She said her parents talked to her about it, but didn't insist and she preferred to make this decision herself. So she dated around for a few years and found a spouse herself.
 
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