9 Marriage Rules Every Couple Should Follow (According To A Chronic Bachelor)

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how to have a happy marriage
Love, Self

Because a bachelor knows best.

I’ve never even been to Jared, let alone walked down the aisle. Yet, I still believe I have some good advice to share about how to have a happy marriage. 

Right now, you probably disagree. Why the hell would anybody want a relationship prescription from a love doctor who has never said "I do"? Fair question. But wait — I’m even less qualified than that! Until recently, I’d never read a relationship self-help book.

However, my complete lack of firsthand and textbook knowledge is exactly why you should listen to me. I’m unbiased. I haven’t been scarred or jaded by my own marriage(s). The advice I provide comes only from observation.


RELATED: 30 Things You Shouldn't Do In A Healthy Relationship


And I'm confident that the knowledge I’ve gleaned can help a spouse avoid having to dispose of a body in the near future.

1. Let her dress you.

Guys, your bride bought you a new style of jeans and shirts to go with them. She did not do this merely because she grew bored while online shopping for herself. She did not do this to embarrass you. She did this because she thinks you will look good in those articles of clothing, better than you look in the ones you purchased five-to-seven years ago and still wear regularly.

You complain a lot about not getting naked with your spouse. Guess what, Garanimal? When you go to a party wearing the outfit purchased for you by your wife, your odds of seeing those new clothes crumpled in a passionate heap on your bedroom floor afterward increase dramatically. Don the duds, dude.

2. Allow him to keep his hobbies.

Wives, your man watched twelve hours of football per week (or played twelve hours of video games) when you met. And after you dated. And after you got engaged. Why, then, would he ditch football after wearing a wedding ring?

He didn’t expect you to quit Book Club. In fact, he wants you to keep going to Book Club. Be realistic and let the guy watch a game every Sunday. 

3. Share the housework load.

Husbands, 1955 called and it wants its household chores arrangement back. Ignore this if you’re the sole breadwinner and you and your spouse have an understanding that she takes care of all the cleaning.

But if you don’t have that deal, you might think you do your fair share, and maybe you do. But you probably don’t. In sports terms, women do all the little things that don’t show up in the box score. Hence, maybe you don’t recognize the laundry list of accomplished tasks.

I’m sure you’ve cleaned the toilet before. Bravo. That doesn’t exempt you from toilet duty until next year’s Halloween party. Fellas, either grab a Swiffer every week or pony up for a housekeeper. (Swiffers are kinda fun, actually.)

4. Actually consider his opinion.

Wives, have you ever been dining out with gal pals when somebody asks the server for his preference between, say, the chicken or salmon, only to then order the entrée not recommended? That annoys everybody.

Yet, I’ve consistently seen and heard stories about a woman seeking her spouse’s opinion on what pair of shoes to wear or what color to paint the mud room, only to ignore his choice. So, why bother asking him? I’ve had women explain, “I just want to know that he’s invested.” This stance baffles me.

More importantly, that stance exasperates husbands. After a few instances of having his opinion asked and ignored, he will feel unappreciated, which is not good for anybody. If you ask for input, you need to actually consider his vote.

5. Do things without having to be reminded.

Husbands, you know the garbage gets picked up on Thursdays. This has happened every week since you bought your almost-not-underwater-anymore house. Why then do you make your wife nudge you on Wednesday night to take out the rubbish?

You complain that she’s a nag. She doesn’t want to feel like a nag. Do you think she married you for the lifelong opportunity of reminding you of your mother? Negative, Ghost Rider. Yet, you leave your wife no choice but to nag you, lest that sliding trash/recyclables drawer that’s hidden in every American kitchen’s lower cabinetry starts overflowing with banana peels and Diet Coke cans.

C’mon man, just take out the freaking trash. Or put the toilet seat down. Or close the garage door. Or do whatever it is that you know you should do but purposely choose not to do. I’m not going to pretend to understand the need for passive-aggressive behavior. But I am going tell you that it ain’t getting you anywhere but the love life landfill.


RELATED: 10 Signs You Have The Kind Of (Healthy!) Relationship That Will Truly Last


6. Let him indulge every now and then.

Wives, it’s nice that you want your spouse to live to a ripe old age (or at least longer than you). In that spirit, you monitor his caloric and fat intake like an East German Olympic trainer.

But would it kill you to pick up a treat at the store every once in a while? It won’t kill him. Whether he’s crazy for cookies or chips or Coronas, grab him some. He’ll appreciate it. (And, hopefully, he'll tell you so.)

7. Disconnect from your phone.

Husbands and wives, I would probably be more successful in delivering this message if I group texted you.

First, I should express my thanks. If not for watching you constantly check your smart phones during conversations with each other, I would never have recognized how much freaking time I spend with my face buried in mine. An ex-girlfriend once tried to tell me, but I was probably rereading month-old emails or something.

These days, seemingly everybody sits at dinner with her iPhone resting atop the table within quick reach, like a gunslinger playing poker. This, I have come to realize, is not conducive to meaningful communication with the one you love.

Give your exhausted rhomboid muscles a break by actually looking at your partner when you speak to one another. Do not holster your phones, since you’ll still feel the vibrations when you get a text/email/call, and then your spouse will recognize the telltale facial twitching and know that you’re distracted by your phone.

8. Touch each other more.

You know what I don’t see often? Touching. Unfortunately, I now possess the ability to assess how things are going in a marriage strictly by the amount of touching.

I’m not talking about nauseating moves like throwing legs across each other on the couch or strolling down the street with a hand in each other’s back pocket. touching is “contact, intentional or accidental, between spouses.”

Do you know how hard it is to squeeze past someone between the kitchen sink and the island without touching? There are fewer contortions in a game of Twister. I don’t know if touches decrease little by little in a relationship or if they suddenly vanish one day. But I do know that their absence has a deep impact belying their force.

So, when I see spouses avoid touching each other as they prepare dinner — no pull on the hip here, no shoulder squeeze there — I cringe both for what they’re missing and for the fact that they might not miss it at all. Please, make like an old AT&T commercial and reach out and touch.

9. Keep yourself centered.

Ladies and gentlemen, here are two gripes I hear from both of you: “I don’t have any quiet time” and “I don’t have time to workout.” Of course not, your house pulsates with activity 25 hours per day. Plus, somebody is usually crying (sorry for when it was me).

There is a solution, but it involves something truly awful: waking up early. I know, I know. Believe me, it hurt to type those words. But hear me out: if one of you agrees to keep an eye out for the kid(s), the other can rise at 5 AM or 5:30 AM and go walking. Yes, I'm serious.

Get up, grab your coffee, and then escape for 30 minutes. Go walk around the block, get the blood moving and endorphins firing, and chill with your thoughts. Come home mentally ready for the day.

The next morning, you wrangle the offspring while your spouse goes walking. Or perhaps nobody goes walking! Instead, you just sit in the car enjoying the quiet solitude. That’s a winner, too. Just be sure you don’t keep the garage door closed with the engine running.


RELATED: What A Healthy Relationship Needs If You Want It To Last


Jamie's latest book, Need One!: A Lunatic's Attempt to Attend 365 Games in 365 Days, is available on Amazon.

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