5 Pieces Of Marriage Advice That'll Land You In Divorce Court

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By Jillian Kramer

Our friends and family freely dish out marriage advice. And while the bulk of that advice is filled with good intentions, "there are no hard and fast rules in the game of love," Malibu-based certified marriage therapist Alisa Ruby Bash quickly reminds us. "And if marriage advice doesn't resonate, then it's bad advice for you." 

Here are 5 pieces of marriage advice that'll land you in divorce court:

1. Spend your money how you want

When it comes to a girls' night out or a tech shopping spree, you may hear the advice that you only need to share what you spend with your spouse if you want to — and that the purchases you keep to yourself won't hurt him or her.

But keeping your spending a secret could lead to financial fights and a partner who feels blindsided, warns Jane Greer, Ph.D., a relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. "It undermines you working together as a couple, making joint financial decisions while leaving room for individual needs as well."

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2. Never go to bed angry

We've all heard that it's never a good idea to go to bed angry with your spouse. But while this sounds great in theory Bash says that "sometimes an argument or issue can't be resolved quickly."

So rather than suppress genuine emotions, Bash recommends, "it can sometimes be better to get some shut-eye and readdress the problem with a fresh, clear perspective. Often, sleeping on the problem really helps you realize what's worth holding onto."

3. Always listen to your mother-in-law

This advice may come straight from the horse's — err, mother-in-law's — mouth. And while it's smart to be open and receptive to what your new family member has to say and how she feels, "don't always listen to her demands because you may start to feel resentful and controlled by her," warns Greer.

Beyond that, don't bend to how she wants you to spend your time. "You may grow resentful about spending more time with that person's family than your own," she says. "You can also feel upset at not having enough alone time together with your partner."

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4. Your kids should always come first

Many new mothers feel guilt-tripped by family, friends, and even a society that says children should always come first. Bash says, "and that any parent that ever considers putting their marriage — or, heaven forbid herself — first is a selfish narcissist."

But the truth, she says, "is having a strong, happy marriage will always make a child feel safe and secure. Of course, we need to think of our kids and their needs. But, if the marriage is suffering because we pay all our attention to our kids at the expense of our spouse, then the whole family will suffer. We need to learn to have time for our spouse, our kids, and ourselves."

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5. If you're unhappy, leave your marriage

When your marriage isn't as you envisioned it would be and you find your mind wandering toward the D word, your friends and family may give you a final push with the advice, "Don't stay if you're unhappy." Greer says that the feeling of wanting to leave a marriage is natural — something almost all couples feel at one point or another, especially after a heated fight.

"However," she says, "that doesn't mean your marital problems can't be solved. Encouraging someone to leave versus getting help is encouraging them to simply act on their anger."

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Jillian Kramer is an award-winning storyteller. She's been featured in Food and Wine, Glamour, SELF, Brides, and Women's Health Magazine.