The Five Best Pieces of Newlywed Advice

My oldest son recently got married.  It was a fun ceremony, completely representative of both my son and his new bride, filled with swords and medieval costumes and swords and Star Wars.  I loved it, and so did most of the attendees.
But now, it has been over two weeks.  They have had a honeymoon, opened presents, and begun the process of caring for one another.  They are currently living with us while they find a house to move into, so we are more than a little involved in this first phase of their lives.  And, because they are here and so are we, I have naturally been thinking about all the things that I would like to tell him about now that he is a husband.  But of course, I can’t really do that without being invited.  That would be borderline meddling.
But I can write a blog post!
What follows, then, is the advice that I feel is the most important advice that I would like to pass on to my son, and to other husbands around the world.  I doubt any of this will be particularly revolutionary; much of it has been tried and tested throughout hundreds of years and thousands of strong, resilient, happy marriages.  And that is, I think, why I feel so strong about passing it on.
Put the marriage first. In the first few months of marriage, it is fun to be thinking about your spouse, wondering what she is doing, thinking about all the things you would like to be doing with her.  It is absolutely likely that you have gone out of your way to find things and adopt activities that keep you together as much as possible.  However, as months go by, you may find yourself starting to think of what you miss.  Times going out with the guys, all night movie marathons over pizza, road trips, perhaps even career goals that are ambitious and demanding.  All of that is fine and healthy until they begin to take a primary focus in your life, away from the love, care and support of your wife.  Many husbands have learned, and some of them too late, that the marriage relationship is fragile.  If not treated with constant care, if not placed first in your priorities, you will likely find that it doesn’t matter what you replaced it with.
Combine and cleave.  This goes along with the first, but in my mind specifically deals with finances.  Finances are one of the primary things that spouses tend to quarrel over.  Sometimes the quarreling becomes so intense that it chases all of the joy out of the relationship.  The surest way I have found to head that off at the pass is to ensure that finances are combined early on.  farther you can get your minds and hearts away from the yours/mine perspective, the more fully you can see that the intertwining of your lives is what brings true joy.  In this way, you cleave to one another, you are intertwined.  In my experience, couples who did not combine finances as part of the conversation did not enjoy the same feeling of solidness and commitment in their marrriage as those who did.  It isn’t a promise of peace, but it is one of three critical issues.
Appreciate the little things as big as you can.  You’re just starting out, so you aren’t going to have a lot of resources.  But that doesn’t mean that little expressions of love and support don’t deserve the biggest expressions of appreciation that you can manage.  Make every day together a day to be celebrated.  Pull out the best dishes for a beautiful meal.  Hug her extra tight and long on a day that she does something unexpected.  Don’t let you circumstances determine the enthusiasm of your heart.
If and when you fight, fight fair.  Right now, I’m sure you can’t imagine that you and your lovely bride will fight.  Believe me when I say that it is not only likely, it is probably inevitable.  You are different people, with different ideas, histories and approaches to life.  There will be conflict along the way.  That is okay.  fighting isn’t evidence of a weak relationship, it is evidence of strong people prioritizing a relationship.  Just remember that, during the heated discussions over little things, keep the little things little.  I have learned through my own life that when I try to bring up old issues previously resolved or if I ever questioned my wife’s commitment to me and to our marriage, I regretted it.  Fight over things, but fight from a perspective of finding the best way for the two of you to move forward.  Never question motives or bring up  the past; that just isn’t fair.
Never stop trying.  Never stop trying to demonstrate your love and adoration of your lovely bride.  Never stop finding new and imaginative ways to express your feelings.  Never stop working on your own self, striving to be the best you can, because that is the greatest gift you can give her.  Becoming a better man, a man of solid substance with a style all your own will make you more able to support her during the difficult times that will certainly come to you.  If you never stop trying to be the best you can be, you will be ready for those times.
Well, there it is!  The advice that I think every young husband should get.  Do you have anything to add?  Put it in the comments below!

Try these 5 things to be a sexier spouse!

Being attractive is something that dominates our thoughts collectively.  Our culture seems obsessed with trying to look younger, fitter, better dressed, better accessorized or better employed not because these are good things in themselves but because they make us more attractive to the opposite sex.  

It is neay impossible to check out of the grocery store without being bombarded  by magazine cover stories that promise the secret answer to the all-important question, “How can I be more desirable?”  Women’s magazines or  men’s magazines, it doesn’t seem to matter.  The old adage, “sex sells,” certainly seems to be true, judging by the magazine covers.  

The Internet is filled with articles like this as well.  Click bait, as it is often called, leads to articles which are often only thinly veiled sales programs for supplements, intimate toys or some other solution that promises to solve the problems of boredom in the bedroom and missing marital bliss.

And today I’m guilty of it, just as much as the next writer!

But hopefully you will discover that, while my approach may be the same old same old, perhaps the information I share is less sensational and more substantive with an eye to crafting better relationships.  You see, I think the sexiest individual is one who forms a meaningful connection with their partner.  So, here are 5 things to help men become sexier to their spouses.

1.  Do the dirty jobs.  Taking a cue from Mike Rowe, take the time to do the truly dirty and disgusting jobs around the house.  Clean the toilet, if not the whole bathroom.  Take out the garbage.  Vacuum a room or two.  Do a load of laundry, including her laundry.  And do this regularly, gladly,   And if possible without being told.  This is a measure of shared responsibility and can go a long way to helping your spouse feel like you are her partner, not simply her provider or protector who must be cared for.  And partnership is sexy.

2.  Listen while she speaks.   Not when, while.  Women and men process information differently, as multiple studies and books have indicated.  For many women, speaking is a useful processing tool. Regardless of male or female, when an individual speaks the things that are going around inside the mind, they become more real.  It allows the speaker to evaluate the sanity or craziness of the thoughts, both those leading up to the the thought and the thought itself.  But keep in mind, this is for the benefit of the speaker.  Any nearby listeners are not expected to comment on the thoughts unless invited.  Listen, but wait to be invited before contributing. 

3.  Touch her in loving but non-romantic ways.  After several years, much of the touching between a husband a wife seems to move into one of two categories.  It is either the incidental and perfunctory touching necessitated by sharing space or the habitual goodbye-don’t-forget-your-keys-see-you-later daily life or the hasty and less than frequent romantic touching because the kids are asleep early for the night. These are both healthy, to be sure.  However, my own experience has shown that other types of touching, like holding hands in the car, giving a full and somewhat lingering hug or a spontaneous and short rub of the shoulders when she is feeling tense can be valuable.  They can go a long way to letting her know you are concerned for her, as a partner and person, and not just as a sexual partner when the opportunity arises. 

4.  Notice what she does.  This is reminiscent of the first suggestion, and may give you ideas of the dirty jobs that you should do.  Have you ever looked to see what your spouse does through the day?  Whether she works a full time job or not, she is likely the most involved between the two of you in the tasks of keeping house.  Frequently a simple “Thank you,” when she has done some menial and routine task can go a long way to helping her know that you value her contributions to your shared home life.  And a person who knows their contributions are valued is more likely to feel valued personally as well.

5.  Tell her you love her, often!  Not just after a romp in the sheets.  Not just as you leave for the day, as a quick “luv you!” And not just with cute emojis.  Those are all good and fine, but they shouldn’t be the only times that a wife hears her husband say “I love you.”  She should hear it often, regularly, and in a meaningful way.  It should be something that we say not just out of habit, but thoughtfully and with gratitude, as a way of acknowledging that she has chosen to spend her life with you as her most priceless gift.  And if she hears you talk about loving a sports team or a car or a favorite power tool more than she hears you say how much you love her, you may not seem as sexy to her as you used to.

These are just a few ideas.  There are more.  Books and articles abound on the topic, as I mentioned earlier in this post.  But these just might be a good starting point.  And unlike most of the rest of the suggestions that you see around the Internet, they won’t cost you a dime!

Go Forth and conquer love your spouse.