10 Tips To A Happy Marriage: Men’s Advice to Men


Surrounded by some of my most trusted friends, I asked the following question: “if you could distill your top relationship lesson into a one-liner, what would it be?” A passionate, sincere, and admittedly sometimes humorous discussion ensued between a group of men whose ages ranged from twenties to sixties, some of whom had been married for decades, some recently divorced, and others newly-minted husbands. It was a diverse set of perspectives.  Out of respect for them, I’ll keep the content anonymous; out of respect for you, the reader, I’ve distilled them to ten brief tips.

1. Learn to listen

“It’s easy not to be present when reading a book or watching a sports event; but being present for one’s spouse when they’re talking to you is key to their feeling that they’re a priority. Learn to listen to them.”

2. Stay interesting

“The stories came easily in the beginning; we were both interesting to one another as we continued to discover each other. It’s critical to stay interesting even after decades of marriage; we all want to continue discovering our partners, and the only way to do that is to stay interesting.”

3. Keep your word

“It’s simple: you made promises when you married her/him — keep them.”

4. The only person you can change in the relationship is yourself

“The sooner you reach this conclusion, the happier you’ll be.”

5. Ban “never” and “always”

“We too often begin sentences with ‘you never’ and ‘you always’ when, in reality, few things deserve ‘never’ or ‘always’ as characterizations; remove those two words from your lexicon.”

6. Say what you see

“Discuss what you ‘see’: what actually happened, and not what you think she/he feels, or she/he intended to do — that is presumptive. Focus on the facts of the situation.”

7. NATO – not attached to outcome

“While we can control our actions, it’s really hard to control the outcomes we desire; to be happy, we need to stay NATO: not attached to outcome.”

8. Show her/him your best side

“It’s easy to get complacent over time taking our spouses for granted; if we have the energy to show strangers our best side (dress, respect, attention, and formal pleasantries),  the least we can do is show that same level of care when we’re dealing with our life partner.”

9. “Do the dishes”

“As they say, ‘no woman has ever started an argument with a man while he was doing the dishes.’ It’s not just about the dishes; it’s about all of the little things you can do to share the burden.”

10. Find gratitude first

“It’s easy to pick at and complain about the little things, so it’s important to spend time appreciating the big things: when you wake up first thing in the morning, consider something about her/him that makes you grateful. Find gratitude first.”

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