Greg Behrendt knows relationships. The author of He’s Just Not That Into You and a script consultant for Sex and the City has a new book on the way titled How To Keep Your Marriage From Sucking, co-authored with his wife, Amiira Ruotuola-Behrendt.
Here are seven pieces of advice he says he’s learned from his own marriage:
- Think of marriage as a daily practice – He says this is all about reminding yourself on a daily basis that your relationship is unique and needs to be honored. “At a minimum, spend five minutes a day holding hands or whatever you decide intimacy is.”
- Make sure you’re both on the same page – Check in with your partner every day to avoid things like “being okay with something you’re not okay with; not speaking; doing things too quickly because you think the other person expects it; writing a monologue about them in your head that’s based on things that aren’t true.”
- Remember that only you control your own happiness – As much as you love each other, there’s only one person in charge of your own happiness, and pretending otherwise is imposing an unfair burden on the person you love.
- Find the balance between partner and parent – Raising kids is a full-time job, but so is being a spouse. “Show your kids that while they’re super important, you know, I married your mom and she’s my person.”
- Sometimes divorce is the best answer – Behrendt says he learned this lesson from his father after his mother passed away in 2004 when he said “I wish I would’ve asked her for divorce because that might’ve made a difference in everybody’s life.”
- Sometimes divorce isn’t the best answer – “Sometimes people get divorced for the wrong reasons,” Behrendt says. Relationships get “too tough, too much stuff got piled on top.” He says to not make any life-changing decisions without trying to make that pile a little bit shorter.
- When in doubt, ask – Ask your partner “How can I help?” When your spouse comes home with a story of what happened at work and you start giving them an answer they didn’t ask for, it’s not what they want. “Nobody wants to be carried,” he says, “but everybody wants to know that there’s a possibility they could get help.”
Source: Your Tango