Marriage Advice I wish I would have had…

MARRIAGE ADVICE I WISH I WOULD HAVE HAD:

Obviously, I’m not a relationship expert. But there’s something about going through divorce that gives you perspective of things you wish you would have done different… After losing a woman that I loved, and a marriage of almost 16 years, here’s the advice I wish I would have had…

1) Never stop courting. Never stop dating. NEVER EVER take that woman for granted. When you asked her to marry you, you promised to be that man that would OWN HER HEART and to fiercely protect it. This is the most important and sacred treasure you will ever be entrusted with. SHE CHOSE YOU. Never forget that, and NEVER GET LAZY in your love.

2) PROTECT YOUR OWN HEART. Just as you committed to being the protector of her heart, you must guard your own with the same vigilance. Love yourself fully, love the world openly, but there is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except for your wife. Keep that space always ready to receive her and invite her in, and refuse to let anyone or anything else enter there.

3) FALL IN LOVE OVER and OVER and OVER again. You will constantly change. You’re not the same people you were when you got married, and in five years you will not be the same person you are today. Change will come, and in that you have to re-choose each other everyday. SHE DOESN’T HAVE TO STAY WITH YOU, and if you don’t take care of her heart, she may give that heart to someone else. Always fight to win her love just as you did when you were courting her.

4) ALWAYS SEE THE BEST in her. Focus only on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed by love. Focus to the point where you can no longer see anything but love.

5) IT’S NOT YOUR JOB TO CHANGE OR FIX HER… your job is to love her as she is with no expectation of her ever changing. And if she changes, love what she becomes, whether it’s what you wanted or not.

6) TAKE FULL ACCOUNTABILITY for your own emotions: It’s not your wife’s job to make you happy, and she CAN’T make you sad. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, and through that your joy will spill over into your relationship and your love.

7) NEVER BLAME your wife If you get frustrated or angry, it is only because it is triggering something inside of YOU. When you feel those feelings take time to get present and to look within and understand what it is inside of YOU that is asking to be healed. You were attracted to this woman because she was the person best suited to trigger all of your childhood wounds in the most painful way so that you could heal them… when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by her, and you will wonder why you ever were.

8) Allow your woman to JUST BE. When she’s sad or upset, it’s not your job to fix it, it’s your job to HOLD HER and let her know it’s ok. Let her know that you hear her, and that she’s important and that you are that pillar on which she can always lean. The feminine spirit is about change and emotion and like a storm her emotions will roll in and out, and as you remain strong and unjudging she will trust you and open her soul to you… DON’T RUN-AWAY WHEN SHE’S UPSET. Stand present and strong and let her know you aren’t going anywhere. Listen to what she is really saying behind the words and emotion.

9) BE SILLY… don’t take yourself so damn seriously. Laugh. And make her laugh. Laughter makes everything else easier.

10) FILL HER SOUL EVERYDAY… learn her love languages and the specific ways that she feels important and validated and CHERISHED. Ask her to create a list of 10 THINGS that make her feel loved and memorize those things and make it a priority everyday to make her feel loved.

11) BE PRESENT. Give her not only your time, but your focus, your attention and your soul. Do whatever it takes to clear your head so that when you are with her you are fully WITH HER. Treat her as you would your most valuable client. She is.

12) BE WILLING TO TAKE HER SEXUALLY, to carry her away in the power of your masculine presence, to consume her and devour her with your strength, and to penetrate her to the deepest levels of her soul. Let her melt into her feminine softness as she knows she can trust you fully.

13) DON’T BE AN IDIOT…. And don’t be afraid of being one either. You will make mistakes and so will she. Try not to make too big of mistakes, and learn from the ones you do make. You’re not supposed to be perfect, just try to not be too stupid.

14) GIVE HER SPACE… The woman is so good at giving and giving, and sometimes she will need to be reminded to take time to nurture herself. Sometimes she will need to fly from your branches to go and find what feeds her soul, and if you give her that space she will come back with new songs to sing…. (okay, getting a little too poetic here, but you get the point. Tell her to take time for herself, ESPECIALLY after you have kids. She needs that space to renew and get re-centered.)

15) BE VULNERABLE… you don’t have to have it all together. Be willing to share your fear and feelings, and quick to acknowledge your mistakes.

16) BE FULLY TRANSPARENT. If you want to have trust you must be willing to share EVERYTHING… Especially those things you don’t want to share. It takes courage to fully love, and part of that courage is allowing her to love your darkness as well as your light. DROP THE MASK… If you feel like you need to wear a mask around her, and show up perfect all the time, you will never experience the full dimension of what love can be.

17) NEVER STOP GROWING TOGETHER… The stagnant pond breeds malaria, the flowing stream is always fresh and cool. Atrophy is the natural process when you stop working a muscle, just as it is for a relationship that isn’t focused on growing. Find common goals, dreams and visions to work towards.

18) DON’T WORRY ABOUT MONEY. Money is a game, find ways to work together as a team to win it. It never helps when teammates fight. Figure out ways to leverage both persons strength to win.

19) FORGIVE IMMEDIATELY and focus on the future rather than carrying weight from the past. Don’t let your history hold you hostage. Holding onto past mistakes that either you or she makes, is like a heavy anchor to your marriage and will hold you back. Forgiveness is freedom. Cut the anchor loose and always choose love.

20) ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE. In the end, this is the only advice you need. If this is the guiding principle through which all your choices is governed, there is nothing that will threaten the happiness of your marriage. Love will always endure.

In the end MARRIAGE isn’t about Happily ever after. It’s about work. And a commitment to grow together and a willingness to continually invest in creating something that can endure eternity. Through that work, the happiness will come.

These are lessons I learned the hard way. These are lessons I learned too late.

But these are lessons I am learning and committed in carrying forward. Truth is, I LOVED being married, and in time, I will get married again, and when I do, I will build it with a foundation that will endure any storm and any amount of time.

MEN- THIS IS YOUR CHARGE : Commit to being an EPIC LOVER. There is no greater challenge, and no greater prize. Your woman deserves that from you.

Be the type of husband your wife can’t help but brag about.

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67 thoughts on “Marriage Advice I wish I would have had…

  1. Wow this is amazing.. So many of us wish or think what if or I should.. or I could but…Gerald you give new life to the negative brain. I am a counselor and I will pass this information on to clients. You give freedom to so many of us. I have dreams that I am going to chase. I am a single mom with big dreams and am doing all I can to live big. My cousin put you on her face book. This is the first time I have seen your web page. I am truly looking forward to attending a seminar as soon as I make it big.. I hope you are in Salt Lake City sometime. It is so uplifting to hear and read your ideas and dreams for yourself and others. Thanks sooooooooooo much…….

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  3. I too learned those lessons the hard way (2 1/2 years of “new singleness.”) Force imposed by my “ex” as well. I’m still learning now, ( an ongoing) process of how NOT to make those mistakes that you mentioned when/if another lady comes into my life. For the time being I’m going back and re-evaluating who I was before I met her, when I met her, during the time I knew her (23 1/2 yrs.) and how I relate to her now and our 19 year old son. I’m definitely not the same man that I was. I truly wish that I’d had these tidbits of sage advice (and a few of my own) whilst I was married. Now all I can do is learn from my mistakes and hopefully educate my son for when he marries one day.

  4. I really do appreciate this article so much. After being separated from my husband since 2009 and having to take are of my 2 daughters and single handedly manage mu household, I can identify with all of the above. Of course the wife do have some responsibilities of their own in the way they ought to love their husbands as well.

    I can truly say that I did and still do feel some of what has been stated above, many of those feelings and emotions that have been born out of neglect, being taken for granted, ignored and even no longer being loved or appreciated.

    This feature is simply written but yet it is so profoundly powerful.

    I will refer to this article and try to utilise its learnings as I teach and nurture my daughters as they grow and develop into young women for I would want them to choose the right life partner.

    Thank you so much for sharing this.
    GAIL

  5. Everything u wrote was what I can do for the woman. It’s a 2 way street u have to meet in the middle. I scratch ur back u scratch mine has been working for me for 20 yrs now.

  6. Loved this and sent it to my husband. We have been married for the last 15 years and things have gone stale. I just sent him this article you wrote about your marriage advice. He printed it out and put it on the refrigerator. He says he knows that he needs to improve on a bunch of these things. Thanks for writing it out for him. I’m not sure if all the self help books we have been reading would have said so much in such a short paragraph.

  7. It isn’t one person’s job to keep a marriage happy though. She has to put something into it as well. i mean, if she is changing into something you don’t like, why not mention it? And asking someone for a list of things you can do every day to make them feel loved – really, I don’t think most women want that level of abject grovelling. You won’t make yourself desirable to a woman by making yourself a doormat.

  8. I read this article from someone’s posting on Facebook tonight, after having just exchanged some text messages with my children’s father (that seems a kinder, gentler term than “ex”). We were married 17 years before divorcing. I think there is great advice in your article filled with very real, sound advice…. (and I would say a mirror-imaged article could be written for women like me as well). Best to you, as you learn to live the life you long for….

  9. I was married for nearly 20 years. I have learned much since my divorce; not only what kind of man I want to be with, but the kind of partner I want to be. I have a short list. I made it immediately after my marriage ended.
    1. Be with someone who communicates effectively. 2. Be with someone who is kind.
    3. Be that person.

    My reasoning was that if you can say what you desire kindly and effectively you will be in good communication. I found that man and I strive to treat our relationship as a treasure. I guard and protect and yes, brag about it. Our relationship didn’t just happen: we created it.

    You kindly pointed out what you needed to do in the relationship. I do believe that making a list of what a person needs from a partner wouldn’t hurt either. It’s in that list that I truly came to understand what I offer and what I need. The kind of partner I am; With whom I flourish and thrive with. Accepting yourself and the other half -loving them for everything they are and everything they are not, has brought me immense joy.

    Thank you for sharing your insights.

  10. Gerald,

    For those who think that this is all about the man working, while the woman receives, I know better. It works both ways. I wish I had a do-over, but all I can do is tell my ex “I’m sorry” (I have, and he did the same, and we’re now good friends), and move on. I hope you are experiencing love again.
    Thank you for the great (now viral!) marriage advice!!

    -A.

  11. Are you kidding me?? As far as I’m concerned if you’re assigning yourself 100% of the blame for your divorce then it’s probably your fault. #7 is particularly rediculous. I once had my fiance stay out all night with her friends without even a phone call, then blame me for being angry when she finally decided to come home and saying I had anger management issues. I did have an anger management issue, and the issue went away the moment I packed my stuff and left that thoughtless woman. My message is to have a little self-respect, and to know when a woman is worth the effort, and when she’s not!

  12. Thank you for this essay. You may have noticed it making the rounds on social networking sites? If not, it has!

    I was struck by your statement that you were “obviously” not a relationship expert. It made me giggle. From where I sit it seems like you have both the experience the reflection you need. Better you seem to be inspiring strangers of both genders throughout the verse. Way to go!

  13. Stumbled across this article via someones facebook post. Unreal the timing in finding this article. Every point hit home with me. Been married for 7 years now, and needed this now more than ever. Just hope its not too late.

  14. I read this post on another web site, and wanted to comment here when I found the original post. So much of this rings true — but why do you say that you were supposed to have owned and protected her heart? This is codependence. Love her fully yes, and be fully trustworthy and loving, but do not assume that you are in charge of her heart (or anything else.) I want to say also that it’s good to examine our behaviors and take responsibility for our actions, but it sounds a bit as if you have a bit too much remorse for what may have caused your divorce. All the right actions in some circumstances won’t give you the result you seek, especially if that result is “staying married” and “having a great marriage”. Sometimes the people we choose reveal themselves at some point as not being able to stay married or to make a good partner no matter what we do. Breathe deeply and move on.
    Namaste and thank you.

  15. I cried! Oh to be loved like this. I am going through a divorce – 2nd time – and have vowed to never marry again! After 8 years of being lonely with someone, I have had to move on with my life and should I ever find that person to share my life with this is how I want to give love and receive it. This is love in action.

  16. Interesting article, and there is much wisdom in what you say. However, I also think that the article underscores that old saying “hindsight has 20/20 vision.” Why would I say that? Well, August 26 will mark 24 years since my divorce was finalized, and trust me I’ve done my share “if I knew back then what I know now” sort of regretting. I was married for 9 1/2 years (I’d say 5 of those years were verifably “happy” ones. The “ex” may say otherwise. Anyway, I realize it’s hard to be alone and not have love in your life, especially when it seems like everyone you know is still supposedly happily married and are celebrating landmark anniversary that you more than likely will never have. That’s when the regretting kicks in and we forget why it was that the marriage didn’t work, despite all our efforts to ‘make it so.’ Thing is, when it comes to marriage, there are truly no guarantees. Lots of couples who seem happy for a long time decide to split. Look at how many couples are divorcing after 20, 30, 40 and even 50 years or more of marriage…and how many who may stay together but seem to be extremely unhappy and do not get along or they live separate lives. Seeing such couples out in restaurants is just painful. I’d rather eat alone than deal with anyone like that! LOL. Also, even if one is doing all they can to try to make a marriage work, it still takes two to want to work together to make their marriage successful. One person can’t singlehandedly keep a marriage together no matter how much ‘work’ they do. Why would someone really want to keep a marriage knowing the other person in the marriage is miserable and quite possibly hates you? That’s not love. That’s either possessiveness or co-dependency. Neither of which is healthy in marriage. Better to be single than in such a “marriage.” Sometimes when the person tries too hard, it can actually alienate the other person even further. I think that was my mistake. ..trying to force “romance” when there was none, and the other person didn’t share the same vision as to what is or is not romantic. Anyway, if the other person doesn’t want the marriage as much time and effort as you do, and the love they had for you is clearly gone, and they simply want out, sometimes the greatest act of love you can show that person is to let them go instead of selfishly trying to make them stay where they clearly don’t want to be. That’s what I had to do. It was devastating at the time. I thought my life was over, but looking back I realize that I did do the right thing. He’s now happy in his 2d marriage and that’s ok. Desite being a long-term divorcee, my life’s been ok. Someday I may find love again and maybe even remarry, but then I may not. Only the Lord knows that. Divorce hurts, of course, but I’ve learned that being divorced really isn’t the end of the world. Being divorced is better than remaining unhappily married.

  17. My husband and I are working on our 52nd year of marriage. (We retired from a full career of teaching many years ago. We still run 2 businesses, have co-authored a book, “The Best of the Rest Downsizing for Boomers and Seniors” yet have balance in our lives. We make time for each other, family, 10 grandchildren, friends, travel, our farm. At 76 Doug plays hockey twice a week with the Oldtimers. We do not babysit regularly but will give any of our children time for a week or 10 day holiday to “reconnect” and love having the grandchildren at the farm.

  18. Loved your letter on marriage advice. It was funny, there were a lot of guys who got defensive and put it back on it going both ways. I thought that was interesting. I think your advice was really spot on. Sometimes its really hard to put into words
    ‘how’ you want to be loved, but you did it. Maybe there might be some men, and some women, who are defensive, but maybe their spouses are already loving them like this but they don’t realize it because they don’t ‘see’ them anymore. Thank you for this!

  19. Did you personally write this Gerald?
    I am curious what lead you to crystallize this mammoth awareness in the time after you and your wife separated. Thank you for sharing. You provided me with hope that there may be men on this planet who have this awareness and could bring it to a relationship. There are so many points you made that, in the absence of, there is a sense of discouragement, for me. I would love to imagine that a man would strive to live this way. I wish you all the best.

  20. You may not have the credentials to give advice for a fee but your words are more empowering and eye opening than any relationship expert I have ever known or read.

    I cried reading your post. The type of relationship you describe is one of complete selflessness – a quality so few people seem to have these days. I cant even put in words how reading this made me feel.

    Thank you for sharing these very intimate ideas.

  21. Wow! This looks like a recipe for staying alive, out of jail, partially solvent when dealing with a partner who is Borderline Personality Disorder.

    I divorced in 1980 after a terrible from day one marriage to a BPD. The marriage lasted only two years. She was all lovey and solicitous during our courtship. I thought I had found a prize. She initiated the power struggle, temper tantrums, accusations and other acting out during the honeymoon.

    I tried everything I could think of to keep her from “going off”. Most of those things are enumberated in the list articulated in your article. After about six months even that only slowed her down a bit. After a year it had no effect at all.

    If there is a saving grace to it all, she had a temper tantrum in court. She had to be restrained by the bailiff. The judge disolved the marriage. We were both free from one another with no obligation to one another in any form.

    I’ve never remarried. It is not that I had a horrible experience that made me hate women. It is that I learned to see the red flags that were present during my courtship if my ex. I’ve dated, though at this point I’ve done little, out of choice. It is that I have not found an American woman who did not have unreasonable expectations of marriage and her role in it. — As time has passed since that divorce I perceive that womens’ attitudes have gotten more extreme in their expectations.

    This year my ex made contact with me. I was expecting trouble. She actually made an apology for her bad behavior. I was dumbfounded. She tells me that she also never remarried, mostly because the word on her was out in the small town where we had lived. Later when she moved to a large city, she was older and could not find anyone she was willing to have. She told me of years of psychotherapy, of denial of her BPD, of a painful and long period of self discovery and of letting go of the BPD and some healing from youthful hurts from her family. I fully forgave her behavior of years ago, but I have not forgotten the lessons learned.

    I live in a retirement community these days. Men are scarce here; there are many available women here. One woman who I see regularly at some social functions and activities here asked my if I would ever remarry. I told her that it was very unlikely. I told her of my experience with my ex. — Then I made this analogy:

    You receive in the mail a box containing ten hand grenades. A note in the box says that five of the hand grenades are complete duds and that others are guaranteed to go off. The note goes on to guarantee me a happy life if I choose one of the grenades, pull the pin, release the spoon then hold it next to my chest. — Since this day and age about half of all marriages end in divorce. The story is analogous the consequences of a man marrying today. It is a bad decision with consequences that go far beyond what anyone should have to endure. A rational man would conclude that getting married is not in his best interest.

  22. The message an advice you have give is truly an inspiration!in which I am going to put towards my relationship. Thank you so much, an thank God my wonderful wife found this message of grace.

  23. I did all of this and some. Turns out she wanted something else.

    The point is…its a two way street. A relationship isnt full time job. Sometime the man needs a little recognition

  24. Wow, I think that if my ex-husband had done any of these things we might still be married. Wonderful advice for anyone in a relationship.

    ivonne

  25. A little to add:

    Listen carefully, even if the other isn’t speaking. Couples have ways of speaking to each other even when they are not opening there mouths.

    Live & share in each others grace.

    Don’t get so caught up in, any one thing that you forget about the other.

  26. Hi Gerald,
    John Pearson here from Sydney, Australia.
    I’m a TV producer on Channel 7′s weekday afternoon show called “The Daily Edition”.
    It’s a new show averaging figures of nearly one million veiwers per day.
    We’d like to invite you on the show to discuss your 20 tips for a successful marriage which have captured the hearts of the ladies here in particular.
    Please reply as soon as possible.
    Many thanks, and warm regards from Aus…
    John

  27. I think a lot of people are missing the point here. This was written by a man from a man’s perspective. It’s advice HE wish he would have had. Because he wrote this beautiful letter I know that he is not unaware that the woman also needs to give in her relationship. Men and women give differently. Each in their own beautiful and unique way. However, he is not a woman…so don’t get defensive because he didn’t write about what women need to remember. Otherwise, it would have been a list for women – not a list things HE wishes HE would have realized.

    With that being said, I would LOVE a woman who has gone through a similar heartbreak to write something geared towards us ladies. :)

  28. I’ve never been married, though it’s been a consideration with previous men in my life. This is a great list, but one thing missing that can also help protect any relationship is the ability to keep issues/fights between yourself & your mate. It has been my experience that when you “vent” to your respective families, they don’t forgive as easily the two people do who are ACTUALLY in the relationship. If the relationship ends, this can cause serious problems if trying to keep things amicable.

  29. This should be presented at the Megafest Festival that’s going on in Dallas, Tx right now – any way to get it there? This is my wish that every man could see :) Amazing words of wisdom!

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  31. Marriage is a covenant, not a contract. An opportunity and an invitation to learn to love unconditionally ~ and to start afresh each day. Never give up. :)

  32. You may not be a “relationship expert,” however your heartfelt post-divorce insights about what you believe constitute a successful marriage are both “wise and spot on” …..and I am a “relationship expert.”

    Let me introduce myself – I am Deb Hecker, Ph.D., a mental health practitioner with over 35 years of private practice experience. Recognizing the lack of sophisticated understanding of the psychology of divorce among professionals, which I desperately needed 25 years ago in the aftermath of my own divorce, I developed a program to help counsel people through the emotional turmoil of divorce and to rebuild their identities as non-partnered individuals.

    I recently published a book entitled “Who Am I Without My Partner? Post-Divorce Healing and Rediscovering Your SELF.” Drawing on my clinical and academic experience as well as my personal divorce trauma, I discuss the challenges of this vital transition and offer constructive solutions.

    In your article, you raise some very powerful points about the essence of good partnering. In my book, it would appear that I have organized some of your suggestions into what I label a “new relationship model.

    In a nutshell, this “model” can be defined in the following way: All successful partnerships consist of 3 entities – (1) You (2) Me (3) Us. These entities must be mindfully and carefully nurtured and balanced throughout the relationship. As partners we must develop healthy boundaries and honor our partner’s need to do the same. It is crucial that we get to know our partner and invest in their growth, as we do our own. And finally, we must learn how to stay separate, but never forgetting that we are on the same team.

    I am most impressed by how you used your divorce as a catalyst to rediscover your SELF. By carefully contemplating your responsibility in the collapse of your marriage and being brutally honest with yourself, you have embraced the journey of post-divorce healing – self examination.

    Thank you!

    Best,
    Deb

  33. I did write this… it was at the end of a long and painful journey that included a lot of soul searching and study. This post only took about 30 minutes to write, and I just wrote it for myself. glad so many others would be touched by it.

  34. Great advice from the male’s perspective–it would be VERY useful to have a companion article that takes the female perspective. This is about sharing and caring–it is great advice for men. However, the other side (advice for women to follow) is a little different. Maybe some items are spot-on but others are missing and others need further interpretation. It would be fun to have them both–and share the responsibility for the 2-way street others have mentioned. I especially liked the idea of a list (#10) of ten things that make her feel loved. Many boys are task oriented–and a list helps!

  35. I read this letter as it was posted by a family member in her facebook page. I will share it as it was wonderful to read it. I am amazed it took you 30 minutes to put it together, that is talent! I believe this letter is very wise and I believe in the sanctity of marriage and even though my experience was not an enjoyable one I have a lot to be thankful for after the aftermath of an ugly divorce. I have grown so much because of it. Jack Canfield is one of my favorite people I see you make mention of him here.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom. It is almost surreal to hear a divorce man talk about marriage this way and you have learned how to bullet proof your next one already. One of my best friends always says Live and Learn and I take this daily. You have done just that! Best wishes! and thank you again!

  36. I find this post so inspiring & heart felt & every time I read it, personally I get a bit more from it … but I agree it definitely works both ways and we should cherish and respect and be grateful for our partner, male or female, EVERY day … every day I am grateful for my partner and what a loving loyal man he is … he is a once divorced man and had a terrible time of it (I’ve never been married but lost my individuality in my previous relationship) but I’m amazed at how un-bitter and balanced he is now and how much he adores me and cherishes me (and women definitely love to feel cherished!) … I strongly believe what Dr Deb Hecker says above too … You Me Us …. this is so important and I learnt the hard way and my current partner learnt the hard way too … this is our mantra … You Me Us :) aaaah life is good!!!

  37. This can be used both ways. I’m very much in love with my man an it is hard work to stay in that love. He doesn’t do much of any of these things, an although I want so much for him to just see me, I know in a small way he does. I have had my time to realize these things an what is most important. He still needs a little help to see, but its not my place to change him… I can only lead by example. I choose to love him.

    Thanks for posting this for it helps in many ways to hear from a male point of view.

  38. I really enjoyed reading this. My husband read it as well. This speaks true to marriage and what we really need to find ourselves doing instead of focusing on what never happened, focus on what did. It will change things and only we have the power to change things, others cannot do it for us.

    You are the relationship expert here… you lived this experience and you learned from it. That is what is most important. And you were brave enough to share your personal experience with everyone else. Thank you!

  39. My husband ticks every single one of these boxes and more – every single day for the last ten years. There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not truly grateful and thankful for the man that CHOSE ME. It is me that needs to work harder to tick every single box to be a better wife…he makes our marriage so wonderful that I DO brag about him all the time, although sometimes I know deep down I need to make more of an effort to give back. This is going up in our house for ME.
    Marriage should be 60/40 – give 60 and take 40.

  40. Gerald aired on the Today Show and I decided to google him. The advice he gives is on point. I have been married for four years and seemed to have hit a brick wall. My husband and I are in the process of a trial seperation. I thought the advice Gerald is giving men is so on point. However, women should also take heed. I emailed my husband and girlfriends the article. Thanks for such a to the point but needed advice for both men and women.

    AD

  41. Gerald I love your self analysis! Thank you for sharing it. Divorce is extremely painful, I remarried after 11 years and now I find myself in a situation in which my husband NEEDS TO READ your 20! During courtship there always seems to be this nicety that is so necessary to maintain in marriage. Thank you again for your post.

  42. Thank you.

    Your article made me cry, yet again. I haven’t stopped in the 28 months since my husband walked out, although he was rarely there before he actually left. Your words are a mirror of our relationship. I was totally invested in my marriage and family. My husband was not. I have pointed out many of these exact things to him and he never got it. He blames(d) me for everything and yet gave his heart and soul to everyone else, but me, and even more sadly, our children. I regret everything. I second guess everything. I know it is a waste of time and energy. I hope I can use your words and move on. You give me a modicum of hope.

    I sense you want her back.(I saw your interview on the Today Show) If I am correct, you have grown so much and deserve another chance. Go for it. What is the worst thing that could happen? If I misread you I apologize.

    I wish you the best.

  43. Wow…I really thought that this was a great perspective given from the male point of view. I fully understand how and why you do not address the “woman’s role” in the relationship- that was not the focus of the post. I hope that some of the men who were looking for that perspective take another look at the content and reconsider their initial assessment that the contents are somewhat “slanted.”

    I am not divorced, but the pain that some of the respondents articulated is palpable. I was especially moved by the gentleman who married the woman with BPD, divorced, then spent his entire life as a single man. The grenade analogy made me sad. It’s one thing to have a bad experience, but to allow that bad experience to change the entire complexion of your life. It seems as though the BDP woman stole his entire life – not just 2 1/2 years.

    No risk; no reward. Although 50% of marriages end in divorce, 50% stay in tack and not because people are “sleep walking” through the relationship. Marriage is a contact sport; it’s physical, mental, and emotional. It is beautiful and grimy; it is neat and compact as well as messy. However the consistent requirement for marriage is work. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, things don;t work out, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try again to find someone to love.

    I’ve been married for 22 years. I intend to be happily married until the day that I die. I know that this will require work. Women have a role too. Marriage is a partnership. Thank you Gerald for highlighting your “lessons learned.” I sincerely appreciated reading your thoughts.

  44. I wished i would’ve read this when it came out. I’m going to follow this from now on. And yes, i realize its a two way street but they are great guidelines for relationships.

  45. Hi Gerald,

    I just watched your appearance on the Today Show and immediately went online to read your post. There are several comments here saying there should be a ‘woman’s/wife’s’ version of these lessons, but I would like to tell them THIS is it. Substitute ‘she/her/wife’ with ‘he/him/husband’ and every single one of these lessons apply.

    My husband and I are going through a rocky patch right now, and I have spent the past several days alternately weepy, angry and resigned. As I read your post, I felt some of the points would be relevant to my husband – things I wish (hope) he would do. But more importantly, I recognized many things that pertain to ME – especially the part about not being present. I realized that I was prioritizing work over home; even worse, I put trivial socialization (blogging, tweeting, etc.) over being with him, even if it was just to watch TV together, share some story about our day or read quietly side by side. While I do not shoulder the blame for his bad decisions or judgment, I do share in the responsibility of keeping our marriage strong and loving. If things are not going well, I accept that my actions, decisions and judgments have contributed, as much as his, to its decline.

    Even before I read this post, I have started to implement some of your lessons in hopes that he and I can put our marriage back on track. We have not yet resolved some very serious issues in our relationship, but I think that by making sure our communication with each other remains loving, then we can hopefully avoid acrimony as we try to work our way through this.

    Thank you for sharing these lessons. While I’m sure many men and women are already practicing what you’ve learned, it helps to see it so clearly and simply written.

    Wish me luck, as I wish you and your former wife all the best in your future!

  46. My husband and I were together thirty five years before we lost each other due to cancer. The day we found out about it, we wept holding each other . Not about the cancer, but because it hadn’t been enough time together yet. I loved him more and more with every breath I took. Oh we would sometimes fight like cats and dogs but those fights lasted no more than five minuets and if they did last longer, we had made a promise to one another to never ever go to bed angry, and to tell each other how much we loved them one or more times a day. I was given a gift when I met my husband. A special, one of a kind gift filled with love enough for the world to share. I miss him . Nobody knows how deeply I miss him.
    So people please don’t take things like an argument last. Of course you will fight, your together allot and that gets on your nerves. Tell your spouse exactly what you feel in your heart and don’t make that some kind of waiting game. Don’t be afraid to laugh, cry, together. Don’t hide emotions because life can be ripped away from you in a heartbeat.

  47. This made me and my husband cry! We have been together 7 years. I think your a wonderful man to wright like this!

  48. Thank you for sharing your pain with others. It’s not an easy thing to do, but a wonderful model for other men. Our society and culture doesn’t make it easy for men to emote. AS a married woman for 36 years who has done the work with my husband – you are so right on. It’s all about being selfless – yet caring for yourself at the same time. Not easy to do – but well worth it if you have someone you love.
    Best to your journey!

  49. Reading the article, I find myself appreciating that the author took responsibility for his actions or lack thereof in his marriage. Of course marriage and relationships are a two way street, but that doesn’t mean that one person shouldn’t realize and act on changing their faults. You can’t change another person but you can change yourself, and that change in yourself may never be good enough for the other person, but at least you’ve made that change in yourself and become a better person for it.

  50. This is the best description of a perfect man I have ever read. I told my wife when she showed this to me I wish I could be like this but I am not perfect. In the real world we have to accept imperfections and dwell more on intent rather than human mistakes. This would save a lot of marriages. I showed this to one of my friends, who said “if that is what I have to do to stay married, I’ll take divorce!” There lies the problem with expecting perfection.

  51. I learned, years ago, that #7 is so vital. Anytime you find yourself blaming anyone, for any reason, over anything, you are cannot see the issue clearly. Very important to never lay blame. Ever.

  52. I loved this. I agree with what some have already said, that marriage is a two-way street. I would love to be loved this way but even more importantly, I would give anything to have someone to love like this.

  53. I agree most with #1, and I think (after 17 years of marriage) that this is the most important bit of advice. Never stop dating, no matter what, find the time! I think the rest is equally up to both people in the marriage. Another piece of advice I’d give is to never stop being the best versions of yourselves, physically, mentally, emotionally, professionally-it’s your responsibility to be a healthy, happy, fulfilled person so that you can enjoy your lives together. Also, always fight fair, and when you do have differences, be mutually respectful of each other and keep it between yourselves. Never involve anyone else in your personal business between you and your spouse, unless you’re talking to a neutral party, like a couples’ therapist.

  54. Great list and hats off to Gerald!
    Now the key is putting his advice into practice.
    I have written a “playbook” for called “The Men’s Secret to a Happy and Sexy Marriage in Less Than 10 Minutes a Day”.
    Download the first Chapter for Free to build on Gerald’s advice: http://goo.gl/WuKIag

  55. Kind of my situation, and those words couldn’t be better said and expressed. Certainly are the most important points to follow in a relationship, I wasn’t married but I was living with the best boyfriend I ever had and I learned most of this text. I learned that as you feed yourself you have to feed the love, you have to make the relationship not the relationship to made you, that love isn’t guarantee at any point, you need to make this love truthful, happy and it will last as much as you want it, as much as you make it last.
    Wise words, wise advice… sad story

    however the life continues and God… daddy God always have a plan and a lesson in all of this.

  56. I love this list especially #5 – you can only change yourself. I’m going to give it to my children before they marry. I think so often people get married with all sorts of expectations.

    For Sabrina: There are some people who are married and happy – really happy and content. I’ve been married for 18 years now and there have been ups and downs but I’m married to my best friend and I really try give him all he needs and he does the same. I love being married.

    If I could add to your list Gerald I would add: COMMUNICATE COMMUNICATE. My mother set a bad example of just expecting my father to know her needs and I watch it and began my marriage with the same attitude. Over the years through various incidences I’ve learnt to say what I want and make my own plans. So when my husband doesn’t wash the dishes when I wanted him to, I don’t do it anymore complaining to myself as I do the task – I go to him and say, “I’m tired I need help.” I also don’t moan when he doesn’t plan that romantic dinner for our wedding anniversary, I plan it and he responds so enthusiastically. What’s surprised me is that I’m having to ask or tell less. He seems to know what I need.

  57. Someone mentioned that THIS advice goes both ways… I “sort of” disagree. I don’t think you have to teach a woman to Love. I believe if you love her, she is just made to Love you back. Anything else I would dare say is solely in response to something you have done or said. Her heart aches to Love you and to be loved by you…

  58. Pingback: Divorced Men Shouldn't Give Marital Advice | The Blackdragon BlogThe Blackdragon Blog

  59. After being married for almost 20 years, divorcing and remarrying for 33 1/2 and loosing the love of my life I can truly say I had the best.. This blog by Gerald is great
    One thing he left out was God. I would say that is the main key factor. To have God in your home. Marriage is not 50/50. Sometimes it’s 80/20. You have to work together. 24 hours a day. Give and take , but communicate. You can like a person but not LOve that person, you can love a person and not like them It works better if you do both. Find time to play it keeps you young.

  60. This was a well-written, heartfelt aricle. The beauty of the advice is that when one person changes his/her behavior, those around him/her adjust as well. It’s hard to be dismissive of someone’s kindness, especially when it is deliberately directed at you. This kind of thoughtful, intentional attention makes a powerful statement. My heart avhes for those who do dismiss this kind of intimacy; such an opportunity for true connection is precious.

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