10 Commandments for a Happy Marriage

Now that you're married and settled in, here's a refresher course with tips to staying happily married after you say "I do"

5. Thou shalt not even bother trying to keep up with the Joneses. Let's get things straight. There will always be a couple that is funnier, more attractive, sexier, wealthier, nicer, hipper, healthier, smarter, more successful, and more glamorous than you two. Got it? Even if you are the grooviest couple in the room at one party, you won't be at the next. If you are constantly comparing yourself to other couples (some of whom you will find out later were just faking it on the road to divorce court), you will miss out on enjoying how happy you are just being yourselves.

6. Fight a clean fight. When you were dating and you got into a spat you may have found that slamming doors, crying and racing back to your apartment were effective tools in winning an argument. He would be so lost without you that he would come running over and say he was sorry. Well, I hate to break it to you, but the tactic is not going to work now that you are married and living together. You're a lot better off staying calm and staying put to solve a tiff. Fight a clean fight and you are guaranteed at least that he'll listen to your point of view. Winning is up to you.

7. Be a team. While you are both successful, independent people, don't forget to cheer each other on, support each other's crazy dreams, and encourage each other to live your best lives. If he's up for a promotion, become best friends with his boss at the office Christmas party. If he's always wanted to ride in the Tour de France, buy two tickets to Paris to see it up close. Lousy day for him? Treat him and his buddies to an after-work gripe session at the corner pub. On the days where your star is shining and his isn't, make sure to pass him the winning shot. In a mean and crazy world isn't it nice to know you always have someone on your side?

8. Be fabulous. Be comfortable being unconventional, glamorous, or unique. You don't have to become June Cleaver now that you're hitched. Who cares if you guys like to have the Christmas ornaments up in June, don't have matching silverware, or prefer Pabst Blue Ribbon to a fine vintage? Let your hair down. You've found someone who loves you, warts and all, so be the marvelous off-beat woman that he fell in love with and never try to be some cookie-cutter Mrs.

9. Be romantic. Sounds crazy but sometimes it's easy to forget what got you married in the first place. Don't stop being romantic, sexy, creative, impulsive, spontaneous, and crazy in love now that it seems easier to rent a video and order takeout. Take tango lessons, get season tickets to the ballet or hockey, go ice-skating hand-in-hand, and let him pick you up for a date. Don't be afraid to be unabashedly Hallmark-card cheesy and profess your love. Whatever it was that got you thinking he was the man for you, keep doing it. Most important, don't ever forget the power of an unexpected drop-everything smooch.

10. Be thankful for your guy. There are times when married life will make you think back to your sensational single days with longing and alarm. You were Mary Tyler Moore, for God's sake, what made you think you wanted to be Edith Bunker? When the love of your life is driving you bananas, it is time to remember how sexy/suave/smart/sensitive/studly your man was the night you first decided that he was IT. Remember how lucky you are to have someone who puts up with all of your nonsense. If through everything, you remember to be grateful for landing the most wonderful man on the planet, your marriage will reflect that, every day.

Copyright © 2003 by Sara Bliss

From the book THE THOROUGHLY MODERN MARRIED GIRL by Sara Bliss, published by Broadway, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted with permission.


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