I've been really busy finishing up that dang dissertation and haven't had much time for posting, but I couldn't resist linking http://blog.washingtonpost.com/onbalance/2008/04/top_10_tips... (also pasted below) from today's Washington Post.
What does this have to do with money? Well divorce is expensive and unhappiness is, too!
I'm sure we've all read numerous lists like this, but I think this particular list really hits the nail on the head.
My favorites are #3 and #9. Number 9 is particularly relevant for us this year since we are long-distance. We usually talk once in the afternoon and once in the evening. I'm usually busy in the afternoon and sometimes answer the phone gruff and exacerrated. That's something I need to change. Mr Bean likes #8 and #10? How about you?
Top 10 Tips for Marital Bliss
Marital bliss? Some days I'm happy (really happy) to settle for marital survival.
Here are the top 10 tips for keeping a marriage together, contributed by On Balance readers:
1. Be nice. This is stupidly simple, but it works. Even when you feel like hell, or have a beef with each other, or are tense or tired, make the effort to be kind and gentle with each other. Make the partnership a safe harbor where the other person wants to be. This means taking a breath, biting your tongue and going easy even when that's not exactly how you feel.
2. Before you get married, find common ground on your most important issues -- where you want to live, the role work plays in your family balance, how you will handle your finances, whether or not you want children (and if you are older, what lengths you will go to to have biological ones), the degree to which your extended family are involved in your lives, and what role religion will play in your lives and the lives of your children.
3. Whomever feels most passionately about a position wins that argument. It is rare that, upon candid reflection, you can't unanimously agree that one or the other simply cares more (or as is more likely the case, one cares less). You are going to have different opinions on many different subjects. Winning an argument doesn't mean the other loses. It just means one cared more about that particular issue.
4. Nurturing your marriage is more important than kids -- in part because staying together is so important for your kids. So, make time for each other. Have a regular date night without kids. Sex and affection and time alone together are a top priority. Make dates to cuddle up, let other things slide sometimes, do whatever you have to do. Just don't let it get pushed off the table by everything else that is "important."
5. Stay flexible, in every sense of the word. That means finding a compromise between his need to watch the game and your need get the house clean. It means finding ways to discipline the kids that both of you can live with. It means staying open minded to new ideas in bed. It means communicating, it means nothing is set in stone, other than your core values, which you should discuss and share before you ever get married.
6. Treat the logistics of raising a family and running a household like a small business. Once a week have a calendar meeting. Go over the schedule of the upcoming week or weeks, and talk through what you both and the kids have going on. Make lists about what has to happen to help the week go smoothly and who has which carpool, cooking responsibilities, etc.
7. Have a sense of humor -- some arguments can and should end in laughter.
8. Don't crowd too much into your lives. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.
9. When you get home at night, or when you honey calls in the middle of the day, stop, take a breath, smile, and say "Hello, sweetheart. How are you?" before launching into whatever daily business or complaints you have. Start every interchange on a basis of affection and kindness.
10. Accept that you can't change your spouse, especially by yelling or screaming or playing passive-aggressive. However, this doesn't mean letting small resentments simmer. Deal with them before they become big deals. If your spouse does anything that upsets you, talk about it. If he or she can understand why you are upset, and you can understand why your partner does what he/she does, both parties stand a chance of finding that happy medium.