It's everywhere, and to be honest, most of it's either so ridiculously obvious ("it's never acceptable to throw things at your spouse" Gotcha.) or just plain bad ("You get what you give" Right, Dr. Phil!) that it will either waste your time or make matters worse.
But yesterday, while I was looking for something about education, I came across a post on a site called Today's Letters that defied all of those norms...it was marriage advice that made sense. For instance, here's number 7 from their top 10 list:
7. We Celebrate Each Other: Husband and I love to make a big deal out of anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, and even smaller personal accomplishments. We are each other's biggest fans, and finding a thoughtful gift or preparing a special meal can make the biggest difference in helping us feel known, loved, and celebrated.
How different is this from the stereotype of the husband running out for the last minute present, or the wife begrudging making the holiday dinner. How refreshing to use these days to honor and celebrate our partners! In fact, this tip was the very first one I saw.
There were nine other equally thoughtful ideas, from surrounding yourself with other couples committed to marriage to some wonderful weekly questions to help keep the marriage on track.
I love the ideas behind their post, too. The idea that marriage should be fun...and that playtime is just as important as conflict resolution (maybe more so, because more play probably means less conflicts to resolve.) I love the unconditional tone of their advice...it's not something to do IF the marriage works, but because the marriage is a given.
My DH and I have only been married about two and half years, so we're still learning about our marriage. Sometimes I think that we should be completely on track by now.
But this post not only gave me some great ideas, it reminded me that the learning and growing and improving will never end. And really, that very fact might be exactly what is best about marriage.