Advice for (and from) Married Men

One wedding tradition that I’ve always admired is that before a wedding, married men would take the groom aside and impart whatever wisdom they had gained to the newest member of the League of Married Men.

Recently, Alex Howard joined the club and in a few weeks, Steve Ressler will be inducted. Here are five things I’ve learned in the course of my years. Other Married Men (and women!) please add your thoughts below.

  1. Do the laundry, and when doing so, read the tags–if it says “lay flat to dry,” do not put it in the dryer!
  2. Cook; learn to make at least 3 salads, 5 entrees, 3 desserts.
  3. Take a lot of pictures and at least once a year, make a book of photos.
  4. Learn the names and stones and metals and find out which ones she likes (topaz? citrine? sapphire? lapis?)
  5. Give her cards for small reasons and write something in them to indicate when you gave them to her.

Here is a bonus, but this is as true for women as for men:

  • Learn the formulae for sincere apologies and thanks (apology: “I’m sorry I did X. It was wrong and I won’t do it again.” no excuses, just an admission of guilt and a promise not to repeat. “Thank you for X. It was really thoughtful/generous/amazing etc.” Focus on the gift and the giver, not on yourself)

Here is a double bonus. I can’t take credit for this, it was given to a friend of mine by his father about 3 minutes before my friend walked down the aisle.

Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut.

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Andrew Krzmarzick

Great string! I can’t tell you my best tips yet or I’d give away my sermon for Steve and Eli next week, but…I can add the following five pieces of practical advice:

1 – Establish a date night – And honor it faithfully (same day every week).

2 – Eat evening meals together – Put all screens (TV, phone, laptop) away or turn them off.

3 – Practice presence – Turn away from whatever else you’re doing to listen (I suck at this).

4 – Learn her love language – And make sure her love tank is full.

5 – Be the host, not the guest – How do you prepare your home for visitors? Welcome your wife as warmly.

Steve Lunceford

I’m celebrating 16 years today, so I’ll keep it to two simple tips:

1. She’s always right.

2. See tip #1. Seriously, even when you *think* she’s wrong, remember the first tip.

And one more tip just for Steve…remember to stop calling her your “Lady” and start calling her your wife 😀

Carol Davison

1. Remain your wife’s sweetheart, and keep her as yours. The spouse relationship sometimes descends to that of an old shoe. Serviceable, but not exciting.

2. Make time for each other like with the date night, especially as you become busy with other things. You can alternate weeks treating the other to their delight. Fabulous idea Andy!

3. Speak in her love language, and teach her to speak in yours. For me, it was a letter. Phone, text, email, facebook won’t do it. When I was separated from my husband I would carry his letters around in my pocket all day, anticipating that I would savor them at night when I was alone.

4. Realize that unlike men who are happy when their physical and hunger desires are satisfied, women are feeling beings and need their emotional needs met. Do your part, but both of you need to encourage friendships external to the relationship. You don’t want to become her girlfriend.

Andrew McLauchlin

Totally agree with the “speak each others’ love language” comments. Great book to read together (get two copies) to figure out what that language is (and it’s likely different for each of you) is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Check out items from Champman at

Other area along the lines of “make time for each other” is to look for ways to align your hobby time. For example, instead of playing tennis in a men’s league and your spouse playing in a separate women’s league, look to find a co-ed one you turn into a date night. Sharing an interest is great!

Another important thing: Consciously make choices that demonstrate her she’s your priority. That will require discipline and self-awareness of your own long-built-up habits, and a willingness to set them aside to do things important to her instead.

My prayers for you and your fiancee for a long and happy life together!

John Bordeaux

She is always beautiful. You don’t acknowledge passing flaws, and when she (trust me, when) forces you to acknowledge them, just tell her: “I don’t see it, honestly. I see you, my bride. Nothing more beautiful. What you just showed me doesn’t matter, because I don’t see you as body parts. I just see my bride. And you can’t change that. You’re beautiful.” And mean it.

Heather Coleman

Lots of well wishes for Alex and Steve both! When my husband and I went to the courthouse 8 years ago there was a plaque that had a profound saying on it. It said, “In order to make a marriage work, you have to work to make a marriage.” I’ve always kept that in mind. To me..marriage is always active and constant.

Kathleen Smith

For the first year of marriage, the marriage and each other are the priority. No exceptions. Work, friends and especially family are #2 to setting the foundation for the marriage. By taking this time, this first year you set the precedent with yourselves and your immediate community that the marriage is important and center to your life.

We didn’t do this our first year of marriage – allowed work, friends and multiple competing family obligations continue to rule our lives. Then we moved to DC on the day before our wedding anniversary, and we said “do over”. It was the BEST thing we ever did. For that entire year, we didn’t work late, no work travel, we saw friends but if we wanted to do something together that took precedent and the holidays were spent creating our own traditions and not getting caught up in whose family’s house do we go to.

There are tons of books on how to get married, but none on how to set the foundation in the first year. Take this and all the other wonderful suggestions to build a great foundation. All the best!

Susan Nelson

My 7th anniversary is this Sunday, and a month before our first anniversary, Hurricane Katrina happened sending me on an 11-month work trip to Northern Virginia (from south Louisiana). It was almost our undoing. If you have to travel, don’t take each other for granted and don’t get comfortable living apart. There is always reentry pain from coming back from that type of prolonged absence, so be patient and forgiving.

That said, we try to laugh every day. Fortunately, our animals give us plenty of material. We do the little things which put our hearts and minds in a much better place to handle the big things.

Congrats to Steve this weekend on his nuptials this weekend!

Carol Davison

Reviewing the tenderness of John and Gadi’s input brought a tear to my eye.

But seriously folks how about a chorus of “For he’s a jolly good fellow, for he’s a jolly good fellow, for he’s a jolly good fellow..” and insert the chorus of your locale.

Kathy Sciannella

My advice would be:

1. Put each other first. There will be work, friends, family, and perhaps, kids but remember you chose each other and make each other a priority. (Sage advice my mother gave me prior to marriage).

2. Have fun together. You can get caught up in the day-to-day things — stress, mini crisis, long commute, whatever, but don’t forget you chose each other and don’t forget to have fun together!

3. Don’t ever publicly criticize your spouse. Privately, you may have lots to say about what drives you crazy about each other , but to the outward world (and that includes family), don’t “trash talk” about your spouse. (another gem from Mom)

4. Always make an effort to have couple time — ether it be date night, weekend away, an afternoon, private lunch.

Congratulations and I wish for both of you many years of happiness and love.

P.S. I’ve been married for 29 years.



Make sure that when you talk about your wife and your marriage with other people that it’s always in a positive light. An old friend of my husband’s told him the other day that just the way he looked when he talked about me made her want what he had in a spouse because he beamed. That’s after 23 years of marriage. Making sure your spouse is really your best friend, and the most important person in your life is the key.

Susan Nelson

Happy Anniversary to you too, Scott.

We usually take a trip every year on our anniversary, but since I’m in law school (at night), I can’t take a week off from class, so we postponed until after final exams this semester. I am thankful to have such a supportive spouse who supported me in quitting my nicely compensated government consulting job to start law school this fall. So, my addendum to my advice would also be, if at all possible, let your spouse follow their reasonable dreams and support them in the endeavor.

Judy Bradt

Steve, Elizabeth, I wish you both the very deepest happiness! Enjoy every moment of the wedding…and may the marriage surpass your fondest desires and hopes. After over 23 years of marriage, here’s some of the best things that sustain us:

1. Treat every morning you wake up together as a precious, fresh new gift. Because it is. Honor that, and your partner, in every way you can.

2. There is nothing more important that the relationship. (This is a variation on Kathy’s “Put Each Other First.”) Everything else is just Stuff. You can figure it out. This makes #3 much easier…even when there’s a really, really tough thing you’re grappling with….

3. Never go to bed angry with each other.

4. Make a habit of treat each other with kindness and gentility…even and especially for the small things. Did he empty the dishwasher? Did she fill up your car with gas? Say thank you…and acknowledge and recognize that these are all acts of love and caring.

See ya when you’re back…Judy

R. Ann Abercrombie

Lots of good advice already imparted.

I wish you both happiness, whole-hearted

when things get tough, and really, they will

remember the one you met and wed is in there still

have fun together whenever you can

show love and affection both woman and man

be patient, and listen, even when you fight

and when push comes to shove – remember SHE’S RIGHT. 🙂

Suzy VandeGriff Bennett

Honor your “Life Partner” as you would like to be honored. Show respect and consideration, Listen, & hug often.

I love the suggestion about learning eachothers Language of Love, because they are different from eachother. Great advice.

Arlana M. DeLeo

Aloha nui loa and congrats to Steve & Eli!

Best advice I can give to any married man (including my own hubby) is to be a good listener, and share lots of smiles and love. The little things count the most.

Bryan Conway JD, PMP

-Do not criticize your spouse for not being something that that person never was. Marrying someone in hopes of changing them is a really bad strategy!

– (This is actually advice to be taken well before you are at the point of getting married, but) Be yourself as quickly and as often as possible. You can’t realistically sustain a performance that is disingenuous, so don’t engage in false advertising!

-Give credit for “maintenance” and improvement. At the same time, maintain and improve yourself at every opportunity! Look at who you were when you met – that is your baseline! Don’t use marriage as an excuse to relax, get comfortable, and coast.

David Dejewski

12 years into a second marriage, I think the best advice I have is this: take everyone else’s advice with a grain of salt. You are each unique and your relationship will become something that will be just as unique. Relationships come in all shapes, sizes, moods, configurations, and hair styles. It’s a funny, enjoyable, and sometimes pathetic buffet out there. Enjoy what you’ve got and laugh together at the rest.

Scott Horvath

Congratulations! A few things would be:

  1. Never let your work get in the way of your family. Since you’re married now, that means your wife. When you have kids, it’ll mean with them as well. Set the precedent now.
  2. If, and when, you do have kids…always eat dinner together. It’ll make you happy, your kids, and your wife.
  3. When your wife is having a rough day…make her a bath, or at least suggest one to her to help her relax.
  4. Always remember to compliment her, tell her how much you love her, and surprise her when it’s least expected.
  5. Clean the toilets. Yes…it’s absolutely one of things that most people hate to do…including your wife.
  6. Never hold back your feelings…it’s always better to talk about what problems you might have. You might end up in a little argument sometimes, but it’s better than holding it in and letting it all out at once down the road. Communication is key…it’s not just a saying…it’s the truth.

There’s never enough advice. Just make sure you always find time to spend together, help each other out, and make each other happy. Enjoy!

Rob Hankey

We all make mistakes, no sense in pointing them out.

Work together as much as possible….shared time together makes you closer.

I also like David’s advice….find any opportunity to laugh together.

Liamarie ASA

Take every opportunity to appreciate each other and express it with “thank you and I love you” its simple and meaningful to women, jolts us back to reality when we stop to listen to those unconditional words.