I had a couple people (who got married young or are thinking about it), ask me for more relationship tips after reading my post, “The How And Why Of Conquering Marriage In Your Early 20s.” I’ve been with my husband for nine years (whew!) and I’ve learned a tremendous amount about love, respect, responsibility and commitment. Namely, that marriage involves every bit of your being and if you resist being that open, that vulnerable, you’re making things harder for yourself.
Remember that these are just MY suggestions of things that have worked in MY marriage. So pick and choose what makes sense to you. Here’s my best tips for getting married in your early 20s:
- Invest in your marriage. Usually what I mean is that you must spend time together. Dating your spouse is essential, even if you have small children. Especially if you have small children. Spend time talking about your goals and your dreams. Let them know what’s important to you. Spend time laughing together. One of the best dates you can ever go on is to a comedy club or a funny movie. Laughing together loosens you up, gives you a reason to be more laid-back.
- Learn how to fight fair. We’ve gotten to the point in our relationship where we don’t have arguments. We might get mad about something, but we know that we’re each just trying to find a solution. No personal attacks allowed.
- In-laws become family too. This one took me a while to learn. I’m naturally pretty guarded and I only like a certain number of people in my circle at one time. I’ve never been the girl with 20 best friends. So embracing someone else’s family as my own took some time. But over time it became easier to accept and love my in-laws because I realized that those were the people who helped shape my husband into the man he is today, that I get to enjoy.
- Spend time alone. I need time, every day, to just be with my thoughts. I don’t want anyone touching me, asking for anything. I just need time with myself, to check in and see how I’m doing.
- Be financially savvy. In the early days, we had no money. We were just starting out and couldn’t afford much other than occasional Chinese takeout. We weren’t able to save money because everything that was coming in was going out. We frequently had more month than money. But we started reading and putting financial tips into practice. We opened a joint account and funnel money into it each month. We discuss money frequently so we’re both on the same page. No surprises and less stress on our marriage.
- Sex, sex, sex it up! Whatever is blocking you from having an active sex life, is also blocking you from having a better marriage. Do what you have to do to make sure your sex life is awesome. I can’t stress it enough. When we’re not having enough sex, it shows in our marriage. Regular sex (whatever frequency it is for you) is an amazing way to show your love, release stress ,and get your heart-rate up. Experiment with times, locations, frequency. If you usually have sex in the evenings, try morning sex. Do it in the shower. The kitchen floor. The garage. You get the idea.