His Tips for Newlyweds
Soliloquy Bridal Couture owners, Miriam and Tony Liggett, have been married for over 30 years. Together, they have successfully navigated the often murky waters of marriage through both good and bad times. Based on what has been successful in their own marriage, they offer these bits of advice to prospective couples to be. In this post we’ll hear from Tony who will offer his tips for newlyweds. In an upcoming post, you’ll hear from Miriam.
Tips for Newlyweds – Tony
First, I want to stress that these are not professional opinions, but are my own personal observations and tips for newlyweds. They come from the successes and mistakes that Miriam and I have had over our 30+ years of marriage. I hope that you will find them helpful and informative, and that they help you start off your new union primed for success. I don’t claim to be an expert. But experience can often be the best teacher.
1. Make Sure you Really Know the Person you are Marrying
The first of my tips for newlyweds is to really know the person you plan to marry. Contrary to what we see in most Hollywood and celebrity marriages, marriage should be a life-long commitment. It’s hard to make that type of commitment to someone you don’t know – someone you first met three months earlier. Too many people these days seem to marry because they are infatuated. You can only get to really know someone over time. Miriam and I dated for over four years before we were married.
My mantra to our daughters is “a year and a half.” I’ve asked them to please don’t tell me you are marrying someone that you have not dated (not just known) for at least a year and a half. In the first few months you are still dating – giddy and weak knee’d over this new love you’ve found who can do no wrong. Both of you are still on your best behavior, polite, respectful, just had a bath, hair combed, mouth smells sweet, etc. While that does help you know the person in good times, you need to see all sides. In a year and a half I believe all sides of that person – to include how they interact with both families – will come through. You’ll see them through some good times and some bad, and the whole person will reveal themselves. If you are still in love after a year and a half, then you’ve cleared a significant hurdle. This is especially true for those 35 and younger. Of course the older and more experienced you are, you may be able to get away with a shorter time.
2. Discuss and Understand Each Other’s Finances
My next tips for newlyweds is to discuss your finances (incomes, expenses and debts) BEFORE the marriage. When you get married, you take on the other person’s debt as well as their incomes. Nothing can get a new union off to a rockier start than to find out that along with the new spouse you also have huge credit card bills. Discuss it up front, establish financial goals and have a plan. One thing Miriam and I did that I offer as a tip for newlyweds is to maintain THREE bank accounts – one for each person and a joint account for common savings and expenses. When we first got married we combined our incomes and we paid ourselves an equal “allowance” out of it. We each put our allowance into our own accounts and we managed and spent it as we saw fit without having to consult the other. The rest went to the joint account from which we paid the common bills and built up the common savings. This gave us our own bit of independence while allowing us to have a joint focus on the monthly and long term finances. This worked well for us. I ran across this article by Margarita Tartakovksy, MS for Pyschcentral.com that you might find helpful:
“Newlyweds have to navigate a variety of sensitive issues, such as finances and family, in their just-married life. And it’s easy to make mistakes….” More at 7 Tips for Newlyweds on Avoiding Common Mistakes & Improving …
3. Be Willing to Minimize “Self”
The best of my tips for newlyweds I can offer – and probably the hardest to do – is for both parties in the marriage to quickly stop thinking “me”, “my” and “mine” to accepting “we”, “us” and “ours.” That can be a difficult transition. Until now both people in the union have been the captains of their own ship – not having to answer to anyone. You could just pick up and go out with friends whenever you wanted and stay as late as you wanted. In a marriage, you have to commit to a partnership. Ours is a Christian based marriage – with a strong belief in God at its center – that believes that husband and wife become one. Whether that is in concert with your beliefs or not, for a successful marriage each member of the union will have to willingly give up some independence for the sake of the marriage.
4. Balance it with some “Me” Time
While it is important to WILLINGLY minimize self, we are all human and occasionally need some alone time. You may have some interest that your partner just does not have. Each member of the union should also willingly give the other some space to pursue those interest. I like action movies and Miriam does not. Miriam likes shopping and museums and I do not. We are both okay letting the other have the time and space to go to a movie or shopping alone. But from time-to-time each needs to relent and share the others interest as well, just as you need to relent and give the other space.
It would be disingenuous if I didn’t admit to you that marriage is hard and takes work. When you and your spouse hit rocky roads – and you will – don’t give up. Work at it. See if from the other side. Say “I’m sorry” (and mean it). Never go to bed angry, and be careful who you share your troubles with.