It’s no secret that marriage takes work. After all, we’re only human, and humans make mistakes, have bad days and sometimes even forget to load the dishwasher (again).
Nevertheless, some couples are able to foster happy, healthy, totally awesome marriages that actually do last a lifetime. How?
A a Reddit thread emerged Sunday asking the happily hitched to reveal their secrets to marital success. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Be nice.
“Choose kindness whenever you can — you should be AT LEAST as nice to your spouse as you would a stranger or you were when you started dating.”
2. Enjoy each other’s company.
“My wife and I are each other’s best friend. We like each other’s company. We like having fun. We like doing stuff together. We are honest and direct with one another.”
3. Say “I love you” as much as possible.
“Overuse ‘I love you’. Seriously. Just say it to him/her like five times and MEAN IT. This lets your SO know that you care. Look at them and say ‘I love you so much, you mean the world to me, I appreciate all the things you do for me and our family.'”
4. Be honest.
“Be honest about shit that pisses you off, don’t sweat the small stuff, and have good sex.”
5. Limit outside influences.
“Out of state in-laws.”
6. Small tokens of love go a long way.
“Lots of wee lovings. Frequent demonstrations, in the form of gifts, and expressions of affection, which indicate your emotional addiction.”
7. Distance can and will make the heart grow fonder.
“Have alone time. I believe that it helps if you or your partner goes away for a couple of hours, a weekend or maybe a week once in a while. My wife travels to Europe every four months and I get to play video games and eat fried dumplings all day long and I enjoy it — until day four at which I start missing her and wish she was here. So when I pick her up from the airport we are both happy to see each other again.”
8. Be realistic.
“Me and my wife constantly acknowledge what we love about one another, but also we never forget about the 80/20 rule. No one person will ever give you a 100 percent of what you need, we estimate that we each give each other about 80 percent of what the other person needs in a relationship. Recognizing this allows you see the reality of your partnership and not over-romanticize it.”
9. Cherish each other.
“Don’t forget how important the little things are, like a hug or a compliment. Don’t take each other for granted.”
10. Be your own person.
“One must understand the importance of we, but also remember there will always be a you and I. It’s so easy to the think of yourselves as one person once you get married or start dating. But you always have to remember that you’re both completely separate individuals in that, as close and as similar you are, you will have differences in opinion and taste.”
11. Build a strong foundation of friendship.
“You have to be friends. Your husband or wife should be someone that you’d want to hang out with. Of course you have to have the sexual aspect but that’s not enough to sustain a relationship. You’re going to go through hard times and you need someone who you want to spend your time with.”
12. Know that relationships are a two way street.
“Be honest about what you want and need and listen to your spouse about what they want and need.”
13. Lastly, no marriage is perfect — and that’s okay.
“Understand that nothing is perfect forever. There are going to be disagreements. There will be times when your partner says or does something that hurts you. The happy relationships will talk about it and work through it. The bad relationships will let it stew until it becomes an even bigger problem.”
Any non-white person who has online dated will know that race always comes into it. Even if you don’t explicitly mention it, your inbox will inevitably contain messages from people fetishising your colour. You’ll also get the odd comment from racists who just want to tell you how much they don’t like your skin.
But more than that: you’ll be subtly judged for your colour at every turn. I know because it’s happened to all my ethnic friends.
One of the most telling incidents occured more than a year ago when a friend was using online dating site OKCupid. A man messaged her, telling her how attractive he thought her “Latino tan” was. When she pointed out that she was actually Indian, and naturally brown, he stopped replying immediately.
It might have been down to a variety of reasons, but experience told her that it’s because he didn’t want to date an Indian girl – or, indeed, any girl who was radically different from himself. A glance at his profile suggested he was Latino.