Thank you so much to everyone who responded to my marriage survey last week! I loved reading every single answer, and we got a ton of great advice (and learned some things about our friends and family that we didn't know already). If you haven't already taken the survey but want to impart some loving advice for us as a couple and tell your story, please go ahead and take it now!
We had answers from 21 people, including two couples where both partners responded. We had answers from couples married in every decade from the 1970s to today, and the most popular years to have been married were 2011 and 2012, with three people getting married in each of those years. Perhaps not surprisingly given the demographics of my friends and blog followers, we had 3 men respond to the survey and 18 women. Couples met at prom, at the auto shop, online, at work, through friends and family, and at Panera. Only one person asked that we not share their answers.
Also, I wish I could share every answer I got, because they were all delightful! But, I'm picking out just a few highlights here. If you have anything you think I missed or should definitely add, let me know in the comments!
The Secret to Making Marriage Work
"Marriage isn't 50/50, it's both people giving 100%."—Evie E.
"Understanding that you're both not done becoming people, and your relationship isn't done either. Everything always changes."—Liz O.
"Compromising while remembering we're doing it because we love each
other. Compromising is the worst! I hate it! But we're both stubborn and
it's the only way anything ever gets resolved. It helps to remind
yourself that you actually like each other when you do it."—Anon.
"Always assume the best about your partner. Just because you see each
other daily, that is no reason not to treat them with the same - or
really, more - kindness, politeness than you treat other people out in
the world. Pick up on "bids" for connection/attention and don't rebuff
"Still allowing each other to enjoy the things that we did separately as
well as the things the we do together; understanding the need for
"My favourite bit is having our own little in-jokes that always get a
grin or a chuckle out of the other person. And when you're with other
people and you remember it, you can't help but grin.
I guess that's representative of friendships and relationships in
general, but what is marriage but a bit of both?"—Anon.
The Big Day: the Good, the Bad, and More of the Good
"It was like being at my own funeral, but I got to be there!!! Everyone I loved there to support us. Surreal. Beautiful."—Evie E.
"The worst was, by far, parts of planning where everyone wanted to give their input as if it was something that I hadn't been thinking about/working on all day every day."—Anon
"When the marriage officiant asked if we have anything to say to each other. I hadn't prepared anything and was nervous to speak off the cuff, but [my husband] went first and simply said, "I love you" without any hesitation."—Anon.
"No bad parts. It was the best party I ever threw. All the stars aligned to make a perfect day for an outdoor wedding."—Anon.
"The best part was the party. We had a simple cheap ceremony with a ton of friends and family in a park with kegs of beer and a taco bar. It was a fucking blast."—Luke W.
"Worst: my mother went rogue. She had birdseed to throw when the ceremony was done, but we didn't have a recessional aisle, so we just stood there and got pelted. So much birdseed came out of my bra many hours later."—Liz O.
Practical Advice: Finances, Family, Fighting
"I spend and he worries."—Maryann M.
"We're both personal finance nerds so we're really on the same page, which I think is important to both of us. We view our money as a shared pool, though we definitely discuss any large purchases beforehand. We have similar goals for our money (travel!) and both want to save but also want to live enjoyable lives, so we haven't had much conflict in this area, even though we had very different debt burdens after college—and still do. We were really serious about our relationship by the time we graduated, so even though we didn't merge finances until we were married, minus a joint account for rent/groceries, I think we were already both thinking in terms of shared resources."—Rachel H.
"Spending time as a family and taking turns with kid responsibility is really important to both of us. ... Even though we all need to work to afford to live, you can get another job, but not another family. If I had a husband who didn't get that, I wouldn't still be married."—Lauren D.P.
"[I found work-life balance] by becoming my own boss. It was priority in my life that I have
flexibility for my family, so I make my own schedule and make sure to be
home early and take days off constantly."—Regina
"Our biggest family rule is don't talk shit about your spouse to your family members. We are a team, first and foremost. I am the ambassador to my family and he is the one for his. That doesn't mean I am not close to his family - I am! But if there is an argument or we need to enforce a boundary, we know who's running point and who gets to make the final call."—Anon.
"Apologize! Even if you still think you were right, your ego is not more important than your marriage."—Jennifer C.S.
"We sit down and talk it out. We always try to see the other person's perspective and come to a solution together."—Lisa R.
"You're going to fight and you're going to disagree and have bad days. You're going to annoy each other. You're going to have to go through tragedies and such. Just remember that (ideally) you've picked the one human being on earth that understands you better than anyone else, that loves you the most and accepts you in spite of your many flaws. Remember that and why you love them in the first place."—Scott M.
Final Words of Wisdom
"There is no "right way" to marriage. However it works for you, is the
right way. Vulnerability, for me, has always been the right path.
Ultimately, don't be afraid of things failing. If you take risks and
they don't work out and your marriage grows from it - yay! If your
partner drops the ball or you realize you want something different, then
you saved yourself wasted time. Keep striving for your own personal
development even while being partnered. Marriage doesn't need to become
the majority of who you are. ❤"—Lauren D.P.
"It's a big deal and you figure it out day by day. xoxo"—Evie E.
"Just love each other!!! Remember that what works for some couples may not work for you guys and vice versa."—Lisa R.
"It's pretty great. Also, people are going to write you checks
immediately at your wedding to your 'married name.' You sign both
your maiden name and then the name on the check on the back, one after
"Good boundaries during the wedding planning process will reinforce when you make decisions your families don't like later on down the road. (In our case, we were quickly labeled the "weird ones"- great! I'm going to do my own thanksgiving, weirdly.)"—Liz O.
"Love is easy. People who tell you you have to constantly work on it is
lying. All the compromises, all the communication, all the figuring
things out, is easy when you love someone."—Regina
"It can be very hard work, at times, but never lose site of the love that brought you together. And, keep laughing."—Anon.
"You guys have been together for so long and you clearly love each other.
You're golden! Honestly our relationship did not change much after
marriage except give us a sense of freedom, which seems odd. But I think
we both felt a sense of comfort in being legally and emotionally tied
to the other person. We could have bigger, more important fights without
worrying the other person would just walk out on us. We could take
bigger risks with our careers knowing the other person would support us."—Anon.
"Y'all have been a happy couple for so long, I think you're plenty ready. 🙂 As for the wedding, don't forget to eat!"—Scott M.
"At the end of the day, it really is just a piece of paper; it has no
magical power on its own to make or break your relationship."—Anon.
"You'll be fine! 💖(If you still want to get married after 10+ years, god bless you.)"—Anon.
"Apparently people will ask you for advice, whether or not you're
qualified to give it! 😉 Haha - but actually, it's not so different from
being in a committed relationship, though for me it does have a bit of
an added cozy us-against-the-world feeling."—Rachel H.
"Just love each other and don't go to bed mad."—Maryann M.
"The commitment you make to each other and the legal condition of marriage are two different and separate things."—Luke W.
"Kristin and Roger, surveys and input are great, however, you will find
your own way in working through any conflicts in your relationship (and
happiness of course). All of your family and friends will always be
there to provide support and advice. Weigh it out and decide what you
want to use!! Love you both, and wishing you nothing but happiness now
and in your married life!"—Linsey H.