Reddit isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when people think of excellent marriage advice. But in certain corners of the Front Page of the Internet, users supply some genuinely great lived-in advice about what it takes to make a marriage work. Sure, some threads can deteriorate into dumb jokes, funny asides, and the occasional rant, but many are replete with honest and affecting words of wisdom from those who genuinely want to help. After diving into a number of threads, we pulled out some genuinely excellent advice shared from one stranger on the Internet to another about love, forgiveness, and more. Take a look.
On Healthy Communication
Open communication is, of course, integral to a healthy relationship. In an /r/AskReddit thread on which a user asked for the best marriage advice out there, Redditor u/brand790 offered a sage addendum to that. “Everybody always says to be honest and to communicate with each other,” he wrote. “The extra step that is left out is to not punish your spouse for being honest. Sometimes you might hear things you don’t like, but if you punish this honesty, the communication line will close.” It’s a small piece of advice that’s worth remembering.
“I’m a divorce attorney and I’ve been married for almost 20 years,” u/TardyMarty wrote in the same thread. He went on to offer simple words of wisdom boiled down from his vast experience with couples who are on the outs. “Here’s the secret: be the kind of spouse that you would like to have by your side. Forgive the things you would like to be forgiven for and fight for the things that you would like someone to fight for on your behalf. The best way to have a good spouse is to be one.”
On Understanding Respect
Sometimes, it’s the simplest platitudes that make the most sense. “My father-in-law dropped this gem during his speech at my wedding to his daughter,” wrote u/erdna3000. ‘Don’t make fun of your spouse’s choices — you are one of them.’” Sound wisdom if we ever heard it.
On Looking Inward
Problems in a relationship are rarely one-sided. And, as u/KelleyK_CVT explained when she shared a story about her mom, looking inward is often essential to solving big picture issues. “When she and my dad were on their second separation, she was out with her best friend and was venting about all the problems in the marriage and all the things she wanted him to change,” she wrote. “Her friend asked her “What are you willing to change about yourself?” It made my mother think about how she negatively affected the marriage too and realize that if she wanted him to change things about himself, she needed to be willing to change things about herself and meet him halfway. They’ve been back together for over 25 years and have been going strong.”
Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses and figuring out relationship tactics that work best for you is a big part of marriage. A now-deleted Redditor offered some excellent advice to this point when it comes to comforting their spouse. “I’m one of those people that absolutely suck at knowing what to say when trying to comfort someone and I’ll always wind up saying something that just makes it worse…,” they wrote. “I think the best relationship advice I have ever received is that you don’t have to always verbally comfort them and you can still let them know you care by just being there — holding their hand or just sitting with them while they’re sad. This has saved me from saying the wrong thing so many times.”
On Understanding Love Languages
No two people express affection in the same way and, as u/oki93009 shared, this is always good to remember. “The whole idea that people express and interpret love differently,” she responded to a thread on the best relationship/advice she’d ever received before explaining that she is more vocal and physically affectionate about her love and her husband is the type of person who performs acts to show his love. They both had to learn — and remind themselves of — one another’s love languages as well as become more willing to show affection in other ways. She finished by saying: “We both love each other more than anything but sometimes it can get lost in translation.”
On Surviving the Long Haul
What does it take to stay married for the long haul? On one thread, where a group of Redditors sought advice from those who have been married for over a decade, u/Liz535 responded with some succinct, yet sage advice. “Know that you cannot be everything to your spouse,” she wrote. “Allow them ‘alone’ time where they can regroup or enjoy a hobby. When they greet you, they will be recharged and ready to enjoy time with you.”
On Staying Strong Through Tougher Moments
In one thread, a Redditor who had been married for more than a decade and described the intense hardships she and her husband have been through, offered up this nice tactic for staying strong during tough moments. “Sometimes, no matter how great the relationship is, you will get mad at each other… When that happens, take a private moment to yourself or call/text a friend and think about/describe in detail the day you got married,” she wrote. “On your wedding day, there was nothing but love and adoration for your spouse. Think about all the big and little details of the day. I can’t get through thinking about it or telling someone without ending up with a giant smile on my face. Then I take a deep breath and keep on moving forward in life…”