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1001 Things Happy Couples Know About Marriage(Like Love, Romance, and Morning Breath)
By HARRY H. HARRISON JR.
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2009 Harry H. Harrison Jr.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMarriage Plans
1. You need to know the marriage is more important than the wedding. And requires even more planning.
2. You need to know your relationship will be sanctified.
3. You need to know you're promising "till death do you part." Not "till the good times end."
4. You need to know to marry for character more than for good looks or money. Okay, a little more.
5. You need to know to use your mind as well as your heart when you choose a spouse.
6. You need to know a happy couple is made up of two individuals committed to each other.
7. You need to know about Trash to Treasure, where you can find everything from wedding gowns usedonce to deep-discount wedding decorations. Go to TheNest.com, then click on Community, then Trash to Treasure.
8. You need to know you're choosing the person you'll spend the rest of your life with. And still make passes at when you're both on walkers.
9. You need to know you're launching into a fifty-year conversation, interrupted by life.
10. You need to know it's normal to think this whole wedding thing is a mistake.
11. You need to know that a happy marriage is the art of putting the other person first.
12. You need to know a $100,000 wedding can be a down payment on a fantastic home. Think about it.
13. You need to know to not put off marriage because you can't afford the wedding. You can get married for fifty bucks.
14. You need to know if you start with a budget instead of the guest list, you can maintain control over your wedding expenses.
15. You need to know the last thing you want to do is get in hock over your wedding. Scale back grandiose plans.
16. You need to know to register your wedding at practical stores like Target and Crate and Barrel, not just the fantasy stores like Neiman Marcus and Tiffany's. You need pots to cook in.
17. You need to know to delete your old flames from your cell phone. Inviting them to the wedding is a dumb idea too.
18. You need to know to define for yourselves what husband and wife mean. Don't rely on some book.
19. You need to know nature never intended for you to maintain that overwhelming feeling of new love forever. To begin with, your brain would probably explode.
20. You need to know that scientists have found there's totally different brain chemistry at work in couples who've been in long-term marriages from in newly-in-love couples.
21. You need to know that marrying, raising children, and sending them out into society makes a huge impact on your community and the world.
22. You need to know things change the moment you say, "I do." Don't think your life together will be like it was when you were dating.
23. You need to know to not expect lifelong bliss, free of problems, quarrels, or issues. You will be disappointed. Guaranteed.
24. You need to know from the beginning that love is a decision. Sometimes you make that decision after a fight. Or when temptation walks in the door.
25. You need to know your husband or wife cannot be your complete source of happiness. You'll still need friends. Family. And a hobby. Men will need a TV.
26. You need to know that just because you're married, the two of you won't do everything together. In fact, it's important you don't do everything together.
27. You need to know you have to be able to live without each other. This way you can love each other without feeling like you own each other.
28. You need to know one of the best wedding gifts you can get for yourselves is a marriage skills training weekend.
29. You need to know you can't let yourself go to pot after you get married. There are a number of benefits to exercising and eating right that have nothing to do with health.
30. You need to know to talk about your plans and dreams with each other.
31. You need to know to be on the same page about having babies. When you want one. When your spouse wants one. And does one of you not want to stop until you have seven.
32. You need to know you should always tell each other the truth. Unless she asks you if you think she looks fat.
33. You need to know to help each other chase your personal dreams. It could be writing a book, going back to college, or starting a company. Be each other's cheerleader.
34. You need to know to pray together. Start now.
35. You need to know to never criticize each other in public. This can have far-reaching consequences.
36. You need to know that if you can successfully share one bathroom, one sink, one tub, and one shower, the odds are good you'll stay married.
37. You need to know to take care of yourself. One of your primary jobs as a husband or wife is to stay around.
38. You need to know you're not marrying a fantasy, but a flesh-and-blood person with their own dreams and expectations-and annoying habits and strange idiosyncrasies.
39. You need to know each other's health histories. Does anyone have herpes? Diabetes? A fondness for vodka? Love each other enough to reveal what you're both getting into.
40. You need to know if your future spouse's family has a history of mental illness. That kind of history can impact generations.
41. You need to know to travel all you can while you're young. When you're older, there will be kids, financial pressure, and let's face it, a lingering desire to catch up on your sleep.
42. You need to know that a simple stroll in the park can be romantic. Especially if you leave your cell phones at home.
43. You need to know that regular family mealtime is important. Guard it.
44. You need to know the other person will always love your compliments.
45. You need to know to show respect at all times. Even if you're furious with each other. Respect keeps fights from escalating.
46. You need to know how to make each other feel adored.
47. You need to know everybody has a past. Be gentle with it.
48. You need to know your actions say as much about your feelings as your words do. But it's still important to say the words.
49. You need to know married couples find life less stressful than unmarried couples who live together.
50. You need to know a person won't change just because you marry them. If she's a gambler before you get married, she'll be a gambler after you get married. Only now she has your money to cover her losses.
51. You need to know one of you must manage the money. Someone must pay the bills, keep the family on budget, and be the bad guy when tough decisions need to be made. And the other needs to respect those decisions.
52. You need to know happy couples laugh together a lot. If you don't have a sense of humor, seriously consider developing one.
53. You need to know there are some things she might not give up, even for the sake of the marriage. Like sleeping with the heat on in the summer.
54. You need to know what couples fight about: money, sex, how many children to have, where to worship, even if to worship, and what to eat.
55. You need to know to celebrate each other's successes, no matter how small. You'll be amazed at how successful each of you becomes.
56. You need to know if you first graduate from college, then marry, then have children, the odds of your marriage succeeding are good.
57. You need to know that saying "I do" means you get to grow old with your best friend.
58. You need to know to say, "I love you" three or four times a day even when what you really want to say is, "Why is this MasterCard bill so high?"
59. You need to know to make major decisions together. Don't buy a car or lease an apartment as a surprise. It will be.
60. You need to know the other person has to get their way some of the time. It will feel like most of the time. They're thinking the same thing.
61. You need to know a little kindness will help smooth a lot of the bumpy spots.
62. You need to know you can be happy even when the other person isn't. It's a trait found in solid marriages.
63. You need to know you're going to have to compromise on the thermostat.
64. You need to know not all your dreams will be shared. Like your dream about backpacking through the Amazon. It may be yours alone.
65. You need to know any electric blanket you put on the bed must have dual controls.
66. You need to know you can no longer have best friends of the opposite sex.
67. You need to know a marriage isn't a place to keep secrets. Like your secret love for sitar music. He's going to find out.
68. You need to know your spouse should be the most important person in your life.
69. You need to know the flavor of the wedding cake or the color of the bridesmaids' dresses doesn't impact the quality of the marriage. At all.
70. You need to know to establish a routine. Don't be scared of that word. Routine is a good thing.
71. You need to know to practice the fine art of not saying the first thing that pops into your brain.
72. You need to know the strongest marriages are made up of two independent people who love each other, not two needy people who are dependent upon each other.
73. You need to know an ideal family can be found anywhere love grows and flourishes.
74. You need to know to talk about each other's day, every day, even though she just wants to take a bath and he just wants to watch 24.
75. You need to know to try and look good at home. Don't just put on stretch shorts and a Grateful Dead T-shirt and assume you look fetching.
76. You need to know to be constantly aware of the health of your marriage. Does it need attention? A vacation? A babysitter?
77. You need to know happy couples tend to go along with each other's wishes. Except maybe to the tractor pull. Or the scrapbooking store. Then you're on your own.
78. You need to know a happy marriage means finding the one person in the world who accepts you as you are. Well, if you'd just shave. And not use your sleeve as a Kleenex. And pick up your shoes.
79. You need to know that if you can't talk about money and sex, your marriage will never make it.
Excerpted from 1001 Things Happy Couples Know About Marriage by HARRY H. HARRISON JR. Copyright © 2009 by Harry H. Harrison Jr.. Excerpted by permission.
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