7.29.2008

In this the time of advice giving

Turns out you get yourselves a lot of advice when you're engaged. Some of it has been very good, some odd, and others just plain freakish. Here is a sampling.

Don't run out of either cereal or milk on a Saturday night. This was from GF's sister during a wedding shower, because she knows what a bear he can be in the morning without his cereal. Wait til he finds out that I sing show tunes in the morning.

Don't leave GF's DVDs out of their cases. Or talk during movies. This from another long-suffering sister of GF's. Except the joke is on him because I am a movie talker. Not so much at the theater but when I'm watching at home. And if he gets on me for it I can just point out that he talks during church, as opposed to writing notes, which is a more acceptable way of not paying attention/mocking what is happening around you.

Start calling your in-laws "Mom" and "Dad." I've heard this from two people now, which caused me and Gentlemom to give each other doubtful sidelong looks. I don't think either of us are for this plan, even though I love her dearly.

Don't keep anything in your master bedroom other than your bedroom furniture and your clothes. This was from Peter Walsh's book It's All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff. He says your room should be a retreat, and there shouldn't be anything in there that doesn't help build the mood you're going for. Which means that I may be setting a computer desk on the coffee table, but hey! My room is a retreat!

Don't go to bed angry. Friends, keeping me up late when I'm grumpy is almost as foolish as denying me food. Either way you're going to lose a hand. There's no easier way to convince me that a problem is insurmountable, that life is futile, and that the only way out involves explosives. Sleeping it off generally affords me loads of perspective.

Practice looking at your spouse with loving and longing eyes. This gem came from the book And They Were Not Ashamed by Laura M. Brotherson. We attended a church premarital class on intimacy last Sunday and the teacher drew heavily from that book. (There were also classes about communication, finances, and temple preparation but we skipped that junk and got right to the good stuff.) I thought the bit about the longing eyes was gag-worthy, but then the book said that if you think her ideas are dumb then you especially need to practice them. So there you have it.

I'm sure I'll get more, but I'd love to hear some of the cringe-worthy (or fabulous) wedding/marriage advice you've come across. Let's have 'em!

45 comments:

Miss Hass said... [reply]

I agree with you on the 'going to bed angry' thing. Once I hit the proverbial brick wall, it's time to slip me a roofie and we'll talk about it in the morning. Keep me up too late arguing and I'm likely to suggest breaking up.

I haven't received too much weird advice. Just lots of 'talk it out' stuff. I think that's probably not too bad...

Yankee Girl said... [reply]

I might have shared this one with you already:

I attended a bridal shower thrown by the grandmother of the bride. At this bridal shower they played that lovely "game" where everyone has to give the bride a bit of advice (aside note: I hate this "game" and all other games). When it got to the grandmother (who was also the Stake RS Pres.) she gave this gem:

Keep your husband's stomach full and his loins empty.

True though it may be, there was much blushing in the room.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Yankee Girl, that's one of the grossest things I've ever heard. And you made me laugh out loud in the library.

Jon Boy said... [reply]

I don't call my in-laws Mom and Dad, and I'd feel really weird if I did. (Though they call each other Mom and Dad, so when we're all together I'm the only one calling them by their first names, which is also a little weird.)

And I also dislike the "don't go to bed angry" advice. The only thing worse than fighting is staying up after midnight because you're fighting and then being grumpy and exhausted the next day. I think it's usually better to take a break, try to get a good night's sleep, and then come back to the issue in the morning when you're not so cranky and wound up.

TheMoncurs said... [reply]

A little old lady in my mom's ward wrote the following in my "advice book" from my shower:

Fight naked.

cooldad said... [reply]

I'm contmeplating writing a book about this bit of advice. This is advice for future S-I-L. Three things a husband can say to get out of trouble: Yes Dear, I'm sorry Dear, and Thank-you Dear. These can be used individually or in combination to suit the circumstances and level of perceived trouble.

Janssen said... [reply]

Dude, that stomach/loins comment had me DYING! Oh, too funny.

And it was easy to call Bart's step-dad "Dad" but much more difficult to call his mom "Mom." I wonder why that is?

Rachel said... [reply]

I talk during both movies (only at home) AND church, so I would bug both you and GF.

Rachel said... [reply]

PS: "Keep your husband's stomach full and his loins empty."


EW!!!

Sherry said... [reply]

I've been married for three years, so I'm pretty much an expert.

I dislike marriage advice because it's so general. You figure out what works for you. I'm a fan of sleeping off my irrational anger/frustration. Others can't sleep when they're upset.

And, my mother-in-law asked me to call her "mom," so I do. My father-in-law doesn't care, but I generally call him "dad." There are a total of four children-in-law to these folks, and two call them by their names. This is distressing to my mother-in-law because she wants the children-in-law to know that she loves us like her own children. It was weird at first to call her mom, but I just got over it. And frankly, I know that this whole bit has caused some contention with the other children-in-law, so I've been glad to avoid it altogether.

My husband calls my parents by their names because anything else would just be odd.

And the comment about the loins is hilarious. I want to be an old lady like that one day, but I'll probably never have the guts.

Is there some sort of etiquette about long comments? Am I disobeying the etiquette rules? If so, sorry. I'll stop.

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

Going to bed angry is different than going to bed grumpy. I go to bed grumpy/exhausted a lot--hey, I have three kids and wake up by 3:30 every day--but anger is different. My advice is don't be angry. Arguing with your spouse is highly over-rated. (aka, it sounds better in your head than out loud.)

I'm totally anti-TV in the bedroom. Not for the retreat thing, but mostly for the conversation thing. There is no better place to talk than curled up in bed late at night. And often times that can lead to . . . well, there is something to be said for the empty loins comment. You might be surprised to find that it isn't just good for him. :)

Alicia said... [reply]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kate said... [reply]

Am I the only one in agreement with the stomach/loins advice?!

That's some hard-won wisdom, that is! And my hubby is a very evolved, non he-man type yet that's a gaa-run-teeed formula for a happy husband.

Other good advice I received: talk kindly to each other, don't even joke about divorce, don't fake it, make decisions together, flirt, and appreciate his differences (it's easy to get annoyed sometimes b/c he's not like a woman.)

And don't be scared off by the "Marriage is so hard!" warnings. Marriage isn't so hard...LIFE is. Marriage just blesses you with a friend to go through it with.

Alicia said... [reply]

We were given a gem of advice on our wedding day by my husband's co-worker. He said, "It's all about honor. Get honor (on her) and stay honor." Nice.....

Bobbi said... [reply]

I was at my friend Meredith's wedding reception when the Bride's grandfather (a 90 yr old, married 70 years) was asked by the dj "What advice do you have for keeping a long and happy marriage?"

The grandfather answered "drink good beer." Everyone laughed but seriously...its the best marriage advice I've ever heard!

BEFore said... [reply]

Uncommon Common Sense

I know the guy who wrote this -- he teaches the Courtship & Marriage class at Snow College. Has a lot of good advice + practical things like household items checklist, etc.

Lizardbreath McGee said... [reply]

This is only secondhand, but my favorite bit of marriage advice came from a former roommate, who heard it from a very demure (and elegant) elderly sister in her ward:

Make pies wearing nothing but an apron.

While I cringe at the 50s-esque implications, it does seem to fit rather well with the, er, stomach & loins comment.

Rachel said... [reply]

Hey there, I just happened upon your blog and I must say you are hilarious!! I could totally hang with you! Do you mind if I add you to my friends list,cause your stuff is to could not to pass on :)

Rachel said... [reply]

Okay so that is supposed to say your stuff is to GOOd to pass on d'oh

The Jeppson Bunch said... [reply]

I can't think of any bad advice I got... they did not pass around the book at my shower ;)! But I think the best thing in a marriage is to talk talk talk and talk some more. Levi and I know each other's mind so much that we now are of one mind on just about everything. We have had the best conversations just talking on the way back from the mountains. He always listens to my grand schemes and I listen to his... and together we decide which schemes will work and we keep fulfilling our dreams and goals that way! It is hard to explain. But yeah... hopefully it made some sense!

LCM said... [reply]

Words to think on? Familiarity breeds contempt. I always think of that, I mean the people you are most familiar with, it's easiest to trash on. My husband says that anything you say can and will become a self-fulfilling prophecy...so choose your words wisely.
OH and men are just grown up boys, stuff that seems easy to figure out (for us) just doesn't work for them. You know, like sighing at the laundry basket and then looking at him and sighing again and thinking he will somehow figure out, on his own, to fold the laundry for you. Ask and most of the time ye shall receive!

Stephanie said... [reply]

what did you think of the "and they were not ashamed book"

i had a roomate that read excerpts from it everynight before bed.

i. wanted. to. kill. her.

Liz Johnson said... [reply]

I give you the same advice that my father gave me about marriage.

"The first time you see your husband naked, just sit back with a pleasantly shocked look, and applaud. Everything will go well from there."

Thanks, Dad.

Liz Johnson said... [reply]

Oh... one more thing. This might seem wholly unromantic, but if your husband forgets your birthday and/or anniversary after the first year of marriage, it's your fault.

Justin Styler said... [reply]

On our wedding day an old little temple worker dude told me the key to a happy marriage was two words... "yes ma'am."

jeri said... [reply]

The "don't go to bed angry" was the worst advice ever. Theoretically you might stay up yelling at each other until someone throws a box of Wheat Thins at her husband's head... not that this has ever happened.

The best advice I got was to appreciate your spouse and thank them for the things that they do - even if they're little things, like taking out the trash.

TheMoncurs said... [reply]

This is kind of a side note, but as soon as I read this article, I immediately thought of you. Is that weird?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25803150/

The bit about "Gorgeous countryside cinematography suffused with magical English love-mist" particularly sounded like it should have come from your blog.

Maggie said... [reply]

Weirdest advice: When arguing with your husband both of you lay on the floor and look at the ceiling.

Is that because then I'll be mad at the ceiling instead of him? I didn't get it and I've never done it.

Best advice: When you're hungry, eat. When you're tired, sleep. It reminds me that most of the time I'm upset because of myself not because of him.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Sherry, you leave long comments any time you want! I promise there's no rule. As long as you don't talk smack about my mama.

Kate, for me it wasn't so much about the spirit of the advice as it was about the . . . imagery. Which squicked me right out.

Rachel, welcome and thank you for the compliment! Feel free to add me to any list you like.

Stephanie, I haven't actually read "And They Were Not Ashamed," the teacher just used excerpts in the handout. I may check it out from a library or something, but the "loving and longing looks" bit doesn't make me confident. Nor does the part where she seems to be comparing women to coffee makers which need to simmer and percolate to attain full sexual enjoyment. (How does SHE know so much about coffee makers, hmmmmm? That is what I would like to know.)

Anonymous said... [reply]

The "don't joke about divorce - don't even think about it" advice is the best I've heard. When you consider divorce an option, you tend to judge your spouse's actions -- was THAT the straw that broke my back? Or, how much of THAT kinda behavior will I tolerate? If leaving is never an option, then it brings you almost instantly to reconciliation and problem-solving. Instead of looking for things to "charge" your spouse with, it can change the focus to really looking to make life better for both of you.

Nemesis said... [reply]

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the "Fight Naked" advice. Am I the only one who keeps hearing that?

lifeinthenhs said... [reply]

I have been married longer than even I can remember (though we might be showered with silver next year) and wouldn't dare advise others. Pieces of advice given to me included having my hubby's dinner ready when he got home from work (not easy if you arrive home later than him) and not going to bed on an argument (even if you have to apologize when in the right all the time) this is pretty good advice.

T & J & V said... [reply]

The best (read most embarassing) advice I got from a former YW leader no less, was "If you start fighting, start undressing. You won't be fighting for long." Yep, and just think she used to be in charge of young girls' spiritual guidance!

amyjane said... [reply]

Oh, my. Good luck with all that, She-who-now-has-a-blogpost-all-about-sex.
We have definatey followed the cereal and milk rule, since Sean is a cereal addict and must start his day that way, or we all pay. Makes for really fun Fast Sundays...

Snarky MorMom said... [reply]

The best advice I ever got:

Never use HIS razor to shave your legs.

My teenage girls never got the memo though - fun times.

N.F. said... [reply]

[We attended a church premarital class on intimacy]

Wow! Your ward sounds AMAZING to offer classes like that!

Nemesis said... [reply]

Themoncurs, I'm on crack. GF pointed out to me that someone DID, in fact, say "fight naked." My only excuse is that my brain is full. This is what I am telling everyone when they try to get me to think thoughts.

Nells-Bells said... [reply]

Love this. Yeah, go to bed angry. If we've had a "discussion" and it's late, all hell breaks loose. I still refer to my in-laws by their first names. I know what it's like to leave one of Cort's CD's out of it's case. AND my friend told me to fight naked. I thought she meant fight like wrestle, which was weird. Then I realized she meant argue.

Anonymous said... [reply]

Another great tip:

IF you have an argument, argue naked.

skye said... [reply]

re: but the "loving and longing looks" bit doesn't make me confident.

Taken out of context this does look very dumb but please don't judge this book by what someone else decides to focus a lesson on. There is infinitely more to it than that.

re: Nor does the part where she seems to be comparing women to coffee makers which need to simmer and percolate to attain full sexual enjoyment. (How does SHE know so much about coffee makers, hmmmmm? That is what I would like to know.)

I believe she uses many examples of how women are slow to warm up, and although it's been quite a few years since I read this book, I'm pretty sure this wasn't one of them. But even if it was, you don't have to be a coffee drinker to know how a coffee maker works.

If you want to know what she really says about the above, read the book. We all know secondhand information isn't all it's cracked up to be. :)

I'd also like to add that as a married person, sex really can be the answer to a lot of marital problems. :)

Anonymous said... [reply]

The secret to success in marriage is like the secret to success in living in California: If you find a fault, don't dwell on it.

chosha said... [reply]

I don't think that 'don't go to bed angry' means 'don't go to bed until you come to a resolution'. You just need to agree to set aside the issue with the understanding that it will be revisited later, so that you don't end up on opposite ends of the bed refusing to acknowledge each other because you're still angry.

I think a lot more couples could avoid going to bed angry if they would just realise that their partner can disagree with them and the world will not end. And that compromise sometimes takes more than one discussion to achieve. And that stuff like that is not easier to work out just because you're in love.

Anonymous said... [reply]

The worst advice I got was, "Get married on a Thursday. That way, if it doesn't work out, you won't spoil the whole weekend.

Holly said... [reply]

Totally new to your blog, and I get that this is an older post BUT I am now addicted to your life. Apparently I have not got one of my own. Anyway, having been married, divorced, and remarried (to a different guy, that always raises questions) I would agree with the "don't joke about divorce" thing. My first husband and I would joke, from day one, about how if we ever got divorced we'd live in the same duplex, different sides, so the kids would be close to both of us. Did anyone else not see the divorce coming?

As for the best advice, and it killed me to hear, my mom said "men will enjoy sex no matter what. It's okay to tell your husband you need a little more... help... to enjoy it as much as him." She also said something about how sex is crucial to a marriage and how practice makes perfect or something... I was gasping for breath on the floor by that point and couldn't really hear her.

JustMe said... [reply]

Sex - lots of sex - great, great sex makes for a wonderful marriage.

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