26 Marriage Tips from Grandmas You’d Be a Fool Not to Follow
Who knows better how to have a successful relationship than someone who’s had decades of experience?
Be careful what you look for because you might just find it
“My great grandmother always told me to be careful what you go fishing for because you may come out with snakes. As a therapist, I share this with my clients when they are suspicious of what their partner are doing. They may think they want to know everything but are the results worth the fallout from that information? Often we tend to think we are ready to know all the dirty details only to realize we were better off before.” —Shannon Battle, licensed professional counselor. And there actually are some secrets it’s fine to keep from your spouse.
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it
“As a child, my Southern grandmother taught me that successful relationships were more a result of character than content. As such, her favorite saying was ‘You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.’ Now that I work as a marriage counselor I see how true that is. It’s important to always speak kindly even in tense situations as kind words help couples establish and maintain habits of fair and equitable collaboration that creates a stronger bond.” —Bill Benson, licensed marriage and family therapist and clinical counselor at The Mental Gym. But there are also some specific things you can tell your spouse to help make your marriage happier.
Let him (or her) win
“When I first got married my grandma told me to ‘always let him win.’ At the time, I didn’t like this advice because I didn’t think it was fair. Why should I always let him win? As I got older and more mature, I see her point and see why this is such an amazing way to be in a relationship. It’s not that we get taken advantage of, or let ourselves be used or abused, but it’s about letting your partner win with the small things. It’s about compromising for the sake of a peaceful marriage. You give in to smaller conflicts for the good of the whole, and for a more peaceful union.” —Karenna Alexander, dating and relationship coach, based in Connecticut and New York City
Cook his or her favorite meal
“My grandma always had a delicious meal waiting for my grandfather and told me to do the same. At first when I heard her saying this it seemed outdated and even a little silly. I figured a guy should love me for me, not for my cooking skills. And it’s true, if you have a good guy, you aren’t going to lose him if you are a bad cook. But that said, cooking a meal for someone you love is a way of showing them love and that a you are there for them….It’s a form of communication, even on days when you both are exhausted and have nothing left. It’s a way of communicating love and creativity and caring, even when words aren’t spoken.” —Karenna Alexander
Pretend you can’t open the pickle jar
“My grandparents were married for 41 years and my grandma told me her secret: ‘Sometimes you have to let the other person feel needed, even if they aren’t.’ She explained how she would have my grandfather do little things like filing papers, or opening jars for her. She knew how to open a tight jar herself but she would still leave the tight jars until he came home from work. ‘Nobody wants to feel like you don’t need them to do nothing!’ she’d tell me. I understood later in life that even though I can change my own tire, my significant other wants to feel like he is the only one who can do it. And I am okay with that.” —Whitney Tillery, relationship coach and blogger at shewriteablog.com. Here are 12 other tiny ways to make your spouse feel loved.
Sing it with me: R-E-S-P-E-C-T
iStock/Jacob Ammentorp Lund
“My grandmother showed me that the secret to a lasting relationship is respect. Treating your partner with respect even when angry or upset with them makes all the difference to your relationship. Using respectful language when talking to them and respectfully listening to them when they disagree with you or have a differing opinion is crucial to lasting success.” —Rosalind Sedacca, certified life coach and author of 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60!
Never miss an opportunity for contact
“To nurture your relationship you need to touch one another from time to time throughout the day, according to my grandparents, who always had their hands on each other. A pat on the back or on the butt, a quick kiss now and then, holding hands when walking together or a just a simple hug keep your relationship special and intimate.” —Rosalind Sedacca. Check out these little ways to strengthen your marriage in just one day.
Before you light a match, check to see if you’re the one holding the gasoline
“My grandmother used to tell me, ‘Before responding in anger when your partner does something, stop and ask yourself if you have done something similar or as annoying to them in the past. The answer is almost always yes.’ This showed me that when we walk in our partner’s shoes we are less likely to judge, criticize, or alienate our partner. We can be more understanding and tolerant and more able to build bridges to heal relationship challenges as they occur.” —Rosalind Sedacca. It may seem counterintuitive, but these 15 marriage tips from a divorce lawyer can really help.
Sex isn’t a soccer match
“My adopted grandma gave me some great marriage advice. She told me that things in the bedroom may not always be an equal 50/50 split but happy couples will prioritize the other person’s pleasure over their own. And it’s okay to be the one to put more effort into romance sometimes. It’s not about winning, it’s about being happy.” —Stacey Greene, author of Stronger Than Broken: One couple’s decision to move through an affair
Hygiene is always important
“My adopted grandma told me to always make myself pee after having sex. She said that even if I was tired, to get up and do it as it would keep me from getting an infection. She’s not a doctor but I took her advice seriously and never get urinary tract or yeast infections so maybe she’s on to something!” —Stacey Greene. If you’re preparing to get married, make sure you’re abiding by these etiquette rules brides and grooms should follow.