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?
Relationships are like a pot of stew—better with time
“My mamaw loved teaching me how to cook and she’d use it as a way to sneak in life lessons. For instance, when I was struggling with a big decision in my relationship, mamaw told me ‘Don’t rush to act, but rather treat your response or decision like a pot of Brunswick stew or a fresh apple pie and give it a day. When you come back to it 24 hours later, it will be all that much better.’ Decisions made in the heat of the moment often end badly and I use this with my clients all the time.” —Eric Marlowe Garrison, author and sex therapist
“When my mamaw was in her 80s, she’d show me the most romantic love letters from her then teenage boyfriend (and my future grandpa). She’d steamed open all of the envelopes because he would leave her secret messages written under the flap saying, ‘If you find this, I owe you a hundred hugs and kisses.’ It showed me the importance of including romance in the little things and now as a sexologist at William & Mary College, I teach this type of conscious courting to my college students and clients.” —Eric Marlowe Garrison. Check out more valuable marriage advice from relationship experts.
You’re not a mindreader in a penny machine so stop acting like the Great Santini
“I am a grandmother of three and if I could give my grandchildren one piece of advice for their marriages, it would be to never assume your partner knows what you are thinking. Always ask them how they feel, even if you think you know the answer, just to make sure. You may just be surprised. People often do things because they thought the other one wanted them to when the reality may be the opposite.” —Hyapatia Lee, former Blessed Woman for the Lost River Band of the Cherokees in Mitchell, Indiana and author of Native Strength
Don’t hang your dirty laundry out for the neighbors to see
“Before I was a grandma we didn’t have social media so people didn’t share things about their relationship like many young people do now. But I think it’s still important not to air your dirty laundry. Don’t go running to your friends, the internet, or worst of all, your family, to vent about your latest argument. You may kiss and make up but they may not be privy to the apologies and it makes it harder for those that care to forgive. Naturally, if there is a fear of violence or the relationship is ending, this does not apply.” —Hyapatia Lee. It’s OK to post some things about your relationship on social media, but avoid sharing these 8 things.
Equality starts with home (and burned shirts)
“My grandmother was from Poland and left Eastern Europe in the 1930s. Although she was a typical woman of her generation who was uneducated and whose role was to be a wife and mother, she always had an eye to women breaking out of a subservient role. When I got married, she took me aside and said, ‘If he asks you to iron his shirts, say yes and then burn them with the iron. He will never ask you to do them again.’ That might sound harsh but I realized she was telling me in her own way how to important it was to elevate myself to be a true, equal partner in my marriage.” —Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, founder and chief relationship advisor of Relationup
Don’t be an old (or young) fuddy duddy
“My grandma told me that her secret to a happy marriage was to be open to trying new things. Entering a relationship with another person necessitates becoming acclimated to their world so it is important to get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Even if you think you won’t be interested in it, that doesn’t mean that it won’t enrich your life and it will make your spouse happy. This advice has helped be open to inviting a new person into my life and creating a life together.” —Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, a licensed clinical professional counselor and co-founder of The Marriage Restoration Project
If you can’t agree, just agree to listen
“In an argument it can be easy to become entrenched in your own views, but my grandma taught me to avoid this by always trying to see the other person’s point of view, even (especially!) if you disagree with them. You don’t always have to agree with everything your spouse says or does but you do have to acknowledge the validity of their point of view.” —Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin. Following these communication rules for happy couples can help.
There’s a lid for every pot
“Whenever I used to fret about my love life, my dear grandmother would tell me, ‘Every pot has a cover.’ At first I didn’t realize the value in it but as I got more experience, it helped me see that if I was patient enough, I would eventually find the ‘cover’ to my pot and I did so in my husband David. There really is someone for everyone and he was more than worth the wait.” —Audrey Hope, host of Hope For Relationships and an addiction therapist at Seasons In Malibu
Marry for money and that’s all you’ll end up with
“My grandmother always told me to marry a man for love because in the end, real love is what matters. This surprised me because she was a child of the depression and therefore always asked my boyfriends what they did for a living. Yet even then she valued true love over a big paycheck. I followed her advice and now I’m happy and ‘internally rich’—the right kind of wealthy.” —Audrey Hope. These are the 10 things every newlywed couple should know.
Be a cheap date
“As a seasoned grandmother and wife I tell my grandkids to always take time to be a couple. We live in a busy busy world that finds us with little free time. Shared time can be a walk in the park, a cup of coffee at Starbucks, or a free concert. It does not have to be an expensive dinner requiring a babysitter, although that’s nice sometimes too. The important thing is to keep dating.” —Patricia Bubash, M.Ed, licensed professional counselor and author of Successful Second Marriages