On Marriage: Advice to Newlyweds and Beyond


Tracy Shawn, M.A. (See Amazon Author Page at: https://www.amazon.com/author/tracyshawn)


The following piece is a revised letter I recently wrote for my soon-to-be married niece. I’m including it in my blog feed because it offers universal advice to newlyweds—as well as people trying to keep any long-term relationship alive.


The first thing is this: Love does NOT conquer all. That being said—it sure as hell helps!


When you drift down the aisle on your wedding day, the heady drug of attraction and optimism of youth will make it seem as if love is all you need. And, sure, love is what brought you and your partner together in the first place; love is the major ingredient that will hold you two together in the long run. Yet, life beyond your rose-scented marriage ceremony will sometimes smell less-than sweet!


When the intensity of infatuation mellows, when everyday frustrations overwhelm, when life disappoints, your love—and relationship—will be tested. How, you may ask, can you and your loved one pass this test? After being with the same man for over nearly thirty years, I offer this advice: Respect Your Differences, Communicate Your Needs, and Laugh Together. Please note, by the way, that all relationships take time and patience to work. In fact, I need to heed the following tips myself more days than not!

A. Learn to respect your partner’s point of view—and teach your partner to respect yours as well. No matter how strong your bond is you will remain two separate people with different histories, genetics, and ways in which you cope. For instance, when you’re stressed, you may need more time to yourself. When your partner’s stressed, he/or she may need to blow off steam with his/or her friends. The more you two respect your differences, the healthier your relationship will be.

B.Communicate your needs—and teach your partner to communicate his/or hers as well. Misunderstandings, fights, and resentments can often be avoided with clear communication. Don’t be afraid to assert yourself, while also taking time to listen to his/or her views. It can be difficult, I know! Here are some tips:


  1. Make sure not to hit below the belt—ever.


  1. If you do hit below the belt, apologize immediately. Owning your mistakes as soon as possible can save a lot of heartache later.


  1. Discuss important topics after you’ve eaten (trust me, this one IS important!).


  1. Share your curiosity, interests, and passions. Relationships can wither when all that’s discussed are the division of chores, complaints about work, and ongoing resentments within the relationship. Make sure to connect on a level that’s more engaging, discussing topics such as current events, opinions about movies, books, and TV shows—even if (or maybe—especially) if it’s something as wickedly fun as “Revenge.”


  1. When all else fails, go out dancing with your friends—without your partner (we all need a break from time to time).

C. Make the time to have fun and laugh together. The muck of day-to-day life can dull even the shiniest of loves. So, enjoy small moments, like walking the dog together under a moonlit sky or enjoying a performance by your local theatre troop. Plan big adventures together, too. It’s memories—not things—that will create a happy marriage.


Spend your time wisely with each other—with humor, empathy, and forgiveness as your backdrop. And when the years roll by, remain grateful for that sometimes infuriating, but almost-always wondrous thing called love.


About Tracy Shawn, MA

Tracy Shawn, M.A. lives and writes on the Central Coast of California. Her award-winning debut novel, “The Grace of Crows,” is available on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/author/tracyshawn) and other online book outlets. She is currently revising her second novel. Please visit her at: www.tracyshawn.com.