OK, so I'm not saying things were perfect for married couples back in the day. In fact, far from it. But the married folks of yesteryear (like, our grandparents' generation) did seem to know a thing or two about staying together. That's why, when it comes to old fashioned marriage advice, there are a few tips and tricks we should steal, all in the name of having healthier, happier, long-term relationships.
Whether it's eating dinner with your partner every night, or refusing to go to bed angry, some marriage advice definitely applies to couples today. That's because old school tips and tricks were focused on staying together, working through problems, and always showing your partner how much you cared. And all of these things can keep a marriage together.
"If we take the best tips, and in some cases, modify them to fit the twenty-first century, relationships might improve and many more marriages can stand the test of time," psychic and spiritual counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. "Old fashioned ways of doing things and being in relationships can be very beneficial today — especially for millennials and anyone who has relationship issues." If this sounds like something your marriage could use, read on below for a few old fashioned tips that still work today.
1. Never Going To Bed Angry
This age-old bit of wisdom is something you've probably heard your grandparents say, and for good reason. "When resolved fights or arguments before bedtime, hurt feelings often didn’t linger, and one or both partners eventually apologized," says Rappaport.
So why not make this a "rule" in your relationship? If you're fighting, either apologize before bed, so neither of you lies awake fuming all night. Or press pause, and promise you'll hear each other out tomorrow.
2. Compromising Whenever Possible
Not to say couples today don't compromise. But if you've been feeling stubborn lately, remember compromise is what keeps marriages together. "Relationships should always have a bit of give and take," Rappaport says. You don't have to give up your dreams, but both of you should be willing to bend slightly, and support each other's goals.
3. Remembering Marriage Is A Contract
The word "contract" is pretty much the least romantic thing ever. But remembering what you signed up for — staying together, in sickness and in health — can mean making it for the long-haul. "Marriage vows should never be taken lightly," Rappaport says. "In a relationship, your word needs to be kept and you need to honor your commitment."
4. Eating Dinner Together As Often As You Can
While it may not seem like a big deal, there are all sorts of healthy reasons to tear a page from the 1950s, and sit down for dinners. Family meals were the time to catch up, share news, and make plans for the weeks ahead.
And that might be just what you need to stay together. As relationship expert Kryss Shane, BS, MS, MSW, LSW, LMSW says, "This can continue a bond between you and keep your relationship tuned in to each other."
5. Keeping The Relationship (At Least Semi) Private
While social media can be great — especially if you want to share your wedding photos — revealing too much info can be detrimental to your relationship. As licensed marriage and family therapist Christie Tcharkhoutian says, "We could take a lesson from the old fashioned ways of not displaying every part of our relationship on social media." She tells me doing so protects the sacred bond of marriage, by keeping it from becoming something that simply plays out online.
6. Divvying Up Your Household Chores
In no way do you need to go back to the days of stereotypical gender roles, if you don't want to. But there is something to be said for divvying up household chores, and deciding which ones you and your partner are best at. (Maybe you're the go-to garbage person, while your SO is all about dishes?)
Knowing what your role is at home can help keep things on track. But it can also be kinda sexy, too. "It might be fun to conduct your own experiment and see if you're more attracted to your partner when he or she is doing tasks that are more masculine or feminine," says marriage counselor and dating coach Samantha Burns. "What drives a good partnership doesn't necessarily drive desire. I know imagining my shirtless husband lifting heavy furniture will get me every time!"
7. Going To Dinners And Parties As A Couple
If you aren't in the habit of going to dinner parties, or celebrating your holidays — maybe due to a super packed schedule — make an effort to change that. "Take the time to remember your partner (and their family members’) birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions," Rappaport says. "Make an effort to remember these things as it will help bond you to your partner and your mutual families."
8. Wearing A Wedding Ring
It's obviously up to you what you decide to wear, and what feels right for your marriage. But if you two aren't currently wearing rings, it might be fun to consider it. "The ring represents your dedication to your partner," says clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, host of The Web Radio Show. "Many couples decide not to have rings, or they take them off, or they forget they have them. But if you look at your ring for 20 seconds at least once a day you will be reminded of your devotion to your significant other."
9. Sticking With Each Other
Of course you should feel free to leave a relationship that isn't healthy, or seek a divorce if you aren't happy. But bear in mind that back in the day, couples weren't as likely to "keep an eye out" for someone new, or leave at the first sign of trouble. And maybe that was a good thing.
"They didn’t go searching over and over again for someone. Life was simpler. You went out on a few dates, got to know each other, and got married," relationship coach Ellen Bolin tells Bustle. "Today, people are always searching for something better out there." With so many dating apps available, it can be tough to feel settled. But it may be healthier to give it a try, and let yourself be married.
10. Showing Your Appreciation
To keep the romance alive, do sweet things for each other to show you care. "If you take the time to do something unexpected for your partner — such as send flowers, make a special meal, or plan a night out at their favorite restaurant — they will appreciate it," Rappaport says. "It helps to remind your partner of your love, and that you do not take them for granted."
11. Making Your Marriage A Priority
I bet you and your partner have busy schedules, and tons of stuff going on outside your relationship in the form of friends, hobbies, etc. But to make things work, you should always keep your marriage top priority.
"There’s always time to say 'I love you' and hold hands, so make sure you do that," says Bolin. "Of course, make time for sex. It’s important! Be kind to one another. You’re building a life together. You are each other’s best friends. Enjoy the ride."