People love to give marriage and relationship advice. Unfortunately, a lot of it will virtually guarantee you end up getting divorced. From those hoary nuggets, like, “Never go to bed angry” and “The way to win a man’s heart is through his stomach,” advice is often so bad because it assumes that you or your relationship would respond to what someone else and their relationship responded to. And that is a misguided notion. Everyone is different. Everyone changes. Life is constantly in flux. What worked wonders for mom or dad-in-law isn’t necessarily going to work for you — in fact, it probably won’t at all. Here are 11 really bad pieces of marital advice from people who really heard it.
1. “You can always get divorced.” A friend actually gave me this advice right before my wedding, when I was suffering from a mild bout of cold feet. While certainly it’s true, it wasn’t the message I wanted to hear right before I walked down the aisle.
2. “Don’t have too many female friends, one of them might try to take him away from you.” I couldn’t believe my mother was insinuating that my friends would try to steal my husband! It was absurd on so many levels. Not to mention that I would never give up my female friends. They’re my lifeline.
3. “Don’t marry a woman who makes more money than you.” My mom actually said this to me — just as I became engaged to a corporate attorney who made skads more money than me.
4. “Don’t take your husband’s last name.” My husband’s first cousin was really pissed that I was going to take my husband’s last name. Not that she thought it was going to affect the relationship or anything, just that she didn’t believe women should do that because of all that individuality/feminist crap. My reasons were really none of her business and I just found it annoying and inappropriate.
5. “Take your husband’s last name.” My dad was bizarrely weirded out by the fact that I planned to keep my last name. Even though it was his name too. He kept asking “what would happen to the children” — you know, the ones we didn’t even have yet. Like we were going to drop them off at a Salvation Army and join a cult.
6. “Every man needs a woman and every woman needs three square meals.” No, mom-in-law, turns out not every man needs a woman. LOLOLOLOL!
7. “Never clip your toenails in front of your husband.” Fuck that. We live in a small one-bedroom. Like I’m gonna leave the room so I can clip my toenails? What will happen if he sees that? He’s going to melt?
8. “Marry a virgin.” Thanks, Auntie. That’ll happen!
9. “Greet your husband at the door with a smile and a drink.” First off, I get home from work after him. Secondly, no sense turning him into an alcoholic. I will smile when I see him though.
10. “Just ignore him.” I guess this is how my mom stayed married for 50 years. She ignored everything about my dad she didn’t like. So I listened to her and did the same. After 10 years, I had high blood pressure, I was overweight, I was depressed, I had psoriasis, and I had so much resentment built up I could hardly speak to him. Sex? Forget it. Finally I realized that was the worst advice in the world and began speaking up whenever I had issues with him. Surprisingly, he could take it! I think he appreciated it. He was tired of trying to read my mind. Now I tell him what I want and expect. He’s a guy. He wants information!
11. “Have sex every night, no matter what.” What am I, a sex slave? No. Just no.