Modern Marriage Rules

marraige rules

Every marriage is unique but no marriage is without some troubles. Building a strong relationship helps you both weather the storm of stressful life events such as job loss, change in health, having (or not having) children, death of parents, with grace and support.

Here are our modern marriage rules in order to build the best long-term relationship that is possible in the age of the internet, business travel, and the future of work.


The TO DO list.

Laugh together

It is said that laughter is the best medicine, it is also the best glue to keep you and your partner connected. Even stressful horrible circumstances can be made more bearable when you laugh together about that problem. In therapy, when I ask couples when they were last happy together, it will almost always involve an episode where they were laughing about something.


Fight Fair

Quarrels do occur in all marriages, unless couples are actively avoiding conflict. It is important that you fight fair when you disagree. Do not include these derogatory weapons when you fight: name calling, stonewalling, gaslighting, or use of threats in order to win. The way to feel better with each other does not involve trying to make someone feel worse first. When you argue, focus on the topic at hand, try to share air time, spend as much time listening as you do speak, and if you can’t agree, take a break and then come back to the issue.


Stay intimate

This doesn’t just mean sex. When men talk about intimacy, they often seem to mean sex. For women, intimacy is broader including cuddling, hugging, small signs of affection, holding hands, as well as sex. When intimacy becomes only about sex, perhaps only one partner feels intimate.


Invest time and effort into your relationship

Your marriage partnership is probably the most important elective relationship that you enter in your lifetime. Regardless, many couples do not make time to be together, and drift apart over years and years. Dedicate time to your relationship (family time does not count). If you travel excessively put some dedicated time aside to talk to your partner, rather than squeeze in a call when you really can not talk or concentrate. Your partner needs to feel like a priority.

Having children can change the dynamic of your personal love relationship. Whilst it is important that you love your children, do not forget that your personal relationship is essential to the stability of your family.


Make a modern-day commitment

Commitment, and exclusivity, is important to remain close to each other. Even couples who have ‘open’ marriages have rules of what is considered an infraction of a commitment. Often what is expected from a commitment is not explicitly stated, and it may be of benefit to do so. Contacting old boyfriends, or having internet (Facebook) relationships, receiving special massages when you travel, all of these are possible infractions of commitment. Ask yourself, would your partner be happy if they knew all the details of what you are doing? If not, perhaps put yourself in check. Commitment also requires that you each feel like your partner is on your side with outside challenges. You may privately disagree, but if possible support your partner when they deal with conflicts at work, or even in their family of origin.


Learn from each other

Both of you can help each other become the best that you can be individually as well as a unit, and celebrate this. People’s career and personal goals change as they mature. . Remember the world of work is changing and you may need to prepare for multiple careers instead of one. Are you willing, able and flexible enough to support your partner in the new future of work? Working together as a business partners in your business of WE is just as important of your private business of ME



If you want a long life together, make sure that both of you take good care of your physical and mental health which will influence your ability to live a long life. If your partner is overweight, encourage them to lose weight by exercising with them. If your partner is experiencing job stress, encourage them to engage in therapy.


Express love everyday

Do not save expression of love for special occasions. Kindness, compliments and actions that make your partner feel special, even a text helps to maintain a positive atmosphere. Tell your partner why they make you proud, what you like about them most, what you admire about them. We often consider spreading kindness to others, but forget to focus on our partner first.


Understand your love language

The best way to convey your love for your partner is to express your love in the language of love that they prefer. The 5 languages of love include words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch, time sharing and acts of service (you can conduct an assessment of your style on the website of author Gary Chapman ( . We want to receive love in the matter that we most appreciate. Understanding each other’s preferences is the ultimate form of respect.



Learn to communicate in a purposeful manner. Monitor your communication style. Are you nagging your partner rather than talking? Do you use silence as a weapon?  Do you

avoid important conversations? These tactics help propagate misunderstanding and feelings of resentment or disappointment in your partner.

Learning to communicate can help you better deal with crisis.   If you have trouble talking without arguing practice active listening. Active listening involves taking turns to speak respectfully, without interruption. Before your partner can respond to your views, they must first summarize what they heard you say. Then they get to speak, you have to listen, without interruption. This process slows communication down and take the heat out of an argument by insuring that both parties have the chance to speak, be heard, and acknowledged for such.



Marriage is not only about your happiness; it is about sharing the experience of living together. If one party in a marriage constantly gets their way, at the expense of the other, the relationship loses. Take turns picking vacation spots, taking a child to rugby, picking up dinner.




Just DON’T

Expect things to stay that same.

The world will change, and your lives will change, and your partner will change. Take note of the ways that you change and see if this can be aligned, or at least respected. Standing back and claiming that your partner changed and you didn’t, isn’t realistic or helpful.


Hate what you use to love

Often, we are drawn to people who are very different from ourselves. Sometimes after marriage we find those exact differences repel us instead of attract us. Appreciating that you are different people, and where you have come from, as we well as you are going, can help you respect each other’s’ differences again. Try to list 3-4 things you like about that difference rather than focusing on the things that you don’t like about it


Request perfection

Realising that your partner is not perfect, or as perfect as you once perceived them to be, can lead to criticism and unfair judgement. If your partner was once fit, and now isn’t, encourage them to be fit again, rather than tell them they are unattractive. We are all unique, and imperfect, as we should be.

If your best friend’s partner earns more, weighs less, is taller, stronger etc than your own partner, do not compare. No body every really knows what goes on in their friend’s marriages.


Resurrect and replay the past

The past is the past. Bringing up mistakes of the past is demoralising and detrimental. If you find yourself stuck repeatedly exploring old hurts you might like to consider counselling. You can learn from the past, but being stuck in the past, prevents you from building a positive future together.


Toxic negotiations.

When you argue with your partner using disrespectful descriptions of them will not help achieve your goals. Negotiation is not about complaining, blaming or bullying. If you want to negotiate appropriately, respect is an integral component if you want your relationship to benefit.


Rightly righteous.

Ask yourself, is it more important for you to win a fight, to be right, or to maintain a harmonious relationship. Being married involves some compromise rather than criticism. Delicate feedback is to be appreciated. Dial down the criticism. Admit and apologise when you are wrong.


Disparate division of labour.

Who does what, and when, is often the source of conflict in relationships? Not just cleaning, but also child care, organisation, bill payments, working outside of the home, all contribute to the labour that a family requires to keep running smoothly. When division of labour is uneven, or perceived to be unfair, resentment grows. Regular discussion and review of division of labour within the home is to be encouraged.


Me not We

Firstly, if one partner gets their way all of the time, or sets all of the family rules, this leads to an imbalance. A situation where what ME (I) wants becomes what WE do, leads to imbalance and resentment.

Secondly, it is said that marriage is the combination of two people who are whole in themselves, rather than the addition two people who are half of what they can be, making 1 unit. Whilst you must continue with your own self-development, you also need to understand that your relationship requires development as well. You need to make sure to develop as an individual, and spend time together developing a life together.


Substitutive intimacy

Seeking intimacy through pornography robs men of a real relationship and maligns masculinity within marriage. Marriage is for brave, real, and secure people. Accept no substitutes for real intimacy.


Your marriage is important, nurture it and it will flourish. Deprive it of attention, poison with criticism, delay sharing and caring, and it can not grow.


#marriagerules #romance #love #respect #intimacy #reddoor #rmentalhealthessentials

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