After 40+ years of marriage I have been asked, quite a number of times, to give advice and encouragement to patients who were planning to marry. And since our patients are treated like they are part of our extended family, I loved the opportunity to pass on the benefit of my experience.. Also, my wife and I have been invited to many of our patients nuptials and receptions as part of their extended family.
To make a marriage work, start with a mate you already find ideal. Do not, under any circumstances, find a mate who has problems and believe you can change him or her. You almost never can. How do you know when it will be the right person? I have discovered the "acid-test" of any relationship is whether you are happy with the other's company and happy when you are with that person. So, if you are not happy when you are with your intended, cancel the nuptials today! Again, do not expect to be able to get along being "sort of happy" and "sometimes happy" and "when-he's-in-a-good-mood" happy. That won't work. Get one who you are happy with all of the time.
Do not ever compare your spouse with other girlfriends, spouses or boyfriends. If you feel the need to do that, you probably should not be getting married at all. Do not find fault. Tolerate him or her as you want him or her to tolerate you. My dad gave this advice about getting married: "Go through life with one eye closed." In other words, "don't sweat the small stuff!" Do not demand a lot from your spouse. Love does not count up how big a house you have or how many fancy cars, boats or fur coats.
I know this really hard for some people, but give your spouse space. If need be, take up running, gym, bicycling, knitting or something that amuses you and keeps you out of each other's hair. No one, not even the most loving couples can deal with being together 24/7. Also, I suggest you get a mid-large sized, lovable cuddly dog. One for each of you, if you can afford it, to comfort you and warm you when you feel the need. This is far better than searching for other human companionship. Don't do it...just hang with the pooch and you'll be much happier and stress-free.
Love just wants devotion and attention. Do not demand that your spouse be the best looking or the smartest in your circle. IRON LAW: No human is perfect. You will mess up. Your spouse will mess up. Forgive, FORGIVE, F O R G I V E! Nothing on earth has the power of forgiveness in marriage. If it were not for the Godly gift of forgiveness, no marriage would work. Forgiveness, as they say, is really a selfish emotion and act. It helps the forgiver more than the forgiven.
Forget about who is right and who is wrong. What is right is what love and forgiveness tell you to do, not about anything outside of that. Staying married is more important than showing up your spouse in anything. Have a good sense of humor about everything. It's much healthier for you in the long run. It is far better to laugh than cry. Remember this and engrave it upon your heart: Laugh with (not at) your spouse. Do not ever criticize your spouse in front of others. EVER!
The Way I See It....love your wife and your husband as you want to be loved. Love Fully. Love without conditions. Or, as the Old Testament says: "Do not do to others what is hateful to you" which Jesus paraphrased into, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Properly enjoyed, marriage is the best device on earth for preserving life, sanity and hope. But use it gently. It works if you work it with love, forgiveness, humor and a dog or two!