Dear Carlos

Dear Carlos,

Upon hearing that I have been married for forty-seven years to a loving man, your friend asked if I had any advice for a young person considering marriage.  I have no special expertise or qualification for counseling, except forty-seven years’ experience in my own marriage, but I will share that with you.

  1. Respect is imperative. Take the time to see how he/she treats parents and siblings. If a person is not respectful to their family, take your cue from that. Definitely meet their family. That alone will answer a lot of questions about your possible future together. Remember, any children you have may be more like either of your family members than they are like either of you.
  2. Shared values. Discuss your values and expectations. Religion? How will you manage your money? Will you have children? Will you both work outside the home? How will you share responsibility? These factors end relationships every day.
  3. Don’t expect marriage to be 50/50. You will both have to give 100% to make it work. It took me a while to figure out my husband didn’t want to talk things out once a conflict was over. It’s okay to say, “Give me a little time. I am still mad.” It’s not okay to punish or be mean-spirited. Let go of your anger as soon as you can, then put it in the past.
  4. Loyalty. You have to put each other first. We have each other’s back. We trust each other, not wasting time on jealousy and games. We are together because we want to be, not because we have to be.
  5. Make sure the person you love will be your friend forever. You have to be comfortable together, not forever trying to meet their expectations.  You need to be able to laugh and cry together to get through the good times and the hard times.

Best of luck.