I've been married for 15 years. Sometimes it's been great, sometimes it's really sucked, and sometimes we just plugged along because time keeps moving. Being an observant person, here's some things I've learned along the way:
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1) Ladies, we really, honestly can't read your mind. Please, please help us out on this: Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Save the "If I say this then they'll think the opposite" shit for your manipulative friends. We really aren't smart enough to figure out what you mean if you say the opposite of what you want us to do.
2) Ladies, withholding sex from us is not in your best interest. We really do think about sex a lot, and when you withhold it thinking that we'll do things for you that we're not doing, you're asking for trouble. If you gave us MORE sex, we'd be more likely to do those things. Seriously. And sex more often means we can control ourselves better, so we'll last longer to satisfy you. Seriously.
3) We're not good with verbal lists longer than three items. You want us to pick up milk, bread, eggs AND get gas in the car AND don't forget to stop by the post office to pick up stamps? This is what we heard, "Eggs... gas... office," and now we think we should buy some Gas-X so you won't break wind at work. WRITE. IT. DOWN. Seems like a hassle, I know, but it will save time in the long run. Really.
4) Yes, we did just look at that cute thing that walked by and smiled at us. No, we aren't interested in her, because you're giving us lots of sex as was mentioned in point #2.
5) Please don't ask us what we're feeling. Unless it's anger (which we totally understand) or sadness (which is only a 'sometimes-undersand'), we don't "feel" things like you do. Ask us what we think. We like to fix stuff. We want to be your hero, your protecter, the man who fixes things for you when you're hurt or upset or whatever. What we can't deal with is when you complain about that same things over and over and over and not let us do anything about it. Either let us fix it, or let us know we can't fix it then tell us once and let it go.
6) Guys: Take out the fucking trash without being asked. Even if it's not full, take it out, and then (and this is IMPORTANT!) replace the bag in the can! Just do it. She WILL notice (because she's taking it out now).
7) Stop bitching about her to your guy friends. NOW. When she finds out about what you say, she WILL remember it. FOREVER. And she won't forget it - even if you apologize. If the guys ask what's up with your wife/gf, say she's under a lot of stress and leave it at that. If they press, just say, "Well, she does have to put up with ME."
8) Ladies, please tell us when it's a week before you start your period. A simple, "I might be a little moody for the next week," will suffice. We will gladly overlook the odd outbursts due to hormonal imbalances til that week is passed.
9) Men, when your spouse/gf says, "I might be a little moody for the next week," make a mental note and when she seems to overreact over something stupid or starts crying because the mail got delivered 5 minutes late that week, you'll know what it is. And don't tell anyone else, just shut up and keep it to yourself. She doesn't want you announcing it to the whole world that she's PMS'ing.
10) Make time for each other. Even if it's the 30 minutes before you go to bed so the kids are finally upstairs, take that time just for the two of you. Guys, shut up and listen to her once in a while. You might just learn something about her, and besides, she'll appreciate it. Ladies: surprise us with sex when we least expect it. We know you're tired, cranky, and not in the mood because Johnny is sick with the flu. Surprise every so often (not once every six months, either). We will remember this if you do it often enough. Really.
Finally, guys and ladies - learn to overlook the little shit that doesn't matter. Celebrate the little successes you have. Compliment each other daily. Tell them you love them. Say out loud that you appreciate what they do for you. Make sure they know that they are important to you. Do this even on the days that they have pissed you off.
It takes effort on your part, yes. But in the long run, life is so much easier and better when the person you should be closest to really is close to you, and is your advocate when things are shitty, your cheerleader when things are awesome, and your best friend all the time.
It really is a journey together. Have fun and enjoy the ride with them. Life's too short not to do that.