6 marriage tips from grandmas you’d be a fool not to follow

6 marriage tips from grandmas you’d be a fool not to follow

Be careful what you look for because you might just find it

“My great grandmother always told me to be careful what you go fishing for because you may come out with snakes. As a therapist, I share this with my clients when they are suspicious of what their partner are doing. They may think they want to know everything but are the results worth the fallout from that information? Often we tend to think we are ready to know all the dirty details only to realize we were better off before.” —Shannon Battle, licensed professional counsellor

Saying no has a price

“My grandmother told me, ‘What you won’t do for your man, another woman will.’ As a married woman, I’m finally beginning to understand the wisdom in her advice. Sometimes we get comfortable and think our spouse will never look elsewhere. Marriage can get stale so it’s important to be open to making adjustments as we go through different experience, age, or change.” —Shannon Battle 

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

“As a child, my Southern grandmother taught me that successful relationships were more a result of character than content. As such, her favourite saying was ‘You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.’ Now that I work as a marriage counsellor I see how true that is. It’s important to always speak kindly even in tense situations as kind words help couples establish and maintain habits of fair and equitable collaboration that creates a stronger bond.” —Bill Benson, licensed marriage and family therapist and clinical counsellor at The Mental Gym

Let him (or her) win

“When I first got married my grandma told me to ‘always let him win.’ At the time, I didn’t like this advice because I didn’t think it was fair. Why should I always let him win? As I got older and more mature, I see her point and see why this is such an amazing way to be in a relationship. It’s not that we get taken advantage of, or let ourselves be used or abused, but it’s about letting your partner win with the small things. It’s about compromising for the sake of a peaceful marriage. You give in to smaller conflicts for the good of the whole, and for a more peaceful union.” —Karenna Alexander, dating and relationship coach, based in Connecticut and New York City

Have a hot meal ready

“My grandma always had a delicious meal waiting for my grandfather and told me to do the same. At first when I heard her saying this it seemed outdated and even a little silly. I figured a guy should love me for me, not for my cooking skills. And it’s true, if you have a good guy, you aren’t going to lose him if you are a bad cook. But that said, cooking a meal for someone you love is a way of showing them love and that a you are there for them every day. It’s a form of communication, even on days when you both are exhausted and have nothing left. It’s a way of communicating love and creativity and caring, even when words aren’t spoken.” —Karenna Alexander

Pretend you can’t open the pickle jar

“My grandparents were married for 41 years and my grandma told me her secret: ‘Sometimes you have to let the other person feel needed, even if they aren’t.’ She explained how she would have my grandfather do little things like filing papers, or opening jars for her. She knew how to open a tight jar herself but she would still leave the tight jars until he came home from work. ‘Nobody wants to feel like you don’t need them to do nothing!’ she’d tell me. I understood later in life that even though I can change my own tire, my significant other wants to feel like he is the only one who can do it. And I am okay with that.” —Whitney Tillery, relationship coach and blogger at shewriteablog.com (Here are 12 other tiny ways to make your spouse feel loved.)

Written by Charlotte Hilton Andersen. This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.