Planning a wedding might have its tribulations, but married life is when the real work kicks in.
It can be daunting, but it's also massively exciting, and totally worth it!
photo by CJ Williams Photography via Bridal Musings
While we're always open to tips for a happy marriage, some sources of wedding advice are more reliable than others.
Your parents, friends, and relatives. Magazines, websites, and TV. Or maybe you've read advice in books or sought it out from a therapist.
But do you know who knows most about making a marriage work? People who've been there, done that, and clocked up the anniversaries to prove it!
Photo by Phil Chester via Bridal Musings
We hit up our happily hitched readers, reached out to our married friends on Facebook, and contacted some of the best wedded wedding bloggers in the biz.
We asked them for their number one tip for a happy marriage, and the responses we got back? Well they're pretty wonderful!
Prepare to be schooled, with awesome advice for a great married life…
My Best Piece of Marriage Advice for Newlyweds
Marissa Lambert via Style Me Pretty
The venue, the flowers and décor are all a wonderfully pretty and romantic backdrop to your day and I wholeheartedly believe that you should go all-out to prettify your day as much as you desire.
But on your wedding day, standing next to your new husband, surrounded by family and friends and an awful lot of love, it really is just all a backdrop. Never forget that. – Louise Beukes, B.loved (Taken from her awesome three year anniversary post)
Photo by Beca Companioni Photography, via Bridal Musings
Make time for one another. Real time – not five minutes on the couch after work. Schedule out specific evenings or days for the two of you to spend time catching up, talking and enjoying each other. – The Broke-Ass Bride
Don't expect it to be amazing all the time. The first year of marriage is a bit strange. Something shifts when you get married, neither of us could put our finger on it. Appreciate the other person for all the little things they do, don't take them for granted.
You become a unit when you get married and that can take a while to work itself out. It's really not just about you anymore and you have to consider the other person.
Remember to not take it too seriously, you married for a reason, and make time to laugh. – Ciara, BM reader.
Photo by Studio 1208 via Bridal Musings
This May, my husband and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage. We were super young and went through a lot to get to this season of our lives, but one thing has been a consistent source of encouragement in our marriage… HELPING OTHERS!
When we are busy, getting dirty, project minded and passion driven… We are unstoppable and it makes me love him so much more each time he gives of himself to someone in need. – Danielle Calhoun, Black Sheep Bride
Communication is key! And separate bathrooms, haha! – Budget Fairy Tale
Photo by Elaine Palladino Photography via Bridal Musings
Compromise: Teamwork makes the Team WORK. You have to be able to compromise from time to time. Meshing two individuals raised in different homes with previously unrelated worlds, requires a lot of adjustment. – Kunbi O, Aisle Perfect
Marriage is about choosing your spouse. You are choosing to love them every day. Choosing to have them go through the ups and downs with you. Choosing to be a family. Choosing marriage. – Lauren Grove, Every Last Detail
Marriage should be fun! It should be about laughing and loving each other.
If it's not fun, something isn't right. – Shafonne Myers, Pretty Pear Bride
Try to remember those small things that are special. Spontaneous surprises throughout the year. Handmade, homemade, or personalised gestures show you really get your partner. – Niall, BM reader.
Photo by Die Hochzeitsfotografen via Bridal Musings
Have a life outside of the relationship—and enjoy it. While it’s easy to fall into a regular routine with your partner of work, home, sleep, repeat, it’s important to make time for your solo self, whether it’s a date night with your best gal pal or volunteering at a local shelter.
Too much focus on your relationship can actually harm it, so step away every now and then, you’ll be surprised at how satisfying it can be.
Bonus: it’ll give you something to talk about when you get home other than what to do for dinner. – Brittny Drye, Love Inc.
Photo by Nabil Shash Photography via Bridal Musings
Show grace to each other. No matter if he is having a bad day or she is distraught in pain, condition yourself to give unmerited love especially when he/she causes frustration or annoyance to you.
My husband is really good at this; he always goes beyond to care for me even when my grumpies are in full force and I really don't deserve it.
Marriage is give and take– a balancing act of the perfect and imperfect and the deserving and undeserving. It's never easy, but it's one of life's greatest adventures. – Chelsea LaVere, Tidewater and Tulle
Can I give more than one tip? I know, so greedy!
1. Communicate with each other.
2. Dedicate quality time with each-other without the distraction of work/emails or social media.
3. Keep enjoying finding out new things about each other!
And my biggest tip: 4. Always, always share laughter with each other, it diffuses an argument in moments. – Nova, Nu Bride
Photo by Kaysha Weiner Photographer via Bridal Musings
I think the key to a good marriage is communication (even during the hard times!) and a good dose of humor. – Esther Friedrich, Belle & Chic
A cup of coffee in bed in the morning… cook together in the evening. It's not about being over the top, it's about your togetherness! – Trish, BM reader.
Photo by CJ Willams Photography via Bridal Musings
Play stupid little games. It's the little things that really add up day after day and make everyday life manageable.
My parents used to play this dumb game where they'd see who had the most pennies on them at any given moment.
My husband and I throw our hands up after a finishing a meal (like an American football touchdown) to see who “won”. It really is the small stuff that keeps you together. – Cris Stone, Kiss My Tulle
Photo by Tonie Christine via Bridal Musings
Laugh often, even when you want to strangle your spouse. My mother-in-law told me that all of those little somewhat-cute-somewhat-annoying things in our relationship would come to annoy the crap out of me over time. She was right.
But she also taught me to approach little annoyances with laughter and hugs. She also taught me to be patient above all.
I believe this combination of laughter and patience is one of the truest expressions of love. It's easy to love when things are easy.
The real test is to love when your irritated as hell. Socks in the middle of the living room floor again? I say, Oh Hubs! with a giggle. Then I pick them up, giggle more, hand them to him and give him a hug. He laughs too and tries to remember better the next time.
Learning to love fully and deeply is a long game. It requires patience. Love is like water. It softens the edges over time. Christie Osborne, Mountainside Bride
Photo by Claire Eliza Photography via Bridal Musings
Don't sweat the small stuff. Both of you have annoying pet peeves that can drive the other one crazy. Instead, help each other diminish that annoyance.
Are they bad at doing the dishes? Ask them to help you out and do it together. But don't keep it inside and not discuss it, you want a healthy relationship, not an explosive one.
Laugh and Hug! Life, and marriage, is full of hard stuff, and if you can't laugh together, smile together, and hug together, it will be a rough life. Even in your most difficult moments, laugh with your partner.
Don't let days go by where you don't smile and hug each other. Making dumb jokes and cuddling together over a beer and a movie (or doing whatever you both love together) is one of the best parts of marriage. Don't ever take that for granted. – Preeti Moberg, The Big Fat Indian Wedding.
My top piece of marriage advice (at least in my own marriage) is to not get too worked up over tiny things. You have opinions and he has opinions but at the end of the day, are they really worth fighting about?
I’ve spent hours fighting, only to not even remember how the fight even started! Stick to the topic, just get over the little things, and don’t raise your voice – Jenn Hallak, The Overwhelmed Bride
Photo by Jack & Hannah Film & Photography via Bridal Musings
It's a little cliche but i guess it would have to be the old, ‘make time for yourselves/each other'. Have a proper date night/day out as regularly as you can (especially if you have kids!) – Miranda, BM reader
It's the small gestures that go a long way. When you are putting toothpaste on your toothbrush in the morning, put some on your spouses' as well if they haven't woken up yet, make them coffee or tea when you can and of course don't forget to tell them you love them even on days when you don't feel like it – that's when they'll want to hear it the most.
Marriage isn't always easy – but its the small gestures that bring big love. – Lian Matias, My Day Blog.
Photo by Craig Bruce of Brilliant Studios via Bridal Musings
Remember that no matter how beautiful your wedding day is, you should to aim to have the same beauty and love in your everyday lives as a married couple.
It can be trying, it can be testing, but as long as you embrace each other's flaws and allow your partner to make you the best version of yourself, you will find new ways to fall in love everyday.
Believe in your love for each other… Always remember you chose to choose each other, and remembering that choice on a daily basis makes you an amazing team, able to face anything life throws your way! – Charlie, BM reader.
Photo by Lauren Fair Photography via Bridal Musings
So much sound advice there, I love how communication, understanding, and making time for eachother are common threads that run through everyone's advice. Thanks so much to everybody who shared their wisdom!
(Aren't the pics pretty too, just some of our amazing real wedding couples from the last year or so!)
Are you married? We'd love to hear your tips for a great marriage, please do share them in the comments below!
Visit our step-by-step planning guide for more great advice.