Advice for Newlywed Couples

Saskatchewan was not one of the places on my bucket list to visit. Go figure. But here I am in seat 17C on an Air Canada flight from Toronto bound for Regina. My husband’s nose is buried in some thick legal brief making it impossible to talk to him, and the dude in the seat in front of mine has fully reclined his chair and is practically in my lap.

Despite these minor irritants — a Regina (versus a Paris) destination, a husband absorbed in work, and claustrophobia caused by an inconsiderate fellow traveler — I am really thrilled to be heading to Regina this weekend. My friends Brydie and Simon are getting married!

My husband has been asked to give a toast at the celebration tomorrow. He is feeling honored; I am feeling miffed. Sure, I get that Brydie and him have shared some pretty intense experiences including half a dozen trips to Guantanamo for work (now there’s a destination), and cohabitating for three months while conducting an out-of-town murder trial (drum roll please for being the coolest wife on the planet for agreeing to their domestic arrangement). But still.

I think Brydie and Simon are missing a real opportunity here. Shouldn’t it have been me that was asked to say a few words? Have these future newlyweds forgotten that I spend hours every week devoted to research and writing about matters of the heart, and that I’m just so darn witty and insightful? Not to mention I have some pretty solid street cred being married to the same guy for a very long time.

So, I’m going to take matters into my own hands, and do what I do best — provide unsolicited advice. Brydie and Simon, here is the one piece of advice I would like to offer you, with love, on your wedding day.

Remember to ask yourself, “What does he/she expect of me?”

Let me tell you a story.

An acquaintance once told me about his Aunt Edith. She would be over 90 now if she were still alive. She was a single career woman long before it was popular to be one, and had a number of liaisons. She used to say, “I look for three B’s in a man: Brains, Bed, Bread. Any man I date has to have at least two out of these three things.”

Why only two?

“Well” Aunt Edith explained, “Is it really fair for me to expect a man to have all three B’s – intelligence (brains), money (bread), and be a good lover too (bed)? After all, I ask myself, what is it that I can offer HIM?”

And therein lays the beauty of Aunt Edith’s philosophy. She understood that if she expected a man to be perfect by possessing all 3 B’s, then he had a reasonable expectation for her to be perfect too. And we know, nobody’s perfect.

It’s hard not to feel disappointed in our spouses from time to time. Resentment (a sure fire relationship killer) can easily set in when we feel our partners are not measuring up — maybe they don’t pull as much weight around the house as we think they should, maybe they spend too much time with others and not enough with us, or perhaps they have too much ambition or not enough of it.

I think Aunt Edith’s advice is good advice for every couple. Bearing in mind not only what we expect of our partner, but also what our partner expects of us is the foundation for a good relationship deal — and can remind us that things are not as out of whack as they sometimes might appear.

I’m excited for tomorrow’s marriage celebration. I can’t wait to witness the next steps that Brydie and Simon take as a couple, to toast them with other family and friends who love them, and to assure them that, well, there’s plenty more advice where this came from!

Sue Nador hashes out expectations in the messy world of love. Follow her on Twitter: @Sue_Nador and her weekly blog The Relationship Deal.

Image(s): Saul Herrera

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