i have purposefully tried to get different voices as i ask friends of mine who are married well for their opinions on what can help to make a marriage strong and while a lot of my friends have only been married for under ten years, it is clearly an advantage to hear from those who have walked longer and gone through much more, and so it is a privilege for me to share some words from a good friend who has been married for 31 years [longer than my wife has been alive!] so pay careful attention:

So one word of advice – oh my gosh after 30 years that is quite a question. I think my word of advice would be for those who marry someone younger than them e.g. ME MYSELF AND I!!!! If i had to go back and start again I would show my husband a lot more respect, having been independent for so long i was used to getting the job done so if it was his job and he didn’t get it done – i did it – and that’s not good. Let them do it – don’t mother them – it takes a long time to rebuild something when you don’t do it right at the beginning.

Always be a united front in front of the children – especially if there are more girls in the family and only one Dad – it’s very easy to ‘gang’ up against Dad without even realising it.

Lastly make sure when you go into marriage that if you have no clue how to budget that you get someone who is good at it to teach you and try not to start off in debt – it’s a bugger to get out of. Make sure your wife has pocket money – that she can spend how she likes – no matter how small the amount is. Likewise for the husband.

Brett, hope these will be of some use – and hope we are staying nameless wherever you may or may not use this!!

[heading for 31 years]

[for more thoughts on growing a strong marriage, click here…]