Marriage Advice from Real Couples

I asked some of the couples I most admire for their advice.
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In honor of June—and wedding season—we're kicking off a full day of wedding-themed content, from how to look your best when you have nothing to wear to your fifth wedding this summer, to everything you need to bring to a wedding, whether you're the bride or the bridesmaid, starting with advice from some of our favorite couples. Cheers!

Geoffrey and I have been together for nearly a decade—and while I thought our relationship wouldn't change at all when we were married, I now realize that was probably naive on my part. In a lot of ways, we've grown stronger. I remember thinking as soon as we were married how powerful it felt that we were actually family, though we'd considered each other that for years. And of course, raising Sloan has only solidified that feeling.To kick off our Cupcakes and Cashmere Wedding Day, I asked some of my best friends and couples I most admire in my life for their advice on what goes into a lasting relationship, starting with my own parents:

Fay and Scott Marriage Advice

I was smitten from the first time I saw Fay as she walked into my Victorian Literature class, still sweating from ballet. Love took a little longer; maybe a week or two. And while we came from very different backgrounds, there was a commonality in our interests, passions and perspectives that cemented our commitment over 40 years ago.

Our advice is not unique, choose your partner carefully, do not ignore red flags. Find someone who is reliable, responsible and honest with similar core values in regard to politics, spirituality, food, music, parenting and finance ...and who laughs at your jokes. Laugh often, it will be easier to confront the challenges that every relationship faces. And while it is imperative to maintain individual identities, learn to compromise and hope that you both can stay on parallel paths as you negotiate the long journey. Enjoy the differences and don’t try to change someone from who they are; again, choose carefully.

joanna and alex marriage advice post 3

Ok, I'm just going to say it: When you have little kids underfoot, it can be sometimes be hard to find time (and energy) to have sex with your partner. But that's a bummer! So, during extra busy phases, my husband and I have scheduled sex—say, Tuesday evenings and Saturdays during naptime. Even though it sounds unromantic, it's actually exciting to anticipate time together (and text a little beforehand). Bonus tip: If you want to be more spontaneous, Bubble Guppies is 23 minutes long and works like a charm.

Alli and Cameron Marriage Advice

Whenever I tell people I work with my husband [Ed note: Alli and Cameron are co-founders of Drybar], they give me a very skeptical "oh really" look... I totally get it. Working with your significant other can certainly have its challenges, but I believe it has worked so well for us because we have a deep respect for each other's strengths and weaknesses. For example, Cameron has been a creative director for years and is undeniably incredibly talented. Clearly, that is not my skill set so I trust him implicitly. Of course, he is not a hair stylist, so he completely trusts me when it comes to hair and all things blowouts. We have a great partnership because we really stay in our respective lanes. My brother Michael Landau is my other business partner and the same rules apply. Michael has an uncanny business sense that has served us extremely well. The three of us have such different and unique strengths and weakness, which is the reason I truly believe Drybar has been so well received. Now, today with 75+ shops, over 3,000 stylists and a thriving product business, we have a huge team of fantastic and talented executives that have helped the three of us grow and scale the business.

Naomi and Josh Marriage Advice 2

Josh and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary last month! I appreciate that while marriage is hard work, it sets the framework for the deepest and most loyal friendship. While we spend the majority of our days side by side because we work together and parent our three children together, we've learned that it is necessary to set time aside each week to prioritize "us" as well, which can be tricky when you're so caught up in this chapter of life called parenting.

But I believe one of the best gifts we can give our children is a healthy relationship, and in order for that to happen, we have to set time aside for each other. It doesn't need to be a fancy date-night out every week with heels and three-course dinners after evenings at the ballet. For me, the nights we just sit side by side on the sofa in the dark, with no distractions, no phones around, no TV show or movie playing, and just open up and have long and thoughtful conversations together about anything and everything, are my favorite. Sometimes we don’t even realize how many hours have passed, and we’re either crying from laughing so hard or feeling all sorts of calm or motivated or inspired based on wherever the conversation went. It’s been one of my favorite parts of the past ten years of married life together.

Max and Margeaux Marriage Advice

First off, our marriage, like most everyone else's, isn't perfect. It takes a concerted effort to keep it healthy and growing. But one thing I think we've always done well is communicate. We've always had open lines and we talk through our disagreements (sometimes it takes a day or two, but we always talk it out). It's built trust, it's built understanding, it's allowed us to learn about each other. If feelings and emotions are bottled in, then you're going to run into deep rooted issues down the line. It's important to be open and always remember that you're in this together. 

Note: Max Wanger photographed our wedding! See more of his amazing photos here.

Gaby and Thomas Marriage Advice 2

Thomas and I are all about experiences rather than materialistic things. Don't get me wrong, we've invested some time and money into our home and belongings, but for us it's really all about an adventure. We both think it's important to travel and explore the world so we love planning trips that combine both of our hobbies, Thomas loves photography and mine obviously is all about food. Combine that with doing something outside of the box and it's a recipe for success. For example, we just got back from a three-week trip to Southern Africa where we dove with great white sharks, went on a few different safaris, ate our way through Cape Town and saw Victoria Falls. There was a little something daring in there, something relaxing, plenty of food, and tons of photographic moments. We both walked away fulfilled and closer than ever (especially after braving the great white sharks!) 

But don't feel like you have to do something extravagant to combine your interests—we've spent the day exploring neighborhoods in Los Angeles that still satisfy both of our passions! The key is figuring out what fulfills you both and then finding fun things to experience that bring it all together! 

E and G Marriage Advice Post

When you have the unwavering love and admiration of your significant other, it gives you the strength and confidence to be the best version of yourself. G and I have multiple relationships: as business partners, husband and wife, and as co-parents, so we try to approach each one slightly differently. But at the core of each, we aim to celebrate one another’s accomplishments and offer help when it’s needed. And when all else fails, we remind each other that we’re each other’s biggest fans. Somehow simplifying things a bit is sometimes all we need (it’s especially helpful in the midst of a disagreement!) to remember that we’re always on the same team.

This is most evident in the mundane, daily tasks. If G’s had a bad night of sleep, I’ll take care of Sloan in the morning so he can stay in bed. After a long day when I’m having trouble unwinding, he’s always there to rub my shoulders (and often mix me a stiff drink). Being each other’s biggest champions is often less about grand gestures and more about showing love in the small, unexpected ways.

Rachel and Dustin Marriage Advice updated

When I tell people I’ve known my husband since we were 11, I’m usually greeted with either squeals of delight or slightly horrified stares. I get it. I certainly can’t tell you whether it’s better or worse to fall in love with someone when you’re young (we’ve been best friends since we were 12, dating since 16, married at 28) versus when you’re older and have more experience, but for us it’s been really great.

What was most amazing about growing up together is that it taught us to expect a more or less constant state of change in our relationship. Those incredibly volatile teenage years are so nutty and hormonal and dramatic and neither of us was at our best. Because, duh, we were learning how to be functional humans. We were also changing and growing at an accelerated rate (thank god). We both got really comfortable with watching the other person adapt and evolve. Over the years we’ve helped each other continue to grow, either by hashing it out when we don’t see eye to eye on something, by pushing the other person when we know there’s something they should be doing, or by just providing a base of emotional support when one of us is going through something tough. We understand each other on sort of a crazy level because we have these years of history and experience together, but I love knowing that there are plenty of untapped depths in both of us and I’m excited to keep discovering them as time goes on.

There’s also something weirdly comforting about knowing someone who has seen you at your absolute most awkward and saw something of value there. I mean, if you truly love a 13-year-old, you are probably either that person’s parent or their soulmate, because that’s not a shining time in anyone’s life. I don’t believe in soulmates exactly, but I do thank my lucky stars that Dustin and I were able to recognize something in each other at that age. We clearly had no idea what we were doing so it must have been sheer dumb luck, but I can honestly say that he’s the best person I know and I just feel so lucky that we get to spend our lives together.

Marta and Tony Marriage Advice 3

Three words: Weekly date night: We have always maintained a weekly date night. Tony makes the dinner reservations and I lock in the sitter. Being two full-time working parents, things can always be pretty hectic so we make sure to maintain our special time together. Sometimes date night ends with a quick Target run, not always ideal for a hot date night... but we always do make sure we spend time together as a couple. Tradition is super important to us.

Treat Yo’ Self: Making sure we each get a day or even a couple hours during the week for some "me" time. That can mean I go to a movie with the girls after work one night, whereas he might go relive his youth and see an old punk band with his buddies.

His and Hers: While we take yearly family vacations and the occasional overnight getaway together as a couple, we also take our own separate guys and girls trips yearly. I currently have some time off before starting a new job and Tony encouraged me to take a “ladycation” for a full week. I was nervous about leaving our young son for that long, but Tony insisted “Mama, I got you, you work hard and deserve some time off.. enjoy”.

It's these little things that have made nearly 11 years of marriage fly by.