QUESTION OF THE DAY: What advice do you have for a man who is about to marry a wonderful woman?

The nicest guy in the world (I'm guessing, from his brief note on my Facebook wall) asked me this question the other day. He's about to get married, and is seeking counsel on how to be a great husband.

Thought I would open this up to everyone, as I'm sure there are LOTS of ideas out there for him! 🙂

First of all, good sir, the fact that you just came to a woman to ask for advice on how to be a great husband means you are already basically 90% there, as far as I'm concerned. So I bless your union, and send love to you and your lucky bride.

But since you asked…

1) Housework. Do it. This is perhaps the simplest path to keeping your wife contented. You know how Freud went to his grave still unable to answer the question, "What do women want?" I could have answered that for him. Women want their partners to do housework, considerately and consistently.

2) Fidelity. (Duh.) But seriously.

3) Child-rearing. Show up for it entirely if you're going to do it at all. (See item one, re: What Women Want.)

4) Windows and Walls. This is a vital idea, articulated beautifully by the psychologist and infidelity-researcher Shirley Glass (mother to Ira Glass, public radio listeners!). The notion is this: A healthy marriage is composed of windows and walls. The windows, which must stay open, are between you and your spouse. Through this window passes intimacy, trust, secrets, love, communication. The walls are between the two of you (together) and the outside world. Behind those walls lies your privacy. Marriages start to crumble when you reverse that architecture. If you put up a wall between you and your spouse (blocking the natural flow of love and honesty communication) while at the same time opening up a window between you and a new person (sharing confidences, intimacy and secrets with that third person, which should belong only in your marriage) you are setting up a blueprint for disaster. Infidelity often follows. Make sure your windows and walls are always in the right places, and everything should be OK.

5) Don't push her. Now here comes my speech, which I give to every man I know who is about to get married. Here's what you need to know about women. Women, as a general rule, love to be in love. Women tend to be very good at love, good at intimacy, good at forgiveness, good at tenderness. If a woman loves you, therefore, she will overlook your flaws, forgive your trespasses, cover for you, make excuses for you, always try to see you in the best light. Don't ever take advantage of that. Don't ever relax into that, and decide that you never have work on yourself, or work on the relationship, or deliver at all, because you've noticed that she will always pick up the slack and forgive you. Because here's the thing about women: A woman will forgive you and forgive you and forgive you and forgive you and forgive you and forgive you, often for years on end…until one day she's finally had enough. And the day she's finally had enough, she will leave you, and nothing you can ever say will win her back. This happens to men all the time, I see it happen all the time, and it always seems to take them by surprise. They never see it coming. DON'T EVER LET HER GET TO THAT POINT. Take care of her graciously and gratefully, and it won't happen.

Now go be happy!

Anybody else have any advice?

(And brace yourself, good sir, because I think you're about to get an earful!)

A toast to love,

via Elizabeth Gilbert’s Facebook Wall