1. You can have a good time with almost anyone. Don’t marry someone unless you know that you can have a bad time with that person. Marry someone who will have your back during disasters and help you clean up, pick up all the pieces and laugh together. Marry someone who will help you clean up puke, poop, and pee (especially if you plan to have pets and kids) and who will run you a hot shower when you’re done. Marry your “partner in disaster” and you’ll end up having a good laugh while you’re using the wet-vac to clean up an exploded fish tank together.
2. Remember that you are going into marriage not for funsies, but in order to be a better person.
Occasionally, this will happen because your spouse is inspiring you to greater heights of idealism and love.
Much more often, it will happen because your spouse is giving you ahem an opportunity to be loving. (Because she didn’t have time for dishes, or didn’t notice the milk on the counter, or really needs some sexy times tonight regardless of your headache, or is just in a bad mood tonight.) A great deal of marriage is sucking it up and doing unpleasant things lovingly, recognizing that you create plenty of ahem opportunities for your spouse as well (whether you notice or not)… and never, ever keeping score.
Once you’ve stopped keeping score and made your whole life about the good of the family, marriage ironically becomes a lot more fun than it is if you go in just expecting it to be fun!
(Obviously, there are lines to be drawn here. “Loving your spouse” does not mean tolerating abuse or failing to communicate your needs. But marriage is mainly about giving up your life to caring for somebody else — that’s what the vows say, after all — and I think we lose sight of that too often here in the early 21st century.)
3. The point of arguing is not to win, it is to understand where they’re coming from and why this issue matters to them.