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7 Compromises All Married Couples Need to Make

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I don't mean to brag, but I'm kind of a marriage expert.

Of course by "expert," I just mean I have a lot of experience. And by "experience," I mean I've failed miserably at marriage, I've tried to learn from my mistakes and I've enjoyed the benefits of a happy second marriage (five years so far — FINGERS CROSSED)!

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The bulk of marital disagreements seem to stem from a few core issues, and disagreements in general tend to stem from a lack of compromise. Since I'm pretty well-versed at what works — and what really, really doesn't work — I figured I'd share a few essential ground rules all couples should agree on concerning these core issues, before one of you decides that the next time you find a dirty sock on the floor right next to the #$@% hamper you're going to pack your bags and burn the house down behind you.

You think I'm joking (and I am!) (sort of), but resentment can build quickly in a relationship if you're not careful. So let's sort out these major sources of sore feelings before anyone gets all arson-y over it.

1. Driving Disputes

Arguments about who controls the car keys are pretty common. Despite popular belief, the person who spends the most time behind the wheel shouldn't be the best driver — it should be the worst passenger. Based on a hunch and exactly zero scientific research, far more accidents (and fights) are caused by nervous or bossy passengers than by crappy driving.

2. TP Placement

A surprising amount of conflict comes from something as simple as toilet paper — specifically, which way the roll should face. I suggest that whoever goes to the trouble of changing the roll should get the final word on which way it goes; it's nice to associate a perk with that particular chore, since the fear of ending up in a TP-less bathroom later rarely manages to motivate anyone to replace it for some reason.

3. Décor Decisions

If your and your spouse's style sensibilities match about as well as paisley and stripes, you might try taking turns making decorating choices. Then, after he hangs up a singing novelty fish and she counters with a hot pink zebra-striped settee, you'll both quickly learn to be content with your old dorm furniture. Problem solved!

4. Closet Compromise

If you've ever watched "House Hunters," you know that a recurring theme between co-habitating couples is that women typically hog all the closet space. However, real-life recurring arguments between co-habitating couples arise because men typically leave their clothes lying all over the damn place. This one just comes down to simple math: If closet space is split 80/20 in your favor, you have to expect several pairs of his pants to be hanging over the end of the bed at all times. Sorry. On the plus side, ALL THAT CLOSET SPACE.

5. Dish Duty

I once heard (or saw on Pinterest, whatever) that you can either ask someone to do something, or tell them how to do it — not both. I guess what I'm saying is, if you have really strong feelings about how the dishwasher should be loaded, then DO IT. If someone else was kind enough to do the dishes, you do not — and I really can't stress this enough — do NOT get to complain about how they did it. Unless they put a huge pan on the top rack. That's just stupid.

6. Remote Responsibility

"He who clicks first, clicks best."

A lot of guys believe it's their right to control the remote control based solely on their gender. NOT TRUE. Actually, that honor goes to whoever can mute and/or fast forward through the ads faster. "He who clicks first, clicks best." You can crochet that on a pillow.

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7. Money Matters

Finally, the biggest source of marital stabbiness is probably money. My advice is to have a lot of it. I've never tried that, personally, but I imagine it sure couldn't hurt.

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