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10 Unspoken Marriage Rules

Stick to these guidelines, even though you didn't vow to at your wedding

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  • 2. Tell your spouse about any ex encounters.

    Whether you get a Facebook friend request or run into an old flame at your kid's soccer game, keeping the news to yourself could backfire, despite having zero feelings for the ex. "If there's nothing to hide, why hide it?" says Deb Castaldo, PhD, a couples and family therapist and professor at Rutgers University School of Social Work in New Brunswick, NJ. "That leads to an air of secrecy and dishonesty," she says. Just clue in your hubby matter-of-factly: Try, "I knew it was only a matter of time before old boyfriends came out of the woodwork on Facebook. I got a friend request from one and ignored it." Or, "I saw my ex in the mall today. His kids are cute. Glad to see his life turned out nicely."

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    3. Keep unsolicited advice to yourself.

    Offer your support, lend your ear, but avoid speaking in an "I know what's best" tone. "We give advice because we're trying to be helpful, but it's seen as criticism when we offer too many corrections," says Harriet Lerner, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up. This goes for everything from your husband's outfit choices to how he deals with a work issue. Give your spouse space to make decisions and gain confidence through trial and error—and ask that he do the same for you, says Dr. Lerner. "What matters in a relationship is not that things get done 'right,' but that two people are dedicated to contributing to each other's happiness."

10 Unspoken Marriage Rules
Stick to these guidelines, even though you didn't vow to at your wedding
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