5 Great Marriage Tips You WON’T Read Elsewhere!

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The first bridal shower I ever attended was my own. Most people in my peer group were not getting married at 23, and the few who did lived far away from me. So Brian and I only had old Christian marriage books (written in the 70s and 80s) and older married couples around us to give us marriage tips.

As my friend Melissa often says, much of that advice was “well-intentioned, but misinformed.” 

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So here’s just a few of the things I wish someone had told me before I got married. If you, or someone you know is getting married soon, and has no experience with sexual intercourse before marriage (yes! That still happens, folks!), I hope that these marriage tips will be helpful for you. 

Groom and Bride. one of the best marriage tips we wish someone had shared with us is to not overspend on the wedding.
Our wedding reception

1. Sleeping with another person is not an overnight adjustment!

If you’ve ever shared a bed temporarily with a sibling on a road trip, you already have some experience with this. In those cultures where family sleeping happens all the time, this probably isn’t a problem.

Here in Western culture, however, many of us sleep in our own separate bed for years until we are married. This was the case for both Brian and I, and we both found that it took several months to get used to the other person’s sleeping habits.

We distinctly remember one night where Brian woke up to a sharp elbow in his side and an angry, “QUIT IT!” from me. I then rolled over and went back to sleep. He went into anger mode himself at this bizarre wakeup, but wisely held his tongue and tried to go back to sleep.

woman using phone beside the sleeping man
Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

In the morning he found out that my response came from having been smacked in the face three or four times by his swinging arm while he was rolling over in his sleep! His sheepish face made it clear that he had been completely unaware of that tiny detail.

It’s a great laugh for us now, but at the time we found it surprising that none of our premarital information had addressed this obvious issue. Which brings me to the next marriage tip… 

2. Sleeping in the same bed, or separate beds, is in no way a reflection of the state of your marriage!

We had more than one couple insist that we should always sleep in the same bed, no matter what. They made it sound like the marriage was over if you chose to sleep in separate beds. That is totally ridiculous!

People throughout the ages slept in the same bed because they needed the body heat, or they were too poor to afford more beds, usually. Only the rich could afford separate beds. Modern life has eliminated both of these problems in many countries. So suggesting that there is some kind of moral reason behind the choice is an oversimplification.

little boy carrying can
Photo by Dazzle Jam on Pexels.com

Of course, there are cases where sleeping in separate beds does indicate a serious issue that needs to be addressed. However, a simpler explanation is what many couples have discovered- that they married someone who has polar opposite sleeping habits!

In our marriage, Brian deals with ADHD insomnia regularly, and I sleep so lightly that the smallest sound or motion will startle me awake. Our solution is to start the night in bed together, and then one of us sleeps elsewhere.

It is much easier to be kind and a good partner if you have had a good night’s sleep. Our marriage is better for it, and our kids don’t have to deal with cranky parents as often. On that thought of being cranky…

3. “Don’t go to bed angry” is trite

One of the funniest marriage tips that we got from our wedding came from an unmarried friend who wrote in our guest book: “Don’t go to bed angry – stay up and FIGHT!”

Marriage tips from unmarried people can be downright funny!
One of the advice cards from our wedding guest book.

We really thought that was great advice, and consequently stayed up till two or three in the morning on multiple occasions, because we were afraid to go to bed with an unresolved issue. We felt that we had to come to unity before we could let go of it.

However, like many people, we both get overtired and overemotional late at night, and unreasonable.

About ten years into our marriage, I was at my sister’s bridal shower, and a friend gave this much more sensible marriage tip.

She said, ”It’s good to try to resolve things before going to bed. However, there comes a point where you both need to recognize that the problem can’t be solved tonight because you’re both just too tired. Go to bed, and agree to address it further in the morning.” That’s the same conclusion we came to, and that’s what we have done.

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Sometimes an issue can’t be happily resolved in a single conversation, or even multiple conversations. It’s sensible to say, ”Hey, I’m too tired to be able to continue this conversation. I don’t want to say something I’ll regret. Let’s take a break and plan to discuss it again at (specific time).”

Then really do come back and discuss it at the agreed upon time. This will save both of you lots of dumb arguments.

Speaking of dumb arguments… (staged, of course!)

4. If you expect first-time sex to be PERFECT and AMAZING, you will be disappointed!

When you first sat behind the wheel of a car, did you naturally drive with perfect control and precision? The first time you got on a bike, did you go for a five mile ride without falling off? No, and it would have been completely unreasonable to expect that!

Hollywood and other media may show us perfectly orgasmic sexual experiences the first time, every time, but real life doesn’t work that way in any area! 

Sex is normal and natural, but even normal natural things take time to learn. I’ve had six babies, and not one of them knew how to eat solid food, smile, roll over, clap their hands, or walk at birth. Every one of those skills had to be learned, with much trial and error along the way. If you mentally approach sex with a similar understanding, you will be much better prepared.

Baby smiling
One of our sons, learning to smile

There are many excellent resources available now to help you with this process. I strongly recommend getting a modern book on the subject (written in the last five to ten years). One of the best ones I’ve read recently is The Great Sex Rescue.

The most important thing I can say is that with practice, sex can and should be a delight and joy for both spouses. If you’ve been “practicing” for a few months and that’s not true for you, seek appropriate help. Most issues can be solved with dedication and effort.

Our sex life had a rocky start, but we are both enjoying it more now than we ever have. We expect that to continue!

Couple kissing in field. The fact that good sexual intimacy takes practice is one of the best marriage tips we can pass on to newlyweds.
Photo credit: Bethany Villero Photography

5. The wedding is not really a big deal—pay accordingly

The wedding industry, and social expectations, may have convinced you that your wedding has to be a major event. Simply put—that’s silly.

It’s your wedding; do what makes you happy. Several of the most beautiful and memorable weddings I’ve attended were small and intimate. The pandemic has made this less of a societal expectation, but it’s still worth saying.

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We had a big wedding— and paid for over half of it ourselves. We invited a lot of people who are no longer connected to us, simply because it was what was expected.

If I had the opportunity to do it over, I would have done a small wedding with my closest friends and family. The money we spent on a big wedding could have been a nest egg for a house, or for the children we were blessed to have in the next few years.

six children in field
Photo credit: Bethany Villero Photography

Those are my top 5 marriage tips! I’m sure I’ll think of a few more things for a later post.  Are there any suggestions you would add? 

© Copyright 2022 Jennifer D. Warren. Originally posted: September 20, 2021. UPDATED: June 15, 2022.

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About the author

I’m Jenn Warren, Co-Founder and Content Creator for Dinkum Tribe. I'm a Third Culture Kid (TCK) from Jamaica and California, married to my college sweetheart. I've been a missionary kid, pastor’s kid and (former) pastor’s wife. My husband and I traveled as pastors for 12 years throughout the United States and Canada before becoming travel content creators.

I love living in Oregon and exploring new places with my family. We’ve road tripped over 30,000 miles across the United States and Western Canada with our six children since their infancy. Prior to our marriage, I also lived in Spain for a summer and spent another summer in Mexico.

I’ve homeschooled our six children for over 10 years, and served on the board of a homeschool co-op for 4 years. Several members of our family are neurodivergent (gifted, ADHD, cPTSD), and I’ve spent 5+ years learning how to accommodate neurodivergent needs as well as supporting the resultant mental health challenges (anxiety, depression).

I’ve also served as a support group leader and co-director of Pure Life Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports families struggling with sexual addiction.

I write about family travel and road trips, millennial marriage, general parenting, homeschooling, parenting neurodivergent children, grief, and abuse recovery.


  1. I had never thought about people having highly different sleeping patterns and that requiring they sleep in different beds. I like that the cause isn’t any contention. This was good to read.

  2. Good article! Definitely important to think about those before getting married. Especially the wedding expenses! So many people will spend almost all their savings on that one day and then rent an apartment out for years to come instead of investing into an own home.

  3. This is gold! And some of it I wouldn’t think to pass onto my children who are adults now. Great info and I’m totally saving it to share with my kids.

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