Why This Couple's 6 Rules for Marital Success Are Going Viral

Focus more on being teammates than soulmates.

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Ryan Stephens is a husband, father, and blogger at the site "Dialed in Men," which he started in 2016 in order to pass along the things he's learned to son so that he has all the tools he needs to navigate life. "The ultimate goal is an ever-growing, scientifically-based blueprint for him to have health, wealth and success—and for this site to be a resource for him if anything ever happened to us," he writes, noting that much of his advice is applicable to all men in general. His posts cover a broad range of topics, such as how to be a good parent, how to get your finances in order, and how fight depression in today's society. But it's a recent blog post—which was actually written by his wife, Alaina—on his "six rules for marital success," which is getting the most attention.

He shared the post in a thread on Twitter Tuesday night, and it's been retweeted almost 9,000 times since then.

Their core message is that, contrary what rom-coms might have taught you, the "recipe for marital success" is "focusing more on being teammates and less on being soulmates."

His first rule: "No one should ever hear anything bad about your spouse from you. It's one thing to joke with friends about something trivial and quite another to demean your spouse's character. Know the difference and always discuss the latter with your spouse and no one else."

Rule number two: "Over-communicate. You cannot read each other's minds. Never assume the other person knows what you meant. Give each other the benefit of the doubt when miscommunications happen. Double check if necessary."

This is particularly good advice for men, given that "assuming everything is fine just because your wife isn't complaining" is one of the biggest signs of divorce husbands tend to miss.

Rule number three: "Try new things together. Even if one of you is typically more adventurous than the other, have fun with it. Trying new things gets an individual out of their comfort zone and is often easier as a couple, allowing you both to grow stronger together."

Indeed, research has shown that doing a new a activity together, particularly one that's adrenaline packed, can do a lot to rejuvenate a marriage that's gone a bit stale. As 33-year-old Jaimie recently told Best Life, the best piece of advice that she and her wife ever got was to "remember you're on the same team." Even doing an activity together—like playing a sport or a board game where you're teammates—can help remind you that you're on this journey called life together, not competing against each other.

Rule number four: "Be each other's champion. Celebrate wins and encourage each other. Bring home champagne after a promotion at work, back each other up when engaging in that battle with your heathen toddler, work out together, etc. Never cut the other person down when they're struggling."

Indeed, this Twitter thread shows that—when it comes to romance—it's often little things like not closing the microwave door in the morning to avoid waking your partner up or doing the dishes so your S.O. can watch their favorite TV show that make people feel the most supported and loved.

Rule number five: "Be grateful for each other's contributions. Whether it be money, time, chores, childcare, or anything else, no one contribution is greater than another.And don't keep score. If you truly value each other's input, then the scorecard shouldn't (and doesn't) matter."

Finally, rule number six: "Trust and respect each other. Especially in front of others, including your children. If you do not respect your spouse in front of other people, why should those people respect your spouse? Enough said."

These rules might sound unromantic to a lot of young people, given that much of today's generation believes that marriage should be all about steamy sex and gazing into each other's eyes over dinner. But studies show that this honeymoon period only lasts for about 18 months, after which—if you're lucky—you transition from the stage of passionate love to companionate love.

Older generations understood that marriage isn't all fun and games, and that part of the point of getting married is to make one another's lives better.

As Stephens wrote, "Marriage, or any long-term relationship, is not *all* about love & romance. It's about working at it day in and day out. It's about choosing your partner every day…"

It's worth noting that Stephens isn't the only vocal proponent of marital #teamwork these days. In another corner of the internet, pop star Taylor Swift revealed to Elle her 30 life lessons she's learned in her first 30 years. Among them, she offers a nugget of relationship advice, specifically as it pertains to fighting, noting that strong relationships aren't built on winning or losing, but on togetherness. "I know a couple," she writes, "who, in the thick of a fight, say 'Hey, same team.'"

So if you're in a deeply committed relationship that you want to last, remember that you're in it together, practice team work, and always make sure you're avoiding The Habits That Will Most Increase Your Chances of Divorce.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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