Twitter users have shared their tips for a happy marriage with the hashtag #BeforeGettingMarried, which rocketed to the top of the social media site’s trending list on Tuesday.
Thousands of suggestions – both humorous and wise – poured in, covering all elements of marriage, from money, to religion, and the dreaded in-laws.
Some users joked the jarringly honest responses, many of which simply said “don’t do it!”, were enough to scare them off marriage for life.
“Don’t try to change them”, “don’t rush into it”, and “enjoy being single first” were common refrains, while some offered tongue-in-cheek suggestions like “sober up”.
— ☃️ Johnsense ⚡ (@Johnsense38) January 9, 2017
It’s unsurprising the hashtag took off the way it did – in an era where divorce rates in some countries hover around 50 per cent and marriage is the topic of several reality television shows, people are desperate for guidance.
In it, de Botton reasoned there was no “right” person for anyone, but rather, suggested seeking out a “not overly wrong” person.
“The good news is that it doesn’t matter if we find we have married the wrong person,” de Botton wrote.
“We mustn’t abandon him or her, only the founding Romantic idea upon which the Western understanding of marriage has been based the last 250 years: that a perfect being exists who can meet all our needs and satisfy our every yearning.
“We need to swap the Romantic view for a tragic (and at points comedic) awareness that every human will frustrate, anger, annoy, madden and disappoint us – and we will (without any malice) do the same to them.”
Many of the tips shared under #BeforeGettingMarried echo de Botton’s sentiments and provide practical advice for making a marriage work despite the many challenges married couples will inevitably encounter.
Here are the responses, broken down across the five most common topics discussed.
By far the most tweeted-about topic was marital finances. Should you combine bank accounts? Keep things separate? Start a secret savings account for when things inevitably turn sour?
While the jury was out on the best approach, there was agreement marriage is not a financial plan and both parties should be financially independent before saying ‘I do’.
A man is not a financial plan. They can let you down big time. Keep some money separate. #BeforeGettingMarried
— JulietJeske (@JulietJeske) January 9, 2017
Get yourself an emergency savings account #BeforeGettingMarried just in case things don't work out. You could run away and have money.
— Unfreakingbelievable (@gredins) January 9, 2017
#BeforeGettingMarried Open a secret bank account. Hide your money.
— Kesha Tedder (@KeshaTedder) January 9, 2017
— Meta Jane (@metajane) January 9, 2017
Of course, everyone advised actually meeting your spouse’s parents before saying ‘I do’.
Others went further and suggested setting up a solid plan for whose family you’ll spend the holidays with to ensure no Christmas crises in the future.
Meet the future in-laws in a neutral environment. Switzerland for example
— Kevin Johns (@Berlinseshdmtv) January 9, 2017
— Marriage Works! (@mrgwrks) January 9, 2017
#BeforeGettingMarried make sure you can sit across from future in-laws at Thanksgiving without rolling your eyes so hard you can see brain.
— Dawn Probst (@DawnP46) January 9, 2017
Whether religiously, politically, ideologically, or even just culinary, most people urged those thinking of taking the plunge to first see if there were any major discrepancies between what they value and what their partner values.
#BeforeGettingMarried discuss religion, children, cat or dog person, finances, Cool Ranch or Nacho Cheese.
— Amanda C. (@AmandaStarshine) January 9, 2017
#BeforeGettingMarried check his/her values. If yours don't match, break up.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) January 10, 2017
#BeforeGettingMarried ask if they support Trump. If he says yes, he has no respect for women. If she does, she has no respect for herself.
— imfabulous (@imfabulous13) January 9, 2017
#BeforeGettingMarried be on the same page about kids, religion, and what your home life is going to look like.
— 🇷oo Wants Evidence (@charjorgensen13) January 9, 2017
Others urged the unwed to make the most of their freedom while they have it and to use their alone time to develop as a person.
Travel was up there as a necessary solo experience, as was being financially independent, having fun, spending time with friends and family and dating around before settling down.
#BeforeGettingMarried live independently. Your own home, money, things, decisions. Work, travel, learn, play. Get to know yourself.
— RLynne (@OurLindee) January 10, 2017
It's not just about FINDING the right person. It's also about BEING the right person. When it's right, it's wonderful #BeforeGettingMarried
— Diana Mayhall (@mayhall_diana) January 9, 2017
The living situation
Nearly everyone agreed one of the best ways to test your compatibility with someone else was to live together.
If that’s not an option, many suggested travelling together to get a taste of some serious one-on-one time.
Live together for at least a year. If you don't, don't say you weren't warned. #BeforeGettingMarried
— Mike Sullivan (@MikeDSully) January 9, 2017
#BeforeGettingMarried live together. Things get real when you live together.
— Meg_Silver (@MegLewMet) January 9, 2017
Travel together. Experience each other at your worst & see how you feel at the end of it all.
— Rachel (@HackenbushDVM) January 10, 2017