Does anyone really know what makes a happy marriage? Turns out, author Jo Piazza does! The 36-year-old, who got married in 2015 and now has a baby on the way, traveled the world collecting advice from across 20 countries and 5 continents for her new book How to Be Married. Piazza sought out guidance from every walk of life — matrilineal tribeswomen, French women, Swedish stay-at-home dads and polygamous warriors — and has created a pitch-perfect guide for newlyweds. Read it and your spouse will thank you!
Piazza sat down with Us Weekly Video’s Christina Garibaldi to offer her top 4 tips on how to survive — and thrive — in the first year of marriage and beyond. She also dished out some truly amazing advice for our favorite celebrity couples (like Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, and Jay Z and Beyoncé). Watch and learn in the video above.
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner: Relive Their Love Story
1. Be Your Husband’s Mistress
Seriously! While visiting France, women encouraged Piazza to keep the mystery alive by being your husband’s mistress. Huh? Well, the author advises keeping the romance alive by being the most alluring woman in every room! While she admits this may seem a bit antiquated, she tells Us it’s “kind of awesome because you’re bringing a little mystery and excitement to your marriage every day.” French women even suggest flirting with other people as well as your spouse. But most importantly, don’t forget to “throw out your really gross sweatpants,” something Piazza personally can’t fully commit to.
2. Talk For 5 Minutes Every Night
A marriage guru from Mexico swears that a nightly chat will keep your connection strong. Piazza explained that she and her husband, Nick, were instructed to talk to each other each night for five minutes, and reported back that it was “the greatest thing to happen to our new marriage.” However, there are some rules. 1) The other partner is not allowed to interrupt. 2) Whatever is mentioned cannot become a source of contention later on. 3) Nothing more than three weeks old is allowed to be discussed.
3. Be Your Own Person
Take care of yourself and remain your own person. In the chapter featuring wisdom from women in Jerusalem entitled “Secure Your Own Oxygen Mask First,” Piazza writes that “You need to stay two independent people… You expect your spouse to be everything,” which sets unfair expectations for both partners. Don’t set the bar so high – your spouse can’t possibly be your therapist, best friend and the ultimate sexual partner. That’s setting you both up to fail! Piazza even heeded the advice to vacation sans her new hubby — and joked that the time apart led to less resentment when her husband left the toilet seat up.
4. Prioritize Your Marriage Over Your Career
Let’s look to the Netherlands, which is consistently ranked among the top five happiest countries in the world, for some tips on work-life balance. In Holland, couples choose to focus on their marriages rather than their careers, and Dutch women in particular, aren’t on the desperate hunt to “have it all.” In her book, Piazza writes that most women in Holland “value their life outside of work much more than they value a title or getting ahead in the workplace.” The majority of Dutch women, whether married or single, choose to work part-time in order to enjoy life, dedicating that extra time to partners, children, hobbies and well-being. Meanwhile, men feel it’s “totally OK” to not work five days a week and earn less money, because they define themselves by their relationships. Sounds good to us!