As many may know or assume, I am a woman of very many...annoyances. Over the past few months I've noticed a growing trend of disrespect in more than a few family units. It seems nowadays there is an increasing number of of newly-wedded couples confused about what happens when you say "I do." This is what you should do and don't when you say these vows...
You DO respect and embrace each other's character differences. It's proven that the couples that are exactly the same suffer through more marital problems and divorce then couples who are opposite from each other. You DON'T pick and choose what you may, when you marry them, you marry them for them.
You DO regard each family with equal importance. There are exceptions if his/her family are raging alcoholics, abusers, or in unhealthy environments (this does NOT include a messy house!) Even then your attitude and behavior towards them should always be one of respect. You DON'T spend 90% of your collective time with one family and 10% of the other. Your message to your in-laws is that they are not significant to you and your message to your spouse is who you are and where you came from is not important to me. Eventually this results in continuous conflict and resentment aimed towards you by the disrespected family, spouse, and even your children. Believe me, stiffed in-laws will usually inform the child when they are older why they were not able to be a constant part of their life.
You DO make him/her your number two, God being number one. This does NOT mean you ignore their faults. There's nothing more unattractive then a man/woman without a backbone to speak up and correct a situation with their partner, At the same token, as a Christian, the male is the head of the household...but it's up to the man to maintain and live up to that leadership role. You DO NOT become a pushover.
You DO respect his/her heritage/religion. This is who you said I DO to. Your culture may not align perfectly with his/hers, and you may not understand it - but it is what made your partner who he/she is today.
You DO say I DO to his/her friends as well. When it comes to friends, you better have a validated argument to speak out against them. A man/woman's friend's have a lot more say in the ideas and thoughts that fill your spouses head then you may think. This could be good or bad for you. You DON'T make your time with your friends more important. You DO have a few friends you can call your own. You DON'T force the two groups if they don't blend.
You DO grow and expand your family with children at the right time. You DON'T go into it without careful consideration. You DON'T bring a child into an unhealthy marriage. If the relationship is truly broken, denial through a child will not mend it. If it seems to, be careful it's his/her's love for you - not obligation to the child.
You DO respect each other's need/desire to have time alone, or with his/her friends, sans you. If there is trust established, that time away can be beneficial to clear ones head, relax, and if you're not a beast to come home to - they'll have something to look forward to when they walk back through that door. You DON'T rely on them continuously for entertainment. It's nice to feel wanted, but living with someone without anything going on socially can be draining,
You DO acknowledge his\her successes in their careers - even if you don't agree with their choices completely. Women, especially towards men...downplaying your mates occupation can cause a major blow to the self-esteem. You DO NOT push them into something - of course he/she refuses to be employed..well, you shouldn't have married a lazy person!
You DO work your tail off to makes things work. Investing your time into fixing the ills of your marriage is priceless compared to divorce. People and situations may change, but nothing is or was ever guaranteed at that altar - besides your promise to stick it out. You DO NOT let outsiders influence decisions in your marriage.
Now I've left many out I'm sure...tell me what you do...and don't.