Have you said 'I do?' Then avoid these 'I don'ts'

There are a lot of great things to do after you're married — but these 10 things aren't some of them.

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  • You did it. You tied the knot. And now that you're hitched, you'll discover (if you haven't already) that it takes more than the "I do's" of honoring and respecting your partner to make things work. You have to commit to the "I don'ts" as well. Start today, and commit to not doing these 10 things.

  • Don't let yourself go

  • Courtship is filled with days of wanting to look good for your partner. But marriage isn't the time to stop. In fact, the way we treat our bodies affects the way we feel about ourselves and our relationships. It even has the potential to make us uncomfortable about being intimate with our spouses. Make sure you do the things that help you feel good about yourself. Get your exercise. Get dressed and ready to go for the day. You'll feel all the better for it (which is way sexy).

  • Don't withhold

  • Before marriage, many of us put the brakes on intimacy. But post-nuptials are not the time to hold back — especially when it comes to things as important as love, intimacy and your feelings. When you're hurt, say something. When you're mad, talk about it. But don't use your sacred intimate relationship as a battleground for things you need to work on.

  • Don't have an affair with technology

  • Not having an extramarital affair goes without saying, but spending more time with your phone, tablet or other technology can be like an affair too. Make sure that your first priority (which is communicated in how you spend your time) is the person who put a ring on your finger.

  • Don't forget to "stay in"

  • Get a babysitter. Stay up extra late. Plan a weekend for the kids at grandma's. Do what you have to do to have a "stay in" night with your spouse. Touch is an important part of marriage, and making time for that should be a top priority.

  • Don't expect your life to be fixed

  • Some of us have pains from our pasts that we thought would be fixed once we got married. But life doesn't work that way. Our pain is not erased when we get married — in fact, sometimes close relationships have a way of triggering old pain. If you find yourself dissatisfied because marriage isn't what you thought, consider talking to your spouse — and possibly even a counselor — about it.

  • Don't stop the "sweet nothings"

  • We all need help filling our love buckets — and our closest relationships are a good source for that. Tell your partner daily what you love about him or her. Leave sticky notes of love on mirrors and notes of gratitude in lunch bags. And don't forget to tell your partner that you think she looks good or that you find her "oh-so-attractive."

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  • Don't expect marriage to make your spouse a mind reader

  • Sometimes we forget that, in pre-marriage, we had to let our partners know when we needed things — like help or support. Marriage doesn't bestow mind reading powers on your spouse (sorry). Stay diligent in communicating the things you need help with, the gifts that you would love, the way you would like to be touched and anything else that would help your relationship be sweeter.

  • Don't stop doing what makes you happy

  • It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that marriage is all we need. It's true that marriage is the primary relationship in our lives, but relationships with good friends and family — and staying up with hobbies and things that refuel you — will actually enrich your marriage.

  • Don't bad-mouth married life or your spouse

  • One of the best ways to poison your marriage is to criticize your spouse or your marriage around others. Sadly, bad-mouthing our marriages and spouses is widely accepted in our society — as depicted in the caricatures of "the ball and chain" wife and the "old man" who holds back his wife. If you have marriage problems, work on them with your spouse or with a therapist. Keep your partnership sacred. Protect your marriage by carefully considering how you speak about it.

  • Don't forget to have fun

  • Marriage is super hard, but it is also super amazing — if we plan for it. As with most things in life, if we don't plan what we want, it won't happen. So, plan a weekly date night. Create inside jokes with your spouse. Overall, have fun with your best friend.

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Heather Merrill is a single mom, writer and eyewitness to play-date debacles.

Website: http://singledropsofjoy.com

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