Every marriage is extraordinarily different, so yardsticks do not really apply. Like one size doesn't fit all, so also well meaning advice from family, elders and friends isn't of much use especially in modern marriage. Pre-marriage, I equipped myself to some very good books on the subject to weather the storms ahead, only to realise that theories and practicality are entirely different. You've got to figure out your strengths and failings and work upon issues in the manner suitable to situations. ROMANCE is bliss. Girls stepping into marriage view life in psychedelic colours, roses , teddies and chocolates, reinforced by romantic fluff peddled by chic- literature, movies and whatever. Unfortunately, not all men appreciate surprises, and forgive them for that if you can. Speak up your mind, and seriously, don't expect your partner to be a mind reader, unless he's gifted clairvoyant. If you want to go out for dinner, movies, shopping, then please say so without vague hints. Trust me, most marriages are workable unless your partner is seriously abusive, pervert or lunatic. SHARING is key to perfect relationship- I was told by Tweedledum Tweedledee couple. My husband wasn't very enthused by my idea of sharing girlie stories of family, friends, neighbours, workplace, maids, vendors, milkman who occupied my orbit. Being the quiet sort, he really didn't appreciate airing views on everyone and everything under the sun. So you see, not all like the idea of sharing everything from wardrobe to mind space. I soon learnt to respect space and privacy. TOGETHERNESS is great, but, I don't think it would be wise to carry too far either. Remember, do not abandon your life, stay connected with people who share your interests , activities and hobbies , that channel and motivate your energies. Go get a life if you haven't done that already. Also, if your partner does not like your ideas of fun or entertainment, please do not tag along. Space is important to most people. Well meaning friends told me best way to deal with issues is to TALK. I realised little too soon that, more I explained matters, worse things got going. Talkathon led to putting issues - all my 'rights' and his 'wrongs' under the scanner and nobody wants to hear their faults explained clear and lucid like Newton laws. No one likes to be put on the mat, leave alone admit a mistake and say sorry. So, go by gut instinct and stop before it things turn difficult. ADVICE. Frankly, it's not a very fine idea to discuss issues with family and friends who are quick to proffer unsolicited advice, unless it's a calamitous. Parents are best left alone, I've realised, generation gap only magnifies issues, making them little partial towards their own kin. Friends and well wishers can prove prejudicial to either partner, also it's difficult to assess actual situation based on hearsay of either partner. DISCUSS. Someone told me discussing issues threadbare in a very mature manner is the right approach. This somehow ended up in a slanging match where tempers rose alarmingly, similar to the prime time T.V. debates. I worked out a middle path here of maintaining reasonable dignity, like we respect and accomodate viewpoints with friends and colleagues at work , extend the same courtesies. Appear like diplomats shake hands and move on after you're done. MONEY is important, so whoever is prudent at it must take charge, invest and plan spending wisely because this is bedrock of any marriage. Definitely be clear about all earnings and spending here lest the other feels cheated. If you are in the habit of saving separately or spending a part for parental family or siblings make it absolutely clear. Trust is the key factor. RELATIVES One can choose friends but not relatives, so cultivate and nuture those worthwhile while remaining civil with pesky ones. Better still leave your partner to deal with his quirky folks while you handle your own. Visiting relatives needn't be done as a couple, if your spouse isn't very happy to see your folks , he could have his reasons for doing so. Unnecessary discussion on siblings, in laws, relations far and distant, tend to take nasty turn, so refrain from critical analysis, and avoid unpleasantness. Shoot the guy who told you HONESTY is necessary in marriage. If you've been truant or up to some mischief before or after marriage mum is the word is unless you wish to risk peace. No partner particularly desires to know your wild side, think of the perils before you decide to take things off your chest. Wisely still, forget it all, while giving it a quiet burial. Certainly not all issues can be resolved, some, like our perennial border issues will remain. SILENCE works best on contentious matters. Learn to make peace with sticky situations. On hindsight, to think we accept the follies of folks we're born to, bear sibling's rivalry, patient with friends who shouldn't matter more, put up with idiosyncracies of relatives, tyrannical bosses at office, annoying colleagues. Why, then is it difficult to handle a marriage??? After all it's one big investment of our life times. Sometimes it makes sense to lose the battle and win the war instead.