Thirty-two years ago this week, as my dad walked me down the aisle to marry Larry, I remember noticing how “sparse” 150 people seemed (discovering later that our map drove friends straight through the path of an Armed Forces Day parade). Oh well… Larry and I giggled through the entire ceremony. And that was an indication, at least to me, that we could have several decades of giggling together. So go ahead and ask, “What is the secret to a long marriage?”
I don’t know. I really don’t. Magazine tips aren’t helpful: “Never go to bed angry.” Puhleez; OF COURSE you go to bed angry. Sometimes the other person just pisses you off. What happens the next day, though, is what matters: You just have to get over yourself a lot.
That is Part 2 of the How-To-Stay-Married puzzle. Part 1 probably is, you have to want to stay married to THIS person. Being married to Larry is more important to me than NOT being married to him, so both of us had better not screw it up.
Part 3 is easier said than done: you have to choose a decent partner. Unfortunately, you cannot predict if you caught a good one. Time passes, tough stuff percolates up in varying degrees. In light of that, I do believe the following has contributed to our long-term marriage:
- We talked money and kids while courting. “Yes” on money – we both like earning it and neither had debt. “No” on kids – which works fine for both of us.
- We have our own bathrooms at home. Beginning with our first house, I took the guest bath, and gave Larry the master. That way, I always knew the condition of the guest bath. Our current house has four baths – mine, his, powder room and guest house.
- We don’t order the same dish in restaurants. We agree on two choices, then swap plates mid-meal. The exception is Noodle Planet – we both get Tom Yum Goong.
- We are involved in each others’ families. We show up. Participate. Shut our mouths. Bring a dish. Send a gift. Care. Help. It doesn’t always go perfectly, and over decades rifts do happen; you have to get over yourself when it comes to them, too.
- When not enthusiastic about the other’s interests, enjoy with someone else. Sports and huge loud concerts, Larry has his sister, pals, bros-in-law. My girl stuff – mine, mine, mine.
- We hang out with longtime married friends. And NOT long-time married people. We have a nice collection of friends and do lots of things with them.
How will I stay married 67+ years to hit 99? Plan to live long, but shoot for a big, adventurous life every day. And get over myself as much as possible.
Happy Anniversary to my darling husband, Larry.