How To Stay Married For 99 Years

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Patti and Larry WeddingThirty-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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.


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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Valentina July 29, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Patti — I love this. (Dana Levin shared it on FB today.) Hoping for many married decades myself and think this post is great. Of course, I’m wishing I had my own bathroom, but that’s another story! 😉 Cheers!

2 LiztheChef February 14, 2012 at 8:17 am

I’m married to a Larry too – lovely post filled with common sense advice that works!

3 zoesmom July 2, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Congrats on your long marriage. You guy look adorable in your photo.

4 Worth The Whisk May 23, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Amy – thanks for sharing your feelings about this post. It isn’t all music and flowers, it’s a ton of work. Thank you for your contribution.

5 amy May 23, 2010 at 12:16 pm

i love this post. sadly, i struck out on #1,#2, and #3 and am now single again. i think your post was very well articulated. happy anniversary.
amy from los angeles

6 Jennifer May 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm

This is a GREAT POST! As a wife of almost 6 years, it’s all great advice, especially the getting over yourself. Congrats on 32 years. Here’s hoping the next 67 go just as well.

7 Worth The Whisk May 22, 2010 at 9:58 am

Valerie – what a great comment to post on my blog, thank you for the sweet story you shared. Best wishes for a very long togetherness.

8 Marlene Brown Oliphant May 22, 2010 at 9:37 am

Patti and Larry,
You look better now than you did then!! Happy anniversary and 67 more. We will be at 15 this year so we have some catching up to do. I agree wholeheartedly with what you said. It’s all true.

Love, Marlene and John

9 bunkycooks May 22, 2010 at 5:58 am

Happy anniversary! All of your tips are very important for a long and happy marriage. I hope you have many, many more! Have a great trip.

10 A Canadian Foodie May 22, 2010 at 3:10 am

What a beautiful post. Congratulations to you both. My parents are about to celebrate 60 years, and you are more than halfway there – I have had an amazing example. Sadly, (but, also elatedly), I am on my second marriage. My first one was far too short with 18 years of rearing my two lovely daughters on my own. However, I have found the man of my dreams – and he is truly rare, as I look around. We have been together 10 years, and it has felt like forever and will be forever. Time does heal wounds with a lot of work learning to live your best life – and then, magic. We enrich one another’s life and each live our own working together on everything we undertake. I see we are both very blessed.

11 hope chests May 22, 2010 at 1:03 am

This post is so inspirational! I hope everybody gets to read this on how to make a married life still working after how many years!

12 Worth The Whisk May 21, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Bren & Dave – unbelievable that a whole year has passed since that anniversary AND that we are heading back to the African continent for this anniversary, too. You will receive an update. Meanwhile, CONGRATS on your 40th!

13 Brenda Gilbert May 21, 2010 at 8:25 pm

Hello you two. I had almost forgotten that we were with you for your 31st in Egypt. Well done for another year and congratulations. You are getting closer to challenging our 40th which we celebrated on the 9th May recently. May you have many more and would love to be somewhere in the world to help you party on one of the future anniversaries. G’day, Dave and Brenda.

14 Sugar May 21, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Thanks Patti for an honest, sweet explanation!

15 Worth The Whisk May 21, 2010 at 11:54 am

Thank U, Alice. I remember you being at our wedding. We will see you at our 2078 anniversary party, right?

16 A GERM May 21, 2010 at 11:46 am

Happy 32nd Anniversary! I was actually there and Bob Elkman drove me. It seems like about a month ago. Really enjoyed your notes, it’s so true how we have to swallow our pride and remember the big picture. Plus, you picked a good one. Hope I’ll still be around to celebrate in 2078. Love, AG

17 melinda May 21, 2010 at 9:25 am

Wedded bliss is pretty nice, huh? Congrats to you and Larry, and have a wonderful time in Africa!

18 Worth The Whisk May 20, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Thank you, Julie. Larry looks exactly the same to me now. Tall, dark and handsome.

19 Julie M. May 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm

Happy Anniversary! You too look so perfect together in that picture. I can only hope my husband and still look as made for each other as you two do when we get to that anniversary (we’re 10 this year – still a biggie for us!). Congratulations!

20 Worth The Whisk May 20, 2010 at 8:21 am

Beryl – trying our best to be good examples!

21 Deborah May 20, 2010 at 7:20 am

I’ve told my kids to get over themselves and they think I’m crazy. I’m glad someone else knows what that means.

22 Beryl May 19, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Really great post. Just celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary but have been together 11yrs. You guys set a great example.

23 Worth The Whisk May 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Thank you, Jo. You’re a Sadie, Sadie Married Lady, too.

24 josephine May 19, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Happy Anniversary! This was so well written — straight from the heart and REAL! Love it. CONGRATS! Here’s to many, many more happy decades together!

25 Worth The Whisk May 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm

And the same to you, Robyn. Time sure flies, doesn’t it?

26 robyn May 19, 2010 at 5:55 pm

Hehehe I’ve got three years and 5 days on you! Your list is fab and yes, there are those of us that make it happen. I love the “getting over yourself” thought, as I see so many people who just can’t do that.

Julia’s #8 has saved us on several occasions. 😉

Mine: Time. Everything is better with time, not just wine.

Happy Anniversary!

27 Worth The Whisk May 19, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Erika – ah yes, #2. If it weren’t for the fact that Larry’s kitten knows how to jump onto the door handle and OPEN THE BATHROOM DOOR, I could claim this as the only room in the house that’s “all mine.” Why do pets NEED to watch someone’s personal business like that??

28 Erika - In Erika's Kitchen May 19, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Thanks for this, Patti – it’s always good to hear from couples who have found their magic formula – I am adding #2 to my “someday” list.

29 Worth The Whisk May 19, 2010 at 10:56 am

Julia – DEFINITELY the car knobs, LOL. Larry and I have “zones” in our closet, when we remodeled the house we tore out several tiny closets that had shared walls to make one big closet room. When Larry’s shoes migrate to my zone, I shoo them back to his.

I forgot another magical element – a laundry chute. Straight to my Happy Place (the laundry room). About the size of a Basketball Hoop – Larry hits it every time now.

30 Heather Gill May 19, 2010 at 10:51 am

Perfectly said! Happy Anniversary to you both! Made me cry too!

31 Julia May 19, 2010 at 10:50 am

Sweet 🙂 Happy Anniversary!
Great 6 points that I TOTALLY agree with you on (esp. #2).
#7 Have your own closet. Even if it is only the jacket closet! He likes his perfect white hangers, and I barely hang up my clothes.
#8 Seperate temperature knobs in the car. He is always hot and of course I am always cold. We say our car saved our marriage b/c we can control out own temperature. HA!

It is a choice, everyday; the best choice I ever made!

32 Worth The Whisk May 19, 2010 at 10:38 am

What a sweet response. Made ME cry just writing it. Let’s see how long it takes for Larry to notice I wrote this post, LOL.

33 Dragon May 19, 2010 at 10:37 am

You made me cry. Happy Anniversary to the both of you. The next 67 years will fly by. 🙂

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