Hello, gentle readers! Hope you are
all well and staying safe!
You know that saying “Happy wife,
happy life”? Well, mine is a little different. It’s “Happy spouse, happy
house.” I truly believe that and I’ll tell you why.
The DH and I celebrated our 41st
wedding anniversary just a bit ago (we met when I was nineteen, married at
twenty, so I have spent two thirds of my life with this man). There’s been a
lot of learning and growing and arguing in those years, but here we are.
Anyway, several people have asked
me what my secret to a long, happy marriage is. My response never fails to
disappoint them – there is no secret. Not really. However, there are some key
ingredients that I will share (in no particular order):
Tolerance (this is a big one).
There will be many things that will pop up that you will learn to tolerate (and
maybe even celebrate). The DH and I are as different as night and day. He’s a
night owl, while I’m a morning person. I dislike clutter (it makes me anxious)
while he is a pack rat (my house is very neat and uncluttered...I won’t tell
you what his workshop looks like). He has a tendency to lash out when upset
whereas I will take a step back and gain control of myself (because things said
in the heat of anger cannot be taken back or unheard—learned that from hearing
my parents argue).
Respect. This is a must. Gotta
respect the other person – their ideas, their thoughts, their feelings (this
goes for children, too). Everyone has the right to have their emotions
validated, to be heard (even if you don’t want to hear it).
Humor: Oh my gosh! You have to have
humor. I’m fortunate that my DH can make me laugh (sometimes, when I don’t want
to). There has been a lot of laughter in our years together and I’ve found that
we can face anything (no matter how bad), by finding the humor (or the positive
side) even when there is none. It takes work, but it can be done.
Trust. ‘Nuf said.
Communication: You have to talk,
even if the subject is painful. In the beginning of our lives together, my DH
avoided tough subjects like they were the plague. He was taught (and he still
struggles with this), if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say
anything at all BUT by doing so, resentment and other feelings can grow,
destroying that fragile foundation you’re trying to build. That’s not to say we
haven’t cried together while discussing difficult topics. We have. Argued over
them, too. Our biggest fight was over (believe it or not) how the toilet paper
should be placed on the holder (over or under). Truthfully, I was just happy
there was toilet paper on the spindle – I didn’t care which way it went but
apparently, he did. Really, though, it wasn’t about toilet paper at all...it
was the fact that he didn’t think I was listening to him (and I wasn’t).
Commitment. On the day we got
married, I made a promise. I committed to NOT have a marriage like my parents
had, that I wanted something better. Something more. And I wasn’t afraid to
work for it; however, all that work cannot be done by just one person. There is
another person in this with you and he/she has to be equally committed. I was
lucky enough to find someone who was.
Which brings me to why I love to
read romance novels. Because it’s not real. Romance novels don’t discuss or
bring in the nitty-gritty of everyday life. There are no problems with what
bills need to be paid when and who’s going to pay them, what to make for dinner
for your 80 thousandth meal together, who’s responsibility is it to clean up
after the kids or the family pet. As unromantic as the DH is (his idea of
romance is doing an oil change on my car), he has never denigrated the fact
that I can escape into a fantasy world by reading a romance or by writing my
own. And this is important, too. And that’s it. Well, actually, there are a whole lot more, but that's for another time.
Stay well! Stay safe! And remember
to spread kindness wherever you go!