So as of today my husband and I have been married for seven years. Seven years
In that time we have attended three weddings
, two funerals
, conceived and bore a son
and a daughter
, went back to college
, changed careers, moved 450 miles, gone from 60 cent packets of Top Ramen
to $2.62lb tomatoes
, bought 10 computers
(no lie), loaded Linux
on 2 of them, broke a car
, bought a new one... (note for next time: listing anything over three years worth of activities is not a practical endeavor).
Well anyhow, I thought as my anniversarry
gift to you, gentle noder, I will impart to you my advice for a nifty and long marriage
(well at least you'll make it seven years).
1. Be Polite
Are you reserving Please
, Thank you
and Excuse me
for special occasions? Are you On Your Best Behavior
when you go out? Why is your very best behavior reserved for strangers
? The person you love most in the world deserves the best of everything
- including you!
"But facty" you might exclaim, "I need to relax in my own house! I don't want to think about my language and manners all the time."
My answer to you is this: the more polite you are every day, the less you have to work at it. If you start using The Power of Politeness
today, in a few weeks you will find it effortless.
2. Learn to Resolve Four Conflict Types
- This is a conflict over nothing. You both KNOW you are right about who directed more episodes of The Facts of Life
than any other director (Asaad Kelada
) but who will give up first? Believe it or not this stuff ruins marriages - not for the squabble itself, but the behavior of the parties involved. Be graceful and drop it
. "You are probably right". Never bring it up again.
- This matters. Which car are you going to buy, the station wagon
or the sports coupe
? Public school
for the children or private? This is resolved by staying civil and sometimes sleeping on it (by the way all that never go to bed angry
stuff is 70s sit-com crap
- sometimes a good night's sleep is just what you need to make difficult decisions).
! It's ok really! the rules are: Stay polite about it. When you hear the same stuff being said over and over take a time out
. Say what is important to you. Be emotional
but don't get carried away. Find the compromise
- Take a break and cool down
. Seek opinions from trusted friends
. Let it simmer until it's just an agument and take it from there.
3. Follow the Rules
Every marriage has rules set out in the beginning - sometimes they are in the actual wedding vows
! We follow the traditional Western Marriage Model
: the two things that would end our current marriage are cheating
and physical abuse
. I understand there are swingers
people who might have differing rules - but they will follow them for a happy marriage.
4. Don't Have Kids Right Away
Enjoy each other for a few years - be a couple
. Everything changes when a couple
becomes a family
. If you have kids right away you will have to wait at least 18-20 years to be lovers alone
. (People have kids right away often have wonderfull 50+ year marriages, but I treasure the time I spent with my husband after boyfriend before father
, so I included this)
5. Find the Excellent, Ignore the Awful
If you marry a human being
there will be stuff you delight
in and stuff you loathe
about them. She chews
too loud? He wont put down the Linux
and come to bed? Bah! She is lovely
! He is a hero
Sometimes this takes more work than being polite - that is the ebb and flow of love and the world
. Worth it.