I thought that I might begin this prosaic journey by dealing with the longevity thing. I can't tell you how many times I have been asked recently what the secret is to our long and supposedly happy marriage. I could easily respond with the stock answers. You know the ones. The crap you read in self-help books or see on Dr. Phil.
- Never go to bed angry. A crock of shit!!! I can't tell you how many times we have screamed through the night, only to wake to the same dispute in the morning. Anger and disagreements are part of marriage and there can't be an artificial time-limit placed on their resolutions. What matters more is the solution.
- Make time for dates. Frankly-more bullshit. The best times together are the ones that aren't forced or planned. Popcorn and a movie on the couch is often better than expensive restaurants, flowers and faux feelings. We like cooking dinner together. It is interesting to note that romance can be found in the mundane.
- Me isn't as important as we. Oy!! What nonsense. In order to maintain a healthy we, the individual needs to be nurtured. Time for oneself is crucial if time together is going to be productive.
In the interest of fair play, The Husband hates the fact that I am a picker. I pick out my favourite nuts from the bowl. I hate the peanuts, but love the cashews. I eat the cashews and leave him the peanuts. Seems very fair to me, but not to him. In a bag of Chex Mix, I leave him half-filled bags of pretzels. I only like certain flavours of candy, so it isn't unusual to see small plates left with only green and black gummies. When eating popcorn, I like the half-popped, slightly burned kernels. (I acknowledge that this is extremely weird, but it is who I am!) The Husband complains that when I go digging for said kernels, I disrupt the salt to kernel ratio on the remainder of the bowl. In a bowl of fruit, I leave the melon and eat the strawberries and grapes. Unfair? Certainly, considering he is allergic to melon. When he complains vociferously about my bad habits, I acknowledge that he is absolutely right and I continue eating the cashews and leaving the peanuts.
We have learned to not get too worked up about the little things. Sure, they bug us like an itch that remains unscratched, but we have learned that there are too many major obstacles to cope with in a marriage to get consistently worked up about piles and peanuts. That doesn't mean that we don't yell about this stuff from time to time, we just acknowledge that it will never truly be resolved.
The longevity thing in a relationship is as much about concession as it is about commitment. After nearly twenty-five years of marriage, I can honestly state that it's the little things. More to come.