Staying Married

Just like millions of others, my lover and I celebrated a wedding anniversary this past holiday weekend.  For the record, it was 22 years (if this were a cop show, it would be “The Two Two”.)  In “real” time, 22 years feels alot like 44 years.  It is both a long time and a short time.  I’m hoping for my 25th, he surprises me with a long weekend trip to Vegas, where he reproposes with a platinum ring that bears 5 large diamonds or 10 medium diamonds on the band, and hides it a glass of champagne which I discover during the touching toast he makes to me during a very expensive dinner.  And then an Elvis impersonator does the ceremony.  Silly, I know.  

We’ve now been married longer than all our friends except one couple (and they know who they are.)  Aside from the continued observations by some that “we still can’t believe the two of you got married”, and “you two couldn’t be more polar opposites if you tried”, sometimes, someone who doesn’t know us that well, will ask “what’s the secret to staying married?”

So glad you asked!

  1. Does the other person make you laugh?  As in, during an argument, when things are really looking bad, or when things are going really well, at any point can they find something to remark on that lightens the moment and makes you laugh?  
  2. Try not to let the things the other person does push you to the brink of insanity.  Or violence.  You may have to ask yourself — daily even — “is this a deal breaker for me?”  It’s a good idea to spend some time getting in touch with your priorities and knowing what your deal breakers are.  Relationships can be full of a million pieces of daily bullshit, but how much of it is really a deal breaker?
  3. Have your own life, but also build a life together.  If you are too busy to make time at least once or twice a month to spend time with your mate, you may just not want to.  Continental drift can be the kiss of death.  If it seems one of you is North America and the other if you is Australia, chances are you haven’t made much time for each other as a couple.  
  4. Brace yourself for shit.  ”Shit happens” is not just a tossed off line.  The emphasis is on “shit”.  Shit will happen to you, to your spouse, your children, your family, your friends, your pets.  As in literal, brown, rank, fetid, excrement that will ruin your day, your mood, maybe your life — or that of your lover.  The longer you’re together, the more shit you will need to endure or support your spouse through while they endure it, or worse endure some tragedy that takes on both of you.  Death, illness, grief, disappointment, financial ruin, dishonesty, the list goes on and on.  Shit will happen.  It is pretty unlikely to be shit you feel you signed up for.  It may be more than you can bear.  See #2 above.
  5. It is easy to get lost on your way through the years, jobs, family dynamics, children, friends, mid life crises (which come in all shapes, colors, fantasies, and out of body experiences), hobbies and community service.  Let alone when the shit happens.  My best advice to you:

A) Just remind yourself “This too shall pass.”  And/or —

B) Complete every chapter and checklist in “To Good to Leave Too Bad to Stay” by Mira Kirshenbaum.  It will help you set your marriage* compass to true North.

*And, by the way, I believe marriage is between any two humans who love each other regardless of if their genitalia is the same matched set package or purse or one of each.  Get a grip, people.  Love is love and marriage is not something “God” stated belonged only between a man and a woman.  And don’t even get me started on what a “family” is made up of.


Your Unsolicited Life Coach

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