Archives for posts with tag: happiness

How do you stay married for a long time? It’s not easy. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one of every two marriages ends in divorce. (The other one ends in Ohio.)

As someone who has been married forever — in fact, my wife and I recently celebrated what we think is our 332nd anniversary, and it’s really hard to get an appropriate card for that — we know a thing or two about marriage. As a public service, here are our marital secrets:

Secret No. 1: Have no secrets.

Admit that you were the one to finish the last chocolate chip cookie. Share the fact that for the last 17 years you have been an undercover North Korean spy. Tell your spouse that you really didn’t like La La Land no matter what you said immediately after.

Secret No. 2: Lower your expectations.

It’s important to remember that marriage isn’t always perfect. Sometimes there will be bumps along the road and the coffee will spill in your lap because someone forgot to put the cover on the travel mug correctly although I’m not naming names here. So when there are bumps, remember they are almost always your spouse’s fault.

Secret No. 3: Happily-ever-after doesn’t mean life together will be a fairy tale.

Instead of a fairy tale, sometimes married life will be a collection of short stories about people who have much more money than you do. Sometimes, it will be a limerick, usually one ending in a naughty word. Other times, it can be a crossword puzzle clue, like the three-letter ancient name for the city of Tokyo. Occasionally, married life will seem like a 19th-century Russian novel where everyone is named Goncharov or Carolnikov and you can’t tell what chapter you were in.

Secret No. 4: Don’t hold a grudge.

Unless, of course, someone asks you to do the dishes. Then you can say, sorry, I can’t, I’m holding a grudge from the last time you asked me and so my hands are full.

Secret No. 5: Never go to bed angry.

This may mean you have to avoid sleeping for several weeks. Drink a lot of coffee and pop some energy shots. If you get really tired, read a good Russian novel with characters named Goncharov or Carolnikov or watch what’s on Turner Classic Movies at 3 or 4 a.m. That’s when they have the really good ones that no one else sees because everyone else is sleeping.

Secret No. 6: Communication is important.

At breakfast, while sitting directly across the table from each other, be sure to send your partner a text. Check to make sure you’re both skimming similar Twitter feeds. Snapchat with him or her while in bed. Post to each other’s Instagram while you’re driving together to pick up the kids.

Secret No. 7: Show respect to your partner by paying attention.

Excuse me, what was that secret? Could you repeat that? Could you repeat the others, too?

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Recently, my wife and I celebrated a numerically significant wedding anniversary. It was numerically significant because to reach that anniversary number I figured I must have gotten married at the age of seven (My wife points out that she, of course, was five.)

Still, having been married so long, we know we are an exception. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 63 percent of all married couples find census numbers impossible to understand.

Nevertheless, many people have been impressed by the fact that we have been married so long, and, remarkably, to each other. And they have asked us how have we done it — what are our secrets, assuming that we have secrets we haven’t posted on Facebook yet or mentioned on our blog or tweeted to the world.

So here they are, our marital secrets.

Secret No. 1: Have no secrets.

It’s about time, after all, that you told your spouse that the box of chocolate chip cookies just didn’t disappear on its own back in ’03 and you are still hoping to find it. (That doesn’t mean, of course, you also have to mention the bag of black Twizzlers that mysteriously vanished Tuesday morning from the pantry.)

Secret No. 2: Lower your expectations.

Marriage isn’t always perfect. Sometimes there will be bumps along the road and the coffee will spill in your lap because someone forgot to put the cover on the travel mug correctly although I’m not naming names here. So when there are bumps, remember they are almost always your spouse’s fault.

If you can both remember that, at least you’ll agree on something.

Secret No. 3: Happily-ever-after doesn’t mean life together will be a fairy tale.

Sometimes married life will be a collection of short stories about people who have much more money than you do. Sometimes, it will be a limerick. Other times, it can be a crossword puzzle clue, like the three-letter ancient name for the city of Tokyo. Occasionally, married life will seem like a 19th-century Russian novel where everyone is named Goncharov or Goncharova and you can’t tell what chapter you were in.

Secret No. 4: Don’t hold a grudge.

Unless, of course, someone asks you to do the dishes. Then you can say, sorry, I can’t, I’m holding a grudge and my hands are full.

Secret No. 5: Be forgiving.

It is conceivable, during a long marriage, that a spouse one day may finally admit to devouring the black licorice Twizzlers, particularly if you are caught with the wrapper under your pillow.

When you accept the apology, be gracious, and make sure to get it in writing that the next bag is yours.

Secret No. 6: Show respect to your partner by paying attention.

Excuse me, what was that secret? Could you repeat that?

Secret No. 7: Never go to bed angry.

Instead, stay up late to see what’s on Turner Classic Movies. This way, you can see whatever they’re showing without annoying interruptions.