Archives for posts with tag: relationships

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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Please complete the following relationship questionnaire. We are asking you these questions so we can match you with an attractive someone who is also deathly afraid of broccoli.

Remember, it’s important to be honest when answering the questionnaire – even if you have to lie a bit. This is not a test, so relax and have fun and don’t think about all the people here at our dating service who will be laughing at your transparent falsehoods. Be yourself, even if yourself has no friends and can’t remember where it put its glasses.

            When it comes to socializing, do you prefer to:

  • Hang out with close friends and family
  • Be around lots of new people
  • Talk to your bearded water dragon in iambic pentameter

            If your friends had to describe your personality, they’d say you were:

  • The quiet, behind-the-scenes type
  • The life of the party
  • Unconscious

            If you have free time, would you rather:

  • Curl up with a good book
  • Invite a friend over to watch a movie
  • Plot a takeover of Ukraine.

            When you have a problem, do you usually:

  • Keep it to yourself because you don’t like to burden others
  • Talk about it because you like getting feedback and ideas from other people
  • Binge on Twinkies

         Do you believe it’s more important to:

  • Enjoy what you do
  • Make enough money to do the things you dream of doing
  • Get to the supermarket in time for two-for-one Twinkie day

            You just got a big bonus at work. You:

  • Spend a little of it, but decide to save most of it
  • Spend a lot of it on something you really want, but save the rest
  • Floss

            When it comes to your family:

  • You’re very close to your relatives and like to be involved with them
  • You love everybody in the family, but only get together for certain events
  • If Aunt Sarah pinches you on the cheek one more time, you’ll kill her

            Your place is a mess. So you:

  • Need to clean it up, as soon as possible
  • Decide it can wait because no one’s coming over anytime soon
  • Move to Fort Wayne, Indiana

 

           If you had to narrow it down to one word, you’d say you were:

  • Intellectual
  • Creative
  • Hairy 

    Congratulations on finishing! Now, just remember, no matter how you scored on this questionnaire, there’s still someone out there for you and we’re still willing to take your money.

When people find out how long I’ve been married (739 years), they immediately ask how we’ve done it. What are our secrets? How have we overcome adversity? Where do we hide the chocolate?

Since we just celebrated our anniversary (in the traditional manner, by arguing over where we should set the thermostat when we go to bed at night), this seems an appropriate time to offer my personal tips on how to make a marriage work.

These are tips that have been honed by years of being ready to leave the house for an appointment before my wife is ready to leave the house and consequently having had too much time on my hands.

  • Never go to bed mad.

It makes much more sense to get mad before you go to bed, so you don’t have to stay awake for a long time trying to work up a good fit of pique.

  • Compromise is key.

If, for instance, you only have one television and you want to watch a college basketball game and your wife wants to watch the season finale of “The Good Wife,” you should both give in a little, and watch the basketball game because, you know, it’s a really important game.

  • Divide the household tasks evenly.

At our house, for example, I am in charge of dividing the household tasks. My wife is in charge of adding them. We outsource for subtraction and division.

  • Don’t rehash old arguments, even if you are convinced you won them and still have the scorecard to prove it.

It’s much more productive to begin new arguments, which are fresher and crisper, and have a later expiration date and you don’t have to refrigerate.

  • Similarly, don’t recall old arguments, particularly if you lost them, and your spouse still has the scorecard to prove it.
  • Never, ever eat the last Mallomar.
  • Always remember to apologize, even when you clearly have been right, which I absolutely was on March 19, 2003, and then again on Sept. 23, 2009.

And there’s no need to recall those incidents, unless, of course, you can easily work them into the conversation.

 
  • Never forget that marriage is hard work.

It’s not as difficult as, say, writing a blog, but it’s up there with trying to decide whether you should or should not send an error report to Microsoft after your computer crashes..

  • Never say “I told you so,” even if you really have.

Instead, send a text.

  • Watch out for the little things.
  • Watch out for the big things, too.
  • Always offer contradictory advice to your partner that at first sounds really profound but doesn’t really commit you to mowing the lawn on Saturday.
  • Don’t blame the other person for your own failings.
  • If these tips don’t work, it’s my wife’s fault.