When I mention that I have been married for almost thirty-six years to the same man, my words are often met with exclamations of shock and/or a round of applause. It is simply not that common to see a marriage that makes it beyond the first ten or fifteen years intact. When I add that we are still extremely happy together, it is even more surprising. Many people can imagine a couple staying together for the sake of the children or for financial stability, but to actually be living happily ever after sounds…well, it sounds like a fairy-tale.
The truth is, that being married to the same person for over three decades is not a fairy-tale in any way. There are no bluebirds circling our heads, or little bunny rabbits bringing us flowers. Our fairy-god-mother never showed up and the prince on the white horse must have lost his GPS directions.
But there is a lot of smiling and looking the other way.
- When he leaves the seat up on the toilet, I put it down and remind myself that I do not live alone.
- When I take out the garbage for the third time in a row, I replace the plastic bag and keep my grumbles under my breath.
- When he snores in my ear at night, I put in my earplugs and thank God that I am not a widow like my friend.
- When we drive, I trust his navigating skills to always get us where we need to be, no matter how long it takes.
- When he drives me crazy, I tell my journal and maybe one trusted friend, but no one else.
- When he teases me, I tease right back because I know he loves it.
- When he is grumpy or tired, I pretend like I am a 1950’s housewife and do all I can to make him comfortable.
My husband and I have been through some hard times (and many more good times) in our years together. We have learned that facing the world as a team works so much better than using the outside pressures to change one another. Marriage is a job and every job has its pleasures and its doldrums. When we stop magnifying the hard parts and learn how to focus on the delightful parts, we both win.
How to have a long lasting marriage? Smile and look the other way. It is worth it.
Susie Klein – Freelance Writer – Professional Blogger