How to Survive 30 Years of Marriage
My husband and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary.
Being married for 30 years is significantly more impressive than 25 years, although the 25th anniversary is typically the one that gets the big party and all the attention.
It’s a whole new decade of marriage. It’s like turning the big 3-0 as compared to 25.
Since I got married at 26, the “married me” years now clearly outnumber the “not married me” years. This is just one more sign of being middle aged that occurs to me at 2 a.m.
I have reached the point of being married where others ask for my advice.
What is the secret to a successful marriage? First of all, just because you are married for a long time does not mean the marriage is successful. It may mean you haven’t figured a way out that doesn’t result in a jail sentence or homelessness. Several times during our 30 years both of these possibilities forced us to suck it up and “work out” our differences.
I believe having a very big house is the key to a happy marriage.
There were fights my husband didn’t even know we were having because he was in a room on another floor at the other end of the house. I’d yell and bitch and stop talking to him and he didn’t have a clue. I could sleep in a guest room if I were really pissed off and after a day or two I’d be calm enough to have a civilized conversation. It was my version of a time-out and it worked. Every couple should have this kind of space.
Having kids can wreck a perfectly great relationship. They start out all cute and wonderful and then you take them home from the hospital.
Why anyone thinks a child would complement a relationship is beyond me. They take all your time and attention and you worry about stuff you never considered before. This makes you a lunatic. If you are living with a lunatic (me) you need a big house.
Our house is big enough so that at one point we decided we should stop wandering around screaming each others’ names and instead got a few intercoms. My kids thought this was great but after the first week we couldn’t be bothered walking to the intercom and went back to shrieking from wherever we were.
Did I mention we were from New York?
As NYers living in Massachusetts we were far from family and we will never know if this was good or bad for our marriage. I believe it was a good thing for the first ten years or so when I was staking my claim. I have a great relationship with my mother-in-law but early on I felt like I had to make a point that this was my home and my children. Hey, it’s a girl thing.
Thirty years later it would be so much more convenient to live closer to our elderly parents. An hour away might be the perfect distance. Close enough for a day visit yet far enough to avoid an ill-timed drop in. I like my privacy, sue me.
My parents were married over 50 years when my Dad died. They fought over the dumbest things. I mean really dumb things. Once I asked my mother why they just didn’t get a divorce since they didn’t seem to get along very well. She told me, “It’s not important until we stop yelling and start whispering.”
One thing I’ve learned in my 30 years is you simply can’t judge other couples’ relationships.
While my parents bickered, my Mother would never let her kids or anyone else say a bad thing about my father, and my Dad always put my Mother first. Despite their crazy arguing they had a solid marriage.
Which brings me back to us.
The kids are gone from the big house and it’s just me, my husband, our elderly dog and our two cats. We all cuddle up in one room and hang out together. There isn’t much screaming anymore, but every now and then we do get annoyed enough to leave each other alone and seek out asylum in a separate section of the house for a bit.
For instance, not long ago there was this incident with a clock.
We simply needed to buy a clock for the bedroom, and to make a point my husband took the huge wall clock from the living room and brought it to our room. It looked absurd and while it was funny it was also irritating. He was angry and frustrated that there was no clock when he needed it and I was irritated that it apparently was my fault and he was taking no responsibility.
And THIS is what we have left to argue about after 30 years!
Happy Anniversary to my husband and best friend, RB. XXOOO
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