February 18th is President’s Day and our anniversary. Ed and I have been married for 25 years. My, how time flies when you’re having fun.
Have you ever read obituaries? I sometimes do. Not sure why, unless it’s to make sure that I’m not in there, just in case I slept through my passing. There seems to be a common theme. So and so were married for fifty years, he died, and he’s survived by his wife. So and so died at age 257, he’s survived by his wife. So and so died at the young age of 17, he’s survived by his wife. Yep, the man is always the first to go. Why?
Not that it should surprise you, but I have a theory about that. Men die early because they use up all their energy listening to their wives. Or pretending to listen to their wives. We wear them out. If you’re married, you know what I mean. Women are perfectly capable of doing two things at once, like listening to their husbands and playing solitaire, or crocheting, or cooking dinner. Men? Not so much. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked, “Are you even listening to me?” I’d have about a bazillion nickels. Handy if there was a slot machine in the vicinity, but too heavy to carry around in my purse.
I know twenty-five years isn’t all that long to some married couples, and most of our long-time friends have been married twice as long as we have. But they’re the exception and in today’s world, we’re almost an anomaly. So, I’m going to take the opportunity to pass on some advice to get you to that silver anniversary. Simple things I’ve learned over the last years.
1 – Don’t kill him. Yes, I know you’re tempted, but don’t do it. You’ll just end up in jail and I’m pretty sure they won’t let you raid the fridge at midnight, so resist the temptation. Besides, you’ll outlive him anyway. When you get the urge to take matters into your own hands, read the obituaries. You’ll realize there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
2 – Whatever his favorite food is, learn how to cook it better than his mom. In my case, that’s easy because Ed loves chicken and dumplings. No-brainer food, and he thinks I’m the best cook in the world. Which means he’ll put up with me experimenting on new creations because he knows there’ll eventually be chicken and dumplings. That’s his light at the end of the tunnel. Another side benefit is he’ll forgive just about anything, like me bringing in another stray cat, because, well…he thinks I’m the best cook ever. Plus, he buys me every kitchen toy known to man. I’m not stupid, I know he does that so he won’t have to cook, but I’ve never let on that I know his secret, so don’t tell him.
3 – Marriages on autopilot don’t last. Marriage takes work. If it seems like it’s too much work sometimes, you’re probably right. But that doesn’t mean you stop working. If you do, the marriage won’t last. Everything worth having is worth the work. Try not to forget that. If you do forget, make his favorite food. The smile you get should bring it all back.
4 – I highly recommend you do what I do. Make the hubby pay for the privilege of you hanging around and not stopping his snoring with a well-placed pillow to the face. Every five years, Ed must buy me something blingy. A specific bling. He upgrades my wedding band or engagement ring to something with more or bigger diamonds. (By the way, he’s the best husband ever!) That alone is enough to keep me from accidently backing over him in the driveway when he breaks one of my favorite things. It also makes me want to keep him around another five years. The downside to that might be his willingness to just leave because it would be cheaper in the long run. If you’ve got the cooking his favorite food thing down, however, you won’t have to worry about that.
So, the secret to a good marriage isn’t never going to sleep angry, like you’ve probably heard a million times. The secret is patience, food, determination, and bribery. Pretty simple, really, if you think about it.
I have another anniversary this year, too. A sixty-year anniversary. Sixty years ago, in April 1959, I made my profession of faith and turned my life over to God. (Yes, we’ve already established the fact I’m old, so shut up!) That relationship is a heck of a lot easier, even though God doesn’t bribe me with diamonds so I’ll stay. Although, He did send Ed my way, so maybe He does. That’s too deep for me, so I’ll just continue on.
Marriages take work, and initially so does a relationship with God. Once you figure out that you can just let go and let God, the relationship with Him is super easy. So how does that correlate with your marriage? Make God a partner. The benefits are endless, and He doesn’t snore, so it’s all good. To recap: Patience, food, determination, bribery and God. I would use the next post to expand on a successful marriage from the husband’s standpoint, but really, that’s too easy. Happy wife, happy life. ‘Nuff said!