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Saturday, October 10, 2009

Secrets for a Happy Marriage

Today is our wedding anniversary. 34 years of wedded adventures.

I don't know what I expected when I got married. Aside from my grandmother, I'd never met anyone who'd been married more than 30 years. To my young, innocent mind, that seemed like an eternity without parole. But I've learned a few secrets over the years that I think helped me along the way.

Secret #1: Like each other

Like most newlyweds we were very much in love, but one of the secrets to a long and happy relationship is that we like each other--a lot. I like Greg's confidence, his intelligence, his generosity and his ability to see the things I can't.

Greg is my best friend. I trust him with my life. I know no matter what happens, he'll be there for me. He's kinda like my dog, but with opposable thumbs...and a bank account.

Secret number #2: Honesty

Perhaps the hardest thing of all, honesty is necessary for a strong relationship. That's because a relationship is made of two people. The moment you start thinking of yourself in the singular, you forget the other person and sometimes do stupid things that inevitably hurt that person.

Don't lie. And don't cover up your lies.

Secret #3: Doggedness

And you don't need a dog for this one. So many people today give up too easily. I know I speak to a lot of writers on this blog, so giving up isn't part of your nature, but people in general give up too quickly.

Butch up! A good marriage takes work. It's not going to be roses every day. If there's a challenge, face it head on. If you're bored with your mate, figure out why. Everyone has problems, but if you believe in your marriage and in each other, you'll find a way to make it work.

Secret #4: Humor Me

In order to weather storms you have to believe that somehow you'll get through this. When I think back on all the bad things that have happened in our shared life, I remember there's always a moment when we laugh.

~When Isis, our first rottie and the love of our lives died, in between tears and sleepless nights, we laughed about all her misadventures and all the joy she brought us.

~Once we'd both gotten the flu at the same time. It was bad. The worst flu we ever had. We sat there on the couch, slowly decomposing, when I turned to Greg and said: 'It's every man for himself now.' In between bursts of coughing up our lungs, we started to laugh, and couldn't stop laughing. It was funny--even if we were dying.

~Greg had an accident at his plant where a huge steel wheel had come off its mooring and hit him on the head. He was knocked unconscious and they raced him to the hospital. His manager at the time was shook up and he kept blathering everything but what I wanted to hear. Finally, I yelled at him over the phone. "Is he breathing?" Manager: "Yes, ma'am! Yes, ma'am!"

When I got to the hospital, he was still in his neck brace and I could see blood on his face. I took a deep breath and braced myself for the worst and walked in as nonchalantly as I could. I held his hand and scolded him: "I told you to be careful this morning." (I tell him this every morning.)

I smiled and joked, but it was killing me inside. Sometimes you have to force humor, if only to keep from crying.

If I were to condense this to one tip, it would be to always think of the other half of your relationship. Bolster him (or her) up when he's down. Lighten his load when you can, and share the good along with the bad. Most of all, remember that marriage is a union of two souls. Both people have to commit equally.

Ultimately, marriage is about sharing, both the burdens and the joys.
...and that decadent piece of cheesecake at the end of a meal.

Copyright © 2009 Maria Zannini --


Marianne Arkins said...

Happy Anniversary!! 34 years these days is practically a record. I'm only at 13, but I have an eyeball on the 3-0.

And, you're right about it all, but especially (IMHO) the part about giving up when it gets hard. People give up far too easily anymore... the first hint of conflict and it's over.

Good luck for the next 34 years! *G*

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, Marianne. I can tell from reading your blog that you are well on your way.

Sherri said...

Day late...but congrats!

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, Sherri!

Kaz Augustin said...

Happy anniversary to both you and Greg, M! With lots more cheesecake endings to come. (And you can take that any way you wish! LOL)

catie james said...

Congratulations & Happy Anniversary! :)

Maria Zannini said...

Thank you Kaz and Catie. Apparently, I had too good a time.

Mike Keyton said...

Lovely post, Maria.
Happy Anniversary!
(and hope you recover soon from the plague.)

Maria Zannini said...

Thanks, Mike!