Relationships are tough. We are hard wired to seek companionship. We want to love and be loved. Most of lifes detours, from the pole in a strip club to the prisoner on death row, can be traced to our lack of or inability to quench this thirst. Why are some people successful in relationships and other are not? Judging by the self-help section at the bookstore, no one knows but everyone has an opinion.
I’ve been married for 20 years. I know a tiny part of the reason is because we both fear conviction for murder, so staying together is a better alternative. I would also agree that because we acknowledge and appreciate this theory, we both sleep better at night.
Anyone who tells you marriage is entirely blissful is a liar or has a rogue pharmacist. Sure, it’s great when you are experiencing newlywed sex, sleeping naked, vacations for two and quiet dinners. However, life happens and you can work to steer the runaway train together or get off at the next stop. I was lucky enough to find someone not only willing to steer this train, but ride it across wobbly bridges, through dark tunnels and even help get it back on track when it occasionally and inevitably derails.
With 20 years under my belt, I think it is only fitting that I throw my literary hat in the ring and provide you with a few tips you may not get in a traditional relationship guide. Strong successful marriages are not sugar coated, so neither will my advice.
· As you can probably imagine, humor plays a big role in our household. If you can’t laugh, it won’t last
· Go to bed angry. Not every situation can be solved in a timely matter and you’ve got shit to do in the morning
· Sex won’t always be great but if you don’t speak up, it won’t get any better either
· Don’t argue naked. For older couples, that’s ammunition (long titties, no ass havin, wrinkly mother fu*ker)
· Don’t make excuses for bad behavior. It happens. Own it and move on
· A courtesy flush goes a long way
· Your spouse does not complete you, they should complement you
· Be the Ride or Die, but understand that sometimes the ride or die needs to know when we’re stopping for food and if you got directions before we left because last time…
· Cut your toenails
· Keep up your appearance for yourself. Everyone benefits when you feel good and look good
· Your kids are not an excuse, they just change the game. Be flexible
· Listen, even when it’s the silliest nonsense you’ve ever heard
· Spending time apart is good for the soul (and your blood pressure)
· When telling a story, get to the point
· Don’t talk shit about each other to people. It’s disrespectful
The person you attract is defined by the person you present. Don’t expect someone to treat you any differently than you are willing to treat them, okay?
There is also more than one person out there for you. If it doesn’t work, try again. When it does, it’s pretty amazing. Don’t be discouraged. Sometimes, we have to kiss a lot of frogs before we find the frog we can be comfortable enough with to make children and carve out a life together. Then, you can look at that frog after 20 years and still know it’s a frog, but it’s your wrinkly old frog, and that still makes you smile.