“Look at this — the evolution of a relationship.”
He and I were at a party, young newlyweds curled up next to each other, practically sitting on each other’s lap, hand in hand. Our hostess was gesticulating wildly at us, a sudden realization hitting her.
“Look at you guys. Young love.”
She feigned a sigh of bliss. Then she pointed at another couple, sitting on opposite ends of a couch.
“See this? That’s two years into a relationship.”
“And this,” she said, waving her arm back and forth to her husband, who was sitting across the room, “is five years of marriage.”
Today H and I celebrate 16 years of marriage. It seems like so many years, and yet they went by in a blink of an eye. I can’t recall whether the couples at the party are still together. I wouldn’t be shocked if they weren’t because over the course of our marriage, H and I have seen the dissolution of many friends’ relationships. I’m sure many thought ours would dissolve, too. We married so young. I was 19, he was 20. There were whispers that I must be pregnant (I wasn’t).
I’ve been asked one question over and over again: What’s your secret?
The answer: There are so many. It’s the little things. It’s the big things. It’s the impossible. It’s the simple. It’s the excruciating times. It’s the blissful times.
For example, there is the case of the egg muffin. H made some delicious egg muffins last weekend: turkey sausage, kale, eggs, cheese. They are the perfect breakfast because they require literally zero effort. Just grab and go.
We were down to the last few, and H left one for me. Upon seeing it in the fridge, I put it back, thinking, “I’ll leave that for H. He’ll be hungry when he gets home.” This happened back and forth for three days, neither of us eating that damn delicious muffin. Neither of us wanting to deny the other the chance to eat it.
“Are you ever going to eat that muffin?” he finally asked me.
“I left it for you,” I said.
He chuckled. “I left it for you, too.”
5 Tips for a Happy Marriage
This list is based solely on our own experience, and in no way is it exhaustive. It also assumes that you are head-over-heels in love (l-u-v) with your partner, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Because, as The Beatles sang, all you need is love.
- Be communicative. And when you think you’re done communicating, do it some more. Try not to go to sleep angry. Hash it out. Do not let issues lie beneath the surface. That’s how people lose their minds.
- Be considerate. Leave each other the last muffin, for crying out loud. Put your partner’s needs/wants at least equal to your own, if not ahead of your own as necessary. Give and take, push and pull. Think of your marriage like an ocean. There will be times when your priorities will be on top, and there will be times when your priorities are on bottom.
- Be silly. Let your guard down and just be a doofus. Do not hold back any aspect of your personality. If you aren’t comfortable with your partner, who will you be comfortable with?
- Be intimate. It’s important to remember the romance.
- Be realistic. It’s important to also forget the romance. Life happens. You will get bogged down in the day-to-day, and you have to know that every day of your marriage will not be rainbows, unicorns and sunshine. Sometimes it will rain. These are the times you have to remember that this is life. It’s not a fairy tale. Do not mistake infatuation with love. Your partner’s job isn’t to make you happy or romance you every single day. Have unconditional love, be kind. Reference back to the first four tips for a happy marriage. You will get through the bad times, in sickness and in health. Till death do you part.
You might be wondering about our current seating arrangements. Are we still sitting next to each other on the couch? Did we defy the “evolution of a relationship”?
Sure. We sit next to each other, sometimes almost on top of each other!
We sometimes sprawl out. And sometimes we’re across the room from each other.
The tether that ties us together is resilient. It allows for a lot of slack, and yet it can bounce back to bring us closer and closer together.