MUSINGS ON A 30-YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
May 9, 2011 36 Comments
We are celebrating our 30 year wedding anniversary (“Pearl” I am regularly reminded) in May 2011.
Whilst we both make the same joke about “getting less time for manslaughter”, it does prove that mixed marriages can work, her being from Auckland in the North island of New Zealand and my being from Christchurch in the South Island.
Living in a time when 40-50% of first marriages end in divorce (60% of second and 70% of third), I felt that I should document what I feel constitutes the critical elements of a long lasting marriage:
1. Never compromise.
Fight to the death on every issue and only give in when one of you is cornered in the kitchen by the other wielding a large knife. Compromise is the stuff of unhappiness in any relationship as no-one wins, and the secret of a long lasting marriage is to keep score on wins and losses and act accordingly to keep balance and equilibrium. No partner should be allowed to get ahead by more than 10% or the relationship will become too one-sided.
2. Move as far away as possible from immediate family particularly both sets of parents.
I have long held the belief that it is a happy person that has a large, loving, close family, all living in another town, even better if they are in another country. This enables you both to point out each other’s weaknesses without having your in-laws beat you to it.
3. You must keep the passion alive across the decades.
Ripping each other’s g-strings off and having a quickie in the hotel elevator on the honeymoon will in time need to be replaced with strategies such as “going commando” so that you can take immediate advantage of the rarer opportunities as they present themselves. Be warned that for most men just taking the blue pill every night before going to bed is not a good “just in case” strategy, although it will stop you from accidently rolling out of bed when sleeping.
4. Successful marriages are built by couples that grow together over the years, so synchronise eating habits and grow together.
Jack Sprat and his wife may have stayed together despite their diverse eating habits but few real couples achieve the same success. Remember however that no matter how much weight a partner gains, even if they double their wedding day BMI, no-one’s bum ever looks large in any pair of trousers.
5. Get a GPS installed in all the cars that you own and name them.
Couples fight more over driving directions than do opposing parties in a parliament and having a “third person” to blame as you drive off a bridge into a creek saves considerable angst, and standing wet on the banks of the stream as “that bitch Marsha drowns” can bring couples closer together. Resist the temptation to record your spouse’s voice on the GPS as that will just feel like the normal situation of being yet again told what to do by your partner.
6. Never pass wind before your spouse. If it’s their turn to go first just let them.
The sooner that you share bathrooms and toilets with each other, the sooner you will realise the importance of smell as the most powerful of the 6 senses. Just be aware that what is a strong but familiar floral bouquet to you is a lung crushing terrorist attack to your partner.
7. It is critical that you build a relationship based on trust.
Taking out undisclosed life insurance policies for large sums on your spouse, secretly collecting books on how to recognise poisonous mushrooms or digging a human dimension trench 2 metres deep in the garden will not help to build a trusting relationship.
8. Get dogs, as they will love you even when you are in the wrong, enabling you to keep fighting when in a position of weakness knowing that you are still loved by something in your life.
Dogs can also be trained to attack on command, particularly by the main care giver, so it is worthwhile to establish the position of provider of sustenance to the attack Jack Russells.
9. Define roles early.
For example, men should establish the fact that it is just as easy (and involves the same amount of energy) for a woman to put the loo seat down when she needs to, as it is for a man to do so after he finishes, and that a man’s hand is not built to effectively manoeuvre neither an iron nor a vacuum cleaner. Women should establish the fact that scratching one’s own testicles does not constitute foreplay and that being able to burp Carl Orff’s CarminaBurana in its entirety will not make her parents like you more, no matter how often you try and even if you improve each time.
10. The major secret of a great marriage is how well you keep that major secret from each other.
Keeping secrets sustains an air of mystery in a relationship, so you should not divulge to your partner key elements of your life such as middle names, pin numbers, passwords and where the money is hidden.
The main thing to remember is to not rely on blog posts written on how to have a successful marriage, particularlyby someone demented, even if he is someone who does not regret one day of his 30 year marriage, and that one day was January 7th 1987.
PS: Please don’t pass this blog post on to my wife, as in reality she contributed, gave advice and edited the whole piece anyway, so she will not find it interesting nor illuminating. There is actually very little that we do not share, and maybe that is one of the true key secrets to a successful marriage, and the only one you should treat seriously in this whole post (apart from point 5 on getting a GPS).