We are celebrating our 30 year wedding anniversary (“Pearl” I am regularly reminded) in May 2011.

Author: Arquera (Emi Yañez); via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Author: SeanMack, via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Author: Darrenm540 (Own work); via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Author: Inekevk (own work); via Wikimedia Commons

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).



  1. PriyankaSAP says:

    🙂 Many congratulations to you and your wife on completing 3 decades of togetherness.

  2. leshayman says:

    Hi Priyanka,
    Thanks for the kind words … it has been a wonderful journey.

  3. Selina says:

    Heartiest congratulations Les! Great achievement indeed.

    Cheers, Selina

    • leshayman says:

      Thanks Selina,
      It feels like it has gone by in a twinkling …. it was definitely not a hardship, but was a lot of fun and delight.

  4. martin metcalf says:

    Happy Anniversary to you both. I agree that point 5 is the key. All the others have solutions. I think having a GPS with a celebrity voice is as good as having a name. John Cleese is on my next one. At least who ever is driving and gets it wrong will be harranged, saving the passenger the bother.

    • leshayman says:

      Brian, I agree heavily on the GPS. We have had some of our worst brawls driving in the US or when visiting Paris in pre-GPS days. Now we join forces and scream together at the GPS when she says “You have reached your destination” and we are at the entrance to someone’s hen-house rather than the theatre for which we have tickets and are already running late. Les

  5. Rob Zdravevski says:

    Congratulations to Victoria for some beautiful editing and contribution to this post. I think it’s time that you share some of your secrets for even I know your middle name. Happy Anniversary!

  6. Nickie says:

    So, should I really show Scotty this post…. actually I thought it was fantastic and quite true (but would never tell mum!)

  7. Frank says:

    Congrats on making it to “pearls”, and looking at your list I can see why I didn’t get past 20!
    Having said that, I read Men from Mars, Women from Venus “after” our split.. I would have benefited from reading it before, but probably only postponed the inevitable. But a book worth reading, especially a woman’s “value/points” system.
    Congrats, Frank

    • leshayman says:

      Hi Frank,
      Thanks for the congrats.
      The only book on marriage that is worth reading is “Men are from Mars and Women are from wherever they want to be”. Les

  8. Brian says:

    Congratulations to you and Victoria. Mary and I are eleven years ahead of you and I have no idea what recipe I would write for that, Whatever it is, I am very grateful for it.

  9. Manan Gupta says:

    Hi Les, Wish you both a very very happy anniversary! and it feels like you had an amazing journey…

  10. Congrats to both of you! #1 and #2 work for Thomas and me – oh yes, and the GPS thing. That’s a winner.

  11. leshayman says:

    Bonjour Madame Otter … great to see that a good set of knives and no compromise works for others too.
    For you guys living near Walldorf is a great strategy to keep family members away. 🙂 Les

  12. Ramakrishna Potluri says:

    Congratulations, Les ! 3 Decades of togetherness. Wow ! What an achievement for both of you.
    Thanks for sharing the secrets with us 🙂


  13. leshayman says:

    Hi Ramki, Thanks for this. I have to say it was very easy.
    Just don’t use any of the advice (apart from the GPS). Les 🙂

  14. Hi,
    I am writing a book called “So…How Did You Meet Anyway?” It is a collection of people’s “how we met” stories.
    I have posted the stories which have been sent in on;
    So…How Did You Meet Anyway?
    I am always shopping for stories and I would like to add yours. Please check out the site, and if you would like to contribute your “how we met” story contact me at;
    And…we are celebrating 31 years this May:)
    Take care and…congratulations!

  15. Steve & Bronwen Clay says:

    Hey Les,

    Let me add to the stream of congratulations!

    Let me also remind you that you are personally responsible for my own marriage to Bronwen – we met at the Regent Hotel in Sydney at a Data General function when you were state sales manager for DG. 12 months later – married and now about to celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary.

    Who’d have thought!!

    Best wishes, Steve and Bronwen

  16. leshayman says:

    Hi Steve and Bronwen,
    Thanks for the good wishes … I’m thrilled to have played matchmaker for you two, and expect to be invited to your 30th celebration.

  17. Mal Booth says:

    Congratulations to both of you on 30 years this month. Long may it continue.

    I celebrated 17 years with SAP just last month, but that’s a whole different relationship.

  18. leshayman says:

    Thanks Mal … I saw my time with SAP as similar to a marriage. When you are committed to a relationship it applies to work as well. Les

    • Debashish Chatterjee says:

      Hi Les,

      Congratulations to you and Victoria! Thanks for sharing the “pearls” of wisdom. It is a treat to read your blogs. Would welcome another 10 critical points of advice/ that I can ignore!


  19. Les and Victoria,
    Congratulations to you both, but especially to Victoria.
    I think it is high time she had a blog.

    • leshayman says:

      Thomas… Thanks for the kind wishes … Victoria doesn’t need a blog as she has moulded most of my ideas anyway over the last 30 years … after that amount of time we are just like a ventriloquist’s dummy 🙂

  20. Elie O'Han says:

    Salut Les

    Felicitations a vous deux!!….. Je me souviens encore de notre trentieme….. huit ans plus tard….. je n’ai pas achete ses perles!! ….. peux tu me dire, qu’est-ce qui est convenable pour le quarantieme?…. sinon je ne peut pas survivre cet anniversaire!!

    A bientot

    Elie & Keti

    • leshayman says:

      Hi Elie and Keti, thanks for the congratulations … nice to hear from a couple heading for their 40th.
      Elie I have no idea how you survived the 30th without the pearls 🙂
      40th is Ruby which can be even pricier, unless you can get away with a bottle of ruby port ???

  21. Morry says:

    Dear nephew
    Congrats to you both. Re #5, I can’t even spell GPS.
    Simone & I just had our anniversary. I bought her a can of coke. Empty. Ok, i found an empty can of coke and gave it to her. It’s the thought that counts!
    Love, Uncle Morry

    PS Loving your blog. A number of “us” are finding it “tray amusemon”.

  22. leshayman says:

    Hi Uncle Morry,
    As long as you remembered your anniversary … it’s the memory that counts …
    nephew Les

  23. Annette Hayman says:

    Congratulations to you and Victoria, wishing you many more adventures, good times and good health for the future. Thirty years ago you may have felt that you were on the otherside of the world, but now your family is only a tweet, text, phonecall, fax, skype, mouseclick or very fit homing pigeon away.

    Love, Annette

  24. leshayman says:

    Hi Annette, I guess that there is no running away from a family with technology these days.
    Thanks for the good wishes. Love, Les

  25. John Du Bois says:

    Les To You and Victoria Congratulations on a significant milestone to two wonderful people and May You both continue your journey and adventure with continued good health and great times

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