Unfortunately the first thing that comes to mind is the same advice that George Burns used to give when people asked him what the key was to a long and successful marriage, he always said: “Marry Gracie.”
For me it’s: “Marry Ted.”
I’ve said to him more than once over the years that there would be a lot more happy women in the world if they were just married to Ted, but unfortunately for them I’m not willing to share.
So instead I’ll start with my Mom and Dad. They’ve both offered me good marriage advice over the years and after nearly fifty years together I think they’ve more than earned the right to be listened to on this point. My mother’s was to remember not to fall into the trap of thinking it’s all going to be perfect hearts and flowers every day, if you want it to work you have to work at it. My Dad’s was simpler; “pick your battles” or more succinctly “know when to shut up”.
It’s true that it’s not always easy, but to be honest I don’t find it hard either. Ted is easy to live with, easy on the eyes, loving to the heart and stimulating to the mind. I looked at him last night and realized he’s even better looking now than the day I married him (the jerk).
We’ve had fights, sometimes really nasty ones, but it’s never for one moment entered into my mind to even consider quitting.
I truly believe that Ted and I make one another better people. We are stronger, smarter and more productive as a whole than either of us were apart.
In eight years we’ve been through two job losses, friend deaths, financial crisis, spiritual and emotional renewal, depression, anxiety, family meltdown and numerous disagreements about how exactly is the best way to raise our son. We’ve turned from a guy with a kid and that guy’s wife into a true blended family (and that does take a long time).
It took almost eight years to turn me into an actual mom.
I don’t know if any of this is helpful to anyone else, but here’s my point: choose wisely. Do not ever expect that the issues that get brought into a marriage will magically be fixed or go away later, most likely you’ll both have to live with them. So it’s extraordinarily important not to make the decision of a mate impulsively or blindly. Look twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years down the road and try to think about whether the quirks you find endearing now will be driving you mad then.
And, if possible, marry Ted.