It’s wedding season.
Our kids’ friends are getting married, as are our nieces and nephews. Suddenly, I find myself being asked, “What’s your advice for a successful marriage?” My instant reaction is “Why are you asking me? I still wake up every morning and after 33 years of being married to the same guy, ask myself the same question.”
But, then it dawns on me, that’s the first piece of advice: Wake up each day and make a decision that you are going to have a successful marriage. A happy marriage is hard work.
My second bit of wisdom isn’t mine at all. I heard a woman who had been married 60 years explain the key to her marriage. She said that the night before she was married she decided to make a list of the five things that annoyed her, but that she could live with, about her future husband.
The interviewer then asked her, “What was on the list?” The woman answered, “I never got around to making the list, but whenever he did something that annoyed me, I would think, ‘That must be on the list’ and I’d forgive him.” Now that was good advice, and I follow it often, but I have 10 things on my list that doesn’t exist.
You also need to take time for your relationship. This is harder to do than it sounds because it means taking time away from life’s distractions: kids, friends and extended family. All of these are important to support a relationship and often provide role models, but when it comes right down to it, if things aren’t working for the two of you, you will grow apart, not together. So leave the clutter and the laundry behind and go for a walk together, or for a coffee or camping or book a hotel room. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.
Finally, and this is my best bit: marriage is not 50/50. Divorce is 50/50. You need to bring all of you to a marriage, so that means 100/100. You’ll know what that means for your relationship.
Jo-Ann Roberts is an award-winning, veteran journalist who is host of CBC Radio’s All Points West, 3-6 pm weekday afternoons, 90.5 fm.