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Secrets To Happily Married

March 3, 2010

For the past couple of months, nay, years, I have been desperate to find out the secrets of the happily married. Surely, surely, there must be some sort of trick to it. An easy one, two, three step. Like swing dancing; right step, left step, shuffle, shuffle, left back step.

My parents have been married for nearly thirty years. Thirty happily married years might I add. This often surprises people. After all, someone who has grown up in a happy stable family relationship ought to not be as freaked out about commitment such as I. In fact, my parent’s marriage makes things just that much more difficult for me. After all, I won’t even have my parent’s failed relationship to explain my failed relationship. I would have no excuse at all.

Munching on breakfast at my parent’s one weekend, I asked my Dad, “What is the secret to a happy marriage?”

He peered  at me warily over the top of his newspaper, “Why?”

“Jeez, Dad, I don’t know, because  I am about to freaking get married here. I am not asking for your credit card number!”

He sighs and puts down the paper looking at it longingly. It’s the weekend. Time to hunt for bargains in the ad section. Unlike my mother who enjoys telling about the time Dad called her on Tuesday for a date on Saturday, asking my Dad for details is like pulling teeth.

“Well, don’t go to bed mad. Don’t keep secrets” he says reasonably.

I look at him expectantly. Seriously? Aren’t there human sacrifices of some sort? At least a goat or something. I guess it would be too much to ask how much sex figured into that equation.

When my grand-uncle and grand-aunt came in for the wedding, I stalked them for their marriage secrets. After all, they have clocked in nearly 40 years of marriage.

“Communicate, communicate, communicate” my aunt says to me over her bowl of cereal, “give each other space”. Space? What is that? Freaking A, Cory and I practically go to the bathroom together. Okay, maybe not that far but we are what some call insaperable. (“Oh Lord, Jess, do you have to tell everyone?”)

“Be patient with each other” my grand uncle says.

I don’t know. This all seems. . . almost too easy. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that is not easy. If not, why, there wouldn’t be so many divorced couples out there now would there? When I look over at Cory, I blithely wonder how I would ever want to divorce him. Ah yes, the innocence and naiveity of the newly married. I should enjoy it while I can.

Everyone is looking for answers these days. Everyone looks for signs. Like you don’t wear your ring all the time? You must be having problems. Everyone has answers. “Never put your spouse down. Not ever” says a girl on a nesting board (that word aggravates me to no end. Nesting. I don’t like nesting. Or breeding. Frankly, I like traveling. But that is another topic for another post). Statistics get thrown at you left and right. The rate of divorce of couples younger than 25 is 50% higher than those above 25.

Truth is, I don’t think there is a magic formula. I wish there were. I wish there was a trick to it all. Like wearing blue underwear on Wednesdays (which would cause some problems. My blue underwear selection is severely limited. I wonder if blue striped underwear would work as well). I think we all just blunder through it all together and pray you get out safely at the other end (or die trying. Now there is a happy image). I think at the end of the day, you love each other everyday, you trust and respect and communicate. You try the best you can and try some more and don’t ever give up.


 But what do I know? I have been married for like three minutes in comparison to my parents. Thoughts?


 Picture credited to NYTimes

7 Comments leave one →
  1. suzanneme permalink
    March 3, 2010 7:17 pm

    No magic formula, no right answers.

    Quote by Captain Corelli’s Mandolin:

    “Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”

    • Jesselyn permalink*
      March 3, 2010 7:34 pm

      What a beautiful quote! So glad you visit!

  2. March 3, 2010 7:56 pm

    If you find out, let me know!

    I guess it is the same as the secret to a happy relationship- whatever works for you!

  3. March 3, 2010 10:15 pm

    Uh, you didn’t leave that anonymous comment, right?

  4. March 3, 2010 10:16 pm

    I freakin LOVE your blog. Just so you know. I am always quizzing people about marriage. I think (hope) that going to bed mad thing is not the answer. Sometimes it’s just easier to go to bed mad, everything always feels better in the morning. But I, like you, have only been married three minutes so don’t listen to me. Great post.

    • Jesselyn permalink*
      March 4, 2010 12:01 am

      Oh yeah, arguing till we literally fall asleep on each other? Been there, done that. Just on like stupid things we shouldn’t have been arguing about in the first place then we wake up and laugh.

  5. March 4, 2010 7:59 am

    No idea myself. Statistics mean nothing to the individual.

    I will enter marriage with love and optimism. We will love to be together but continue to find fun elsewhere. I don’t us changing too much. I think that’s why I think we will be ok.

    Also we may get kittens!

    P.S. Your father is an unintentional comedy genius!

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