Friday, September 07, 2007

Marriage and That

What is the secret of a long and happy marriage? I know that the ultimate assessment can only take place when parted by death but it will be a tad tricky to do it then. Three days short of a thirtieth wedding anniversary might be as good a time as any for a few reflections.

Liz doesn't blog, and doesn't read this unless I tell her to absolutely. That may be secret number one.

Have a few adventures together. Do a few things as a couple that neither of you did apart. Discover some places, people and experiences jointly.

Support each other in your individual interests but don't feel you have to take up each other's hobbies.

Even if you must have a joint bank account, keep some place where you have your own money, to do with what you want without asking your partner. I don't want to know, from our joint bank statement, how much my birthday present cost.

Learn quickly about the petty things that cause more pain than they possibly should? I hate sitting in rooms with the doors open. Liz hates an untidy kitchen. Many couples can cope well with both these things but it makes our mutual lives easier if we acknowledge what annoys our partner and try not to do it however trivial it might seem to us. Toothpaste squeezing used to be the example of this but my toothpaste now resembles a small pump action military device.

If you have children, the greatest gift you can give them is to continue to love their other parent, even if sometimes this means spending time with each other not the kids. What price a stable, loving home to walk into after a bad day at school?

Have some secrets between each other that no-one else in all the world knows and take them to the grave. The surviving partner can then publish if they want. Examples of this might be no don't blog them you idiot.

Share the tasks equitably (men I'm talking to you). If both partners have full-time jobs then share the washing, cleaning, ironing, cooking, shopping, gardening and DIY equally unless there is clear agreement not to from the outset.
The partner with the higher cleaning standards should be in charge of the cleaning.
Don't change the rules without talking about them first.
Men (again). You can say 'no' when asked if an item of clothing suits but you must be prepared to follow through on this and help advise on shopping trips.
Work out what to say when asked, for instance, 'Does my bum look big in this?' Especially if the truth is a bum that looks big in everything. You won't be able to recover with the '...but I like big bums' line. This is an example right.
Know when to drop everything and pay attention.
Women usually need to talk about their day and what men need to do is listen with attention not offer fix-it advice. Men usually need to go and hide for a bit before they can talk things through.
All men are on the Asperger's curve somewhere.
Not during the football or during the Archers or during the Now Show.
You'll never agree about Frank Sinatra.
Her being a Villa fan is proof it was love.
Sickness, poorer and worse are in there for a reason.
I'll possibly write some more when I've heard the reaction to this lot.


fotofill said...

Coming from someone who has decided to remain single for the rest of his life this is excellent advice!

Anonymous said...

I guess "if only..." is a bit of a giveaway :-(

fotofill said...

I don't understand that comment

lynntie said...

fantastic advice,I hope many men read this.

Anonymous said...

i hope that some couples get to read it together...

Hannah said...

I especially like your comment about sharing housework equally when both partners work full time - will send my husband to read the blog when he gets home!! If only more Christian men agreed with you, it upsets me when other Christian men think I'm not a good wife because I ask my husband to do the ironing or occassionally hoover the house.

Caroline Too said...

... but Hannah, why do you have to ask?

MollyB said...

I'd add:
- notice when your partner is putting up with your "special features." Give credit, lots of credit, for this.
- dare to explain to partner how bum questions put one in an unfair position and request that s/he ask directly for reassurance, if that's what s/he's looking for.
- some women are on the Asperger's curve and come home having used up all their words.
- get cleaning help if you can in any way afford it.

fav said...

Great line: 'Know when to drop everything and pay attention.'
did i say something??

Anonymous said...

Did I hear someething? Yes Fav. I heard that loud and clear!! Attention!

Anonymous said...

Why should the advice just be taken up by more Christian men? What about the Christian women too, have they got it nailed? And what about those that aren't Christians? Isn't there a more general "problem" at the moment with lots of marriages from lots of different backgrounds breaking down before they even near 30 years?

Congrats to St and wife for making it this far and may there be another fantastic 30 years ahead!

Anonymous said...

fotofill...the "if only" referred to my own experience of marriage, which is a far cry from St's wonderous words. That's all :-(

St said...

I once wrote a piece about Mrs T for a newspaper Valentine's day competition. I realised that bragging about a succesful marriage might only make some people feel sad and lonely. I'm touched by that anonymous 'if only' and wish I could help.

Sorry if this piece did hurt. Our succesful marriage has a huge amount of luck attached to a bit of judgement for sure.

But if giving this piece to couples about to embark on such a commitment, to read together and discuss, will help please do so.