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.