25 years and counting...

So in honor of our 25th Anniversary, I am going to repost a blog I wrote about marriage. Not specifically. Just in general. The whole idea of choosing to spend your life with someone, for as long as you are lucky enough to have them, then actually doing it is fairly daunting. And a lot of people just don't seem to be able to manage it. Sometimes it takes more than one attempt. Sometimes fate intervenes, or it just wasn't the right time or, right person.

When I look around, at my closest friends, we've all managed this enormous accomplishment. In different ways I think, but there are some common threads, not the least of which is no cheating. Simple really. Not because Monogamy is essential to a good marriage. But because Trust is. And cheating, by it's very nature, is a betrayal of trust. So don't even go there.

That said, here are a few of my rules for a bumpy but exceedingly worthwhile and often entertaining adventure. Marriage according to Mary. With a caveat.... I don't always manage to follow my own rules, but I do try.

1. Learn to bend. Like Gumby. Or Mary Lou Retton. The guy from America's got Talent. It's called flexibility. He likes broccoli. I won't eat bushes. We compromise. He can have broccoli when we eat out. He likes to eat out alot.

2.  Buy a nose clip, and invest in air freshener. Most wives will tell you that regardless of the number of laundry bins you place strategically around the house, the dirty socks will end up on the floor. Bedroom floor. Closet floor. By the back door floor. Car floor. That one always makes me wonder....

3. Don't argue about money. Not your money. Not their money. Not government waste. Not taxes. Not bills. Not the deadbeat relative's finances. It's off limits. Discuss, yes. Argue, never never.

4. Same for politics. If you marry someone of another persuasion, i.e. the wrong side of the political fence, keep a muzzle on it. Especially when socializing with others. Remember, your spouse can pick up the sound of your political rant, even if you're whispering, from over 100 yards away. If you can, try to slowly rehabilitate them. But don't try to fix the in-laws, that's not gonna happen.

5. Yard work can be a blessing, or a curse. If your spouse isn't into yard work, live in the city, or hire a landscaper. Don't expect them to obediently go out there and spend a weekend doing something he or she detests. Have a little heart. Cut some slack.

6. Kitchens are dangerous places. Filled with lots of ways to burn each other. So don't. If your spouse can't cook, learn to do it yourself. If you don't do dishes, better hope they do. If you aren't so picky about cleanliness, then hope that they are. And if it's the other way around, then do it yourself and don't complain. It is what it is.

7. Be there. Whatever it is, whatever the melodramatic issue of the day, just be there. You are their shoulder to cry on, but you are also their dose of reality. Always always take their side, unless they are being completely stupid, in which case, politely tell them so.

8. To continue along this theme, don't ever name call. Don't be a bully or be mean to them to make yourself feel better. Just don't. And NEVER EVER physically hurt them. If you do, you don't deserve a good marriage, you deserve a nasty settlement where you lose the house, the kids, and your entire 401k plan. And a little jail time wouldn't hurt. Or a lot.

9. Your kids are not weapons of mass destruction. Never put them in between you. Sure you can, in good fun, take sides with them, say when you need back up because your husband's fashion sense has taken a serious wrong turn down a steep cliff. Or your need them to get your wife to give in on serving a little beef instead of chicken 7 nights a week. But never involve them in a serious disagreement.

10. Before you say I do, make sure you do. Being in love, and loving someone are not the same thing.  Both are necessary for a long healthy marriage. You should be IN love with them. Butterflies, chemical attraction, blinders and all. But by the time you say I do, you should LOVE them. Foibles and all. Bad hair days. Break out days. Cramp days. Grumpy days. But at the end of all days, you should be able to go to sleep (if you aren't an insomniac like me) knowing you are with your best friend.

So. 25 years. A lifetime for some. Not nearly enough for others. Here's to 25 more.

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