A friend of mine is getting married soon. She's in her late 30's, and this is her first (and hopefully last) marriage.
It's not that she put her career first, or that she had a long unreasonable list of traits that she insisted a prospective mate should have. She's always been looking for "Mr. Right" and never wanted to settle for "Mr. Right Now". Her parents have been married for over 40 years, and she's longed to find a partner she could spend her entire life with. She's finally found the man who fits the bill.
We were talking a couple of weeks ago about the upcoming nuptials, and out of the blue she said, "You know, Atilla, you're the only friend I have who is still married and crazy in love with her husband after a zillion years together. Got any tips?"
First I was flabbergasted. That has got to be one of the very nicest things anybody has ever said to me. I told her I'd think about it and get back to her.
Hubby and I went out of town last week for a few days to a conference he had to attend (more on that in another post) and on the drive we talked about it. He was also very flattered to hear my friend's opinion about our relationship. We've been together for 21 years---most of my adult life!----and he wanted to hear what I came up with. I discarded all the trite advice, like "never go to bed mad at each other" (What BS. Quite a few times over the years I've gone to bed wanting to rip his face off).
This is what I narrowed it down to:
1. No matter how mad you get, never EVER call each other names. It's one thing to say I'm being bitchy, it's another to call me a bitch. Over the years, Hubby and I have been the unfortunate witnesses to a few spats between partners, most notably the Aspiring Adult and his last long-term girlfriend. You would not believe the things they called each other when arguing! Gah!
This is supposed to be the person you love more than anyone else in the world. Yeah, we all get mad at each other from time to time, but how can you look tenderly into the eyes of a person who called you a piece of sh*t? Seriously? How do you do that?
2. Never make your beloved look stupid in public or make jokes at his/her expense. Too many times we've been at functions where spouses have "jokingly" said unkind things about their mates. One guy, when asked about his wife's recent serious illness made a snarky comment about her being too sick to bathe and how her body funk put a hurting on his nose. He thought he was being funny and making light of a truly scary situation, but really, how humiliating for his wife.
We are a united front against the world. My husband is my haven, my safe place. He would no more share about the time I was having painful stomach issues and accidentally farted a couple of corn kernels in my panties (shrapnel!) then I would share about...well, I'm not telling. That's private.
Last, but not least....
3. Never let him see you poop (or any other bathroom functions). Yes, I know he is your soul mate, but you gotta maintain a little mystique there to keep the relationship alive. That's why Barbie is still a multigenerational sexy sex icon. She doesn't poop. Witnessing you doing it or changing a tampon will wreck your mystique. Trust me.
I'm thinking about putting a list together and sending it to my friend with her gift for her bridal shower. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend as she is out of state.
Do any of you who have been in long-term relationships have more advice?