This past weekend I attended a good friend’s wedding: his second; her first. It was a beautiful and fun affair; a great way to start down the marital path. Not surprisingly, this event has me reflecting a bit on marriages – firsts, seconds, and beyond.
Now, I’ve been warned: Danger Will Robinson, DANGER! Why would I ever want to wade into the minefield-laced topic of marriage? Well kiddies, sometimes you just gotta get in there and throw out a few ideas. But let’s be clear: I am NOT a reliable expert on what makes a marriage work. I am the antithesis of a marriage expert. In the dictionary, next to the phrase “marriage expert,” you will NOT find my picture.
I do, of course, have a few observations regarding marriage. Kimba always has an opinion…
Marriage is hard. If you think you’ll be happy every day; you’re delusional. The great Bette Davis (one of my all-time favorite broads) was famous for saying; “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” Her quote could easily be modified to read: “Marriage ain’t for sissies either.”
I do think that marriage is different the second time around. Yep, I’m happily on wedded bliss #2; been here going on thirteen years. For me, I’m just a different person now. Older, wiser, and I don’t sweat the small stuff nearly as much as I used to. It certainly helps that I continue to be invested in making my husband happy. I’m not sure I was very good at this – recognizing and contributing to another person’s happiness – the first time around.
One thing that I am hopelessly bad at is compromise. And, if marriage is about anything, it’s about compromise. I hate that I often fall into the stereotypical female mindset of “keeping score.” I have to constantly try to wipe that slate clean. I really should try to get rid of the slate all together.
It’s easy to become jaded about the institution of marriage. I don’t know how women summon the courage to ever try matrimony more than once or twice. But, there are gals like the fabulous Elizabeth Taylor who never give up on nuptials. I actually have an odd little connection to Ms. Taylor: in 1976 Liz Taylor married husband #6, Senator John Warner, in a small little church just outside of Leesburg, VA. Twenty-five years later Greg and I exchanged vows in that same small, quaint country haven.
So, do I have any sound advice? Any little gems to pass along regarding the secrets of a happy marriage? Sorry, but no; I’ve got nada – no great personal insights to offer whatsoever.
I do, however, recommend the sage wisdom of Jill Conner Browne, whose book The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love should be required reading for all newlyweds. Ms. Browne shares that for every woman, there are five men that she must have in her life at all times:
- One you can talk to
- One who can fix things
- One you can dance with
- One who can pay for things
- One to have sex with
Newsflash: numbers 1 through 5 above are not likely to all be the same guy – and that’s perfectly OK. Your spouse should probably be #5. Also, I’m not personally vested in #4 – I like to pay for my own stuff. But numbers 1 through 3 are absolutely up for grabs. It’s just not realistic to think that one person can cover all your needs all the time. Is it?
Do YOU have any secrets to a good marriage that you would like to share? Are you on marriage #2 (or beyond) and, if so, how is it different from the first time around?
Read more from Kimba Dalferes on her blog, The Middle-Aged Cheap Seats