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Marriage Ain’t for Sissies

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.

marriage, midlife, secrets to a happy marriage, compromise, midlife, midlife women




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:

  1. One you can talk to
  2. One who can fix things
  3. One you can dance with
  4. One who can pay for things
  5. 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

Kimba Dalferes

Kimba Dalferes is a native Floridian, but currently pretends to be a Virginian. She is an accomplished king salmon slayer, estate sale junkie, and sometimes writes books. She is currently working on the sequel to her first book “I Was In Love With a Short Man Once.” This next book, “Magic Fishing Panties” will be out in 2015. She divides her time between Fairfax and Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia with husband Greg and occasionally her son Jimmy; when he is home from college. She also hangs out in The Middle-Aged Cheap Seats .

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Kathi Casey

Thursday 16th of January 2014

This is a fun post Kim! And definitely true. You may have to add one for an understanding as well since there are some men who wouldn't take too kindly to having their wife talk more to another man than to them! And I agree - number 4 is not necessary. Kathi


Wednesday 15th of January 2014

I would replace someone who makes me laugh for someone who can fix things. You can hire a handy man, but I don't think you can hire a comedian to come to your house.


Wednesday 15th of January 2014

I too think laughter is the most important element to a marriage. But I'm divorced--really several times.

That said my parents were very happily married forever and once I asked my mother what she most loved about my father (aside from their obvious sexual attraction which I didn't want to know about--though as a baby and child loved it when they made out.)

My mother just stared at me and said: "you of anybody should know. He makes me laugh" He did spend over 30 years waiting for the super to come to their home so I wasn't brought up with the fix it gene. Which was good as no man I was involved with could.

But I own a house now and yes I would love it!

Kathy @ SMART Living

Tuesday 14th of January 2014

Hi Kimba! I have no advice about marriage from the 2nd time around cuz I'm one of those Happy Married first timers. My husband and I met for the first time on January 29th, 37 years ago and have been together ever since. While it hasn't always been easy (especially the first 15 years or so) but I'm VERY happy to say that it is getting better, and better and better now as it goes along. I am also happy to say that my "man" contains all five of the elements you suggest--but I'd add one more, 6. One that could make you laugh. Thanks for reminding me of how lucky I am! ~Kathy


Wednesday 15th of January 2014

I definitely agree - someone who makes you laugh is a must; #6 for sure, maybe even #1!


Tuesday 14th of January 2014

You have so many great tips and I do believe your insight as a person on #2 marriage is one of the reasons. (I am as well). I think the loss of the first gives many who take the time perspectitive on the second.

My advice is marry someone who is like your dad (weill...if you dad is awesome, which mine is!)


Wednesday 15th of January 2014

I have a great Dad too - and my second husband likes to fish, just like Dad. I've never even thought about that before!

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