Jeff Bogle gives a layout for a strong, lasting marriage.
The 2nd decade is the hardest. That’s the saying, right? Or is it the 2nd year? Whatever. Math wasn’t a part of my vows.
Being married for any length of time is no walk in the park, unless that park is overrun with thorny bushes, mosquitos, and sinkholes to go along with the stunning wildflowers, expansive vistas, and baby bunnies frolicking in the meadow.
Like anything worth doing right in this world, a good marriage takes work. A lot of work in some cases. My wife and I are into our 2nd decade now and we’re still pretty happy…right sweetie? But we’ve got issues too, like anyone else. Below are some things we have done/are still doing to make sure the brush is cleared along our path. Also, bug spray.
Here’s a 5-point plan to stay married, happily, till the end of days.
Lovers, whether young or old or in-between, need quiet time alone for a meal, a movie, a concert, or all three. It’s here where we understand how important grandparents are for keeping marriages together: free babysitting — sometimes overnight. And if your date night does end up in a hotel room, with the two of you covered in sweat and a bed desperately in need of a late night housekeeping refresh (stupid fitted sheet!), you are absolutely doing it right.
Whether you’re staring into each other’s eyes over plates of Spanish tapas or making eyes at each other while people watching and performing a Mystery Science Theater 3000-style running commentary at the expense of oblivious strangers, having occasional date nights to be funny, tender, and/or horny together is essential to staying happily married.
Be Sexually Adventurous
You don’t necessarily need to introduce anal beads into the bedroom, but maybe you should get the fuck out of the bedroom, literally — ya know? A lifetime of monogamy can be a tedious exercise if you rock the same position, finish each other off the same exact way, and fall asleep facing opposite walls every single time you and your lover get busy. That’s a union doomed to fail.
Think of your marital sex life as a road trip. Sure, you can stay on the highway the entire time; it’ll work, but it might get pretty damn boring around mile marker 450. Instead, pop off into strange towns with names like Intercourse and Blue Ball (they are real – no kidding), taste the local cuisine, and maybe find out that you really do like oysters even though you’ve never ordered them before.
That’s a pretty ridiculous metaphor for this: get crazy! If you’ve had trouble being creative, watch a bit of porn together to get ideas for new positions and more, um, unique foreplay. For example, when we were first married, I never knew my wife liked…okay, I’m going to stop right there, to ensure that I stay married.
Find Something New To Do Together
There’s a scene in Four Wedding and a Funeral where a theory is espoused as to why two people in love decide to become husband and wife: because they’ve run out of things to talk about. It’s said, “marriage is just a way of getting out of an embarrassing pause in the conversation…the definitive icebreaker,” giving couples “something to talk about for the rest of their lives.” Well, we already did that. And we’ve got all the kids we’re ever going to make. We didn’t realize it at first, but we needed something else to talk about for the rest of our lives, and found exactly that on the hot ass blacktops of southeast Pennsylvania.
I began to exercise regularly for the first time in my life in early 2010. Three years later, I now run and train for 5K races. My quest for physical fitness, the endorphin rush that comes from running, has been a mostly solitary one, carried out in pre-dawn trips to the gym and in sweat-drenched runs around the neighborhood. But this summer, my wife joined in a similar chase, and just ran her first 3.1 miles in mid-July. Now we run together, compare splits and elevation analysis on our Runkeeper apps, own colorful and very expensive sneakers, and have found something new to discuss anytime of day, without having to renew our vows or, worse, have a third kid!
Never Stop Pondering The Future
When we’re young, the future is full of promise: jobs with distinction, lavish vacations, and carefree casual sex — anything was possible. In the blink of an eye, our youthful hopes are dashed with the harsh reality of student loan payments, mortgage payments that won’t ever quit, and college savings deposits for the kids. Despite that mountain of financial bullshit responsibility, you and your spouse should never stop pondering the future.
The next ten years are as full of potential as any decade of your life to date, even though that thought may seem as antithetical as the lie that is Greenland. Shared dreams of grand European family vacations (not to Greenland), having the kitchen remodel you always wanted, and life as empty nesters (featuring the glorious return of carefree sex!) will go a long way to keeping you outfitted in Kool-Aid smiles.
Get Out Of Character
Don’t be the “That’s Not My Thing” guy. That guy is a total dick and a shitty husband to boot. And please feel free to flip genders here, ’cause the same hostile adjectives apply to the wife who thinks dressing up like fucking Chewbacca at Comic Con is stupid, every bit as much as it does for the dude who refuses to ever sit down in front of a scrapbook. Don’t be a macho dick. Don’t be a mean bitch. It’s all the same in the end. And it’ll ruin a relationship.
If you don’t typically do the theater thing, but your spouse loves it, take her to see the touring production of Wicked and enjoy the fucking shit out of those witches, man. And you there, wifey-pants, do you fancy the Josh Groban types over, say, a Frank Turner, but your man loves the brit-punk-folkster? Go see Turner live and bounce along with your fist in the air alongside the man you married.
In short, give in to the diverse passions of your better half, experience the world as they see/hear/live it and, occasionally, whilst in the midst of it, take a step back and watch the joy in their eyes and remember all over again who it is that you first fell in love with however many years ago. And then make out with slobbery reckless abandon like a pair of 15-year-olds kids.
Image Credit: gareth1953 Got My Bus Pass Now/Flickr