Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.

LSMFT: V- Day and Beyond

What gives me the balls to suggest I know the secret to a successful relationship? 24 years of marriage to a man who still tells me he loves me, even after one of our sublime arguments (my favorite is the one we had walking down the aisle at our wedding). Yes, fighting is good for a relationship and is, in fact, one of the rules I suggest be followed by anyone who wants a long, happy one. My rules are easy to remember; as easy as Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco.

Lie, Laugh

I know it sounds counterintuitive, but sometimes the key to happiness and harmony is a lie of omission. I’m not condoning lying per se; I’m just saying that there are certain things men just cannot handle the truth about, among them a) who you feel was your best lover ever, b) your opinion on his family and c) whether or not size matters. There is no doubt there are other things that will only cause pain and heartache and these are not the kind of subjects you should be arguing about.

And, laughing? If you can laugh together, you can get through anything. Best ice breaker after a fight.

Separate

This is separate as in separate bank accounts. Again, you may think that marriage means sharing and, yes, it does, but a line has to be drawn. Gary and I started out living together with separate bank accounts and I think that’s why our arguments are about silly, unimportant things and not money, which we all know is wrapped up with so many emotions that it’s hard to know when you’re arguing about money or about how much someone loves you. Take the love out of the money or, in other words, if you’re going to argue about love, don’t muddy the waters. Contribute the same percentage of your income to a joint bill-paying account, take responsibility for certain bills, discuss big purchases before the fact, whatever, but keep your own money so you can buy those shoes without having to explain why. It also gives him the ability to waste his money on video games and cycling outfits without driving you crazy.

Make sure you have time alone

I think this is key. At first, when Gary was playing the drums every Friday and Saturday night I was really bummed; what kind of social life could we have? Then, after a while, I realized how great it was to have the house all to myself every, single weekend. Did I want to go out with a girlfriend, dancing? Work on my crafts? Veg out in front of the TV? No problem! No husband saying, “Don’t you want to. . . ?”; no guilt on my part. Peace. Tranquility. Hot glue. We all need  time to ourselves in our own homes and there is nothing more conducive to a happy relationship than looking forward to being together vs. wishing for some time alone. Oh, and you get to watch all those TV shows he hates.

Fight

Fight. Get over it. Move on. If you can’t fight, you aren’t communicating. If you aren’t communicating, you’re bound to fail. Don’t be afraid to bring up a subject you know is bothering you (or him), or it will fester. It’s better to duke it out in the open than going the passive-aggressive route. But, pick your battles, ladies. You can’t win them all.

Talk

This should be the most obvious rule, but I am always amazed at how little some couples talk to each other. Is there even a question that this is important? Create opportunities if you must; go along when he’s taking a trip to Home Depot, call him during the day to tell him something you know he’ll find funny.

LSMFT Oh; and have sex. That really helps.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, February 13th, 2010 at 12:13 PM and is filed under Relationships. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Patrice says:

    No wonder I failed at 2 marriages…I forgot to fight…LOL Good ideas Lucille, if you have a mate following the same rules. You are outright BLESSED having Gary as your mate because you are sooooo alike, it’s scary…yet, soooo different.
    Love you both to bits…xoxo Your favorite sistah, thanks to Aruba…LOL

  2. Gary is lucky to have you, Lucille! Great rules, if you can find the right guy :-)

  3. Judy Herring says:

    Sound advice!! One of the things that broke my first marriage apart was the fact that we were both afraid to tell each other things that bothered us. I can still clearly remember what my former husband confessed in marriage counceling…he said he didn’t tell me all the things that came out in therapy because he didn’t want to hurt me, and I was afraid to rock the boat. – Couples need to be able to discuss things, and I truly believe what makes the difference is HOW things are said to one another.

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