I was reading something this morning that asked for advice. The writer wanted to know what the key is to a happy marriage. The first thing that popped into my head was making sure you roll your eyes behind your spouse’s back, not where they can see you.
It is a little thing, but an important one.
I have had people ask me at times about being happily married and how it is done. It is a tough question to answer, since Eric and I have been making it up as we go along. There is no one thing that makes a marriage happy, and sometimes what a couple should be shooting for is “content.” No one can be ecstatically happy all the time – it would be exhausting.
I guess if I had to name something right off the top of my head, I would say the key to a happy marriage is compromise. I learned to be a baseball fan; he learned to sing along with the soundtrack from Mamma Mia. I learned to mix in show tunes with Rush and Pink Floyd, he learned that I don’t care about all baseball, just Twins baseball. Well, unless things are heading into the World Series.
I asked my friend Beth for a quick, fast answer on the same question. Her answer? Communication.
That’s a good one. And you have to learn to speak each other’s language. Because boys communicate different than girls. Luckily boys grow out of that stage where they punch girls on the playground to show their affection. And hopefully, girls grow out of that stage where they think a sign of affection has to include expensive jewelry and grand gestures of undying devotion.
These days, I just cook meals I know he likes and he changes the oil in my vehicle when it needs doing. No words needed on either side. Little things add up to big things.
One of the little things Eric does that is absolutely huge is to remind our children to respect their mother. “Carry that for your mom,” he’ll tell them, or “Make sure your mom doesn’t need help before you head out to” play or band practice or whatever.
In turn, I hope I have taught them to respect their father. And to avoid him when there is a grumpy factor.
Oh, we also take turns taking each other for granted. If you both do it at once, things get difficult. To figure out whose turn it is, apply the communication and compromise things.
I’m not saying life is always a bed of roses at our house. We’re human, and as such can get on each others’ nerves. That’s why ladies night and guys only fishing trips were invented.
It is also why we have both a house and a garage. When he gets weird, I just roll my eyes —behind his back, of course — and encourage him to go to his garage.