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What I’ve Learned On Making A Marriage Work for 51 Years

What I’ve Learned On Making A Marriage Work for 51 Years

What I’ve Learned On Making A Marriage Work for 51 Years

  • When she says, “Remember what’s his name, he used to live up there, somewhere, and he worked for a company that went bankrupt, quite a few years ago—he drove an old car?” I just say, “Sure, what about him?”
  • The yellow line on the TV screen showing the first down yardage needed, of all things, made my wife an ardent football fan. This was not supposed to be one of the activities that we would share. Since she loathes the Patriots and I love them, we place the 82-pound German Shepherd between us on the coach to prevent physical brawls. (He doesn’t enjoy being jostled.)
  • I have made sure she has her own spaces (her “closet” is a complete bedroom) which I never try to organize and, in fact, don’t enter unless invited. The last time I was invited was three years ago when she couldn’t move a bureau to get a few things that had fallen irretrievably behind it.
  • She infallibly points out hot women who enter a restaurant or party for me. When I first thanked her she told me it was because she wanted me to take a look from afar and not embarrass myself as the woman moved closer.
  • When asked about my exotic cars by her friends with dumb questions such as, “Why do you let him spend all that money on cars?” she replies, “Because at his age they’re better than a bimbo.”
  • She will wake me from a sound sleep on a great bed in first class flying over the Pacific when there’s turbulence because she “sees no reason to suffer alone.”
  • I will distract her from watching the speedometer by pointing out things in the countryside or pretending I’ve seen an eagle, or Rodan, and when she wonders how we arrived somewhere 30 minutes or more earlier than usual I point out that there was no traffic, or I took a different route, or both.
  • We finish each other’s sentences with The Great Kreskin-like accuracy:

° Do you want to….

° Sure, I’m hungry, what about…

° No, we had sushi two days ago…

° Then….

° Yeah, we haven’t been there in ages…

° Good, let’s….

° Six is fine.

  • She’ll leave a note such as, “Pick up detergent” as if it’s a simple task, but I don’t know what detergent is for and then I find there are 24 brands in 16 sizes. I will inevitably buy the wrong one. I have a better chance with the lottery. She will say when I get home with the wrong stuff, “I told you, detergent!”
  • I never realized she was a medical doctor and I simply follow her advice without challenging it about the distinctions of Ibuprofen, or Tylenol, or Advil, or heat vs. cold, and so on. She once watched a soap opera and during a scene in the hospital she diagnosed myasthenia gravis before the doctor/actor did, and he had a script.
  • She cannot figure out the most basic aspects of technology, though she can take single pieces of thread and create sweaters and jackets. I have learned to direct her to both my son and son-in-law for these questions. Neither provides me with the kind of Christmas presents I believe I deserve, and I doubt that’s a coincidence.
  • Once, during a fire alarm at 2 in the morning at the Four Seasons in Georgetown, she jumped up, dressed the kids, filled the bathtub with water, and began rolling towels to place under the door. She directed me to go down the hall and find out what was happening. But as I started to go she stopped me and said, “Wait, is that what you’re going to wear?!”
  • We argue about stupid things (where the remote control was left and who left it there) but not major things (politics, the arts, travel). Our arguments seldom if ever last for more than 10 minutes
  • She has great clothes sense for me but cannot easily figure out what to wear herself.
  • She has a great sense of humor and loves to laugh, but she only really knows two jokes, both of which are ribald, and neither of which she ever tells correctly.
  • A question such as, “Do I look heavy in this outfit?” must be answered obliquely: “Honey, you are just killing that outfit.”
  • She is always finding things I left behind in the hotel room as we’re leaving. I believe she hides them earlier to be able to so consistently do this.
  • She is constantly stunned and upset by what I spend on our travel and life, but she seems to then get accustomed to it rather quickly.
  • She swipes every single amenity in a hotel suite as if we’re homeless people. She later does give them to a group aiding the homeless, who have the luxury of Bulgari, YSL, Gucci, and other designer shampoos and mouthwash in the shelters.
  • No matter what directions she leaves me, I am incapable of cooking anything and can barely make a sandwich. She (a former home economics teacher) is incensed by this and it will generally lead to one of those ten-minute arguments.
  • She remarked once that I have “blondes hanging all over me” after I make a speech and on one occasion, when my wife was on my right arm and a woman took my left arm (making moves even I understood) my wife looked over and said, “Honey, he prefers women with less facial hair than he has.”
  • She raised two great kids, is a fabulous grandmother, raises millions for philanthropies and the arts, cooks really great when she chooses to, will pack her bags and travel the world with me on a minute’s notice, and has put up with me for 56 years (since our first date). I love her.
  • Inexplicably, she loves me, too.
Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 4

  • Jenifer Franklin

    August 4, 2019

    I absolutely love this. My ex-husband and I divorced with deep sadness, over something that would have been soul-killing for either of us to concede on to try to stay married. Since we loved each other, neither of us were willing to ask this of the other. I do not think it it was a mistake, or have any regret. However, when we see each other every other year or so, we still find ourselves practically the most fabulous and funny people we know. I do regret that, even if I got married tomorrow, I will not have the opportunity in this lifetime to build the kind of relationship Alan describes, simply because there aren’t enough years left to do it. Congratulations, Alan, on doing your part of the work to achieve this lovely sounding relationship.

  • Jeffrey Summers

    August 5, 2019

    I feel a book on “Million Dollar Relationships” coming out soon!!

    These posts are my favorite of yours.

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