95: Secret to a Long Marriage

95: Secret to a Long Marriage

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

Secret to a
Long Marriage

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.

~Simone Signoret

I woke up this morning and realized that I have been married for twenty-three years to the same man. I KNOW. Who would have thought? I mean, first of all, I got married when I was… um… ten or so. Yes, I believe I was ten. And no, I don’t care if you believe me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it, no matter what my mother or the DMV has to say about it. As long as I have that wedding picture in the attic, I will never age. And yes, I do live in a lovely place called denial.

Anyway, that aside, I realized that twenty-three years of marriage is a total anomaly. Actually, I didn’t realize it was an anomaly; I just always wanted to use that word in a story. What I really realized is that I am one heck of a patient person. Or maybe Harry is. Or maybe we both are so stubborn neither of us will admit that one of us has been more patient through the years, I don’t know.

What I do know is that through all the years it never once occurred to me that my marriage wouldn’t last forever. Oh yes, there have been days — and I’m sure there will be more — when I searched the back yard for a place to hide Harry’s body.

The thing about marriage is that it changes frequently. Just when you think you’ve got this whole relationship thing down, something shifts. Take the last few weeks for example. For reasons unknown to me, Harry’s cell has been calling me without Harry’s knowledge. That means that I have spent the last month answering the phone only to get to hear the lovely sound of his radio blasting as he drives to work, his voice in a meeting, or my personal favorite — the toilet flushing.

While that’s annoying, I will admit that Harry’s had to put up with a lot for the past twenty-three years. Unless he’s cooked or gone out, the man has spent far too long eating my food. I don’t know what his stomach is lined with, but they should use it on the space shuttle. The shuttle would be safe from the heat of the atmosphere on re-entry or even an attack by alien boogers — which is exactly what some of my creations resemble, by the way.

And I know he deals with a lot more than just burnt dinners or recipes that sounded good when I was making them up in my head — although I do maintain that brown rice with raisins and melted cheese would taste really good if I’d just tweaked the recipe a bit. But I’ve been known to cause kitchen fires — sometimes even when I’m not cooking (a long story that is frankly too humiliating to share). I’ve been known to keep writing checks when the account is empty on the theory that if the bank gives me lots of checks, they must want me to use them.

I’ve been known to purchase way too many shoes. I’ve been known to have several sizes of jeans in my closet so that no matter what weight I am, my jeans fit. I’ve been known to become obsessed with strange things like belly dancing. Poor Harry’s had to watch me practice. I’ve been known to eat dessert first because the main course is often burnt or tastes yucky and my fat jeans are fitting just fine. I’ve been known to yell really loud and ask for explanations later.

But after twenty-three years, I think we both may be doing something right. I just wish I could figure out what it was, because if I bottled it, I could make a fortune.


~Laurie Sontag

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