June 26, 1998
It's my eighth wedding anniversary next week,
and I'm feeling quite proud of myself.
In fact, I'm feeling so proud of myself I feel
compelled to give advice - something a columnist
does at his peril.
You see, I have a very happy marriage. I made
an exceptionally good choice in picking my mate
You'll have to ask her if she thinks she made a
good choice. Fortunately for me, I'm the one with
And with eight years under my belt, I've been
thinking about what makes my marriage work so well.
First of all, we're good to each other. It's
amazing how many couples can't figure this one out.
We have married friends who constantly snipe at
each other. Or tell stories about how stupid the
other one is.
That's in front of company. Imagine what life
is like in private.
Remember nothing is as important as each other.
My cousin Diana, who gives advice to anyone she
can hold down, told me something last time I
She said: "Make sure your children know that
your spouse is number one in your life, and not
them. The children are number two. That way when
they grow up and leave home, you're still with
Diana's pretty smart, and her kids now treat
their spouses as number one in their lives too.
Be honest. Don't let things fester. Get the
little bothers out in the open early before they
turn into flying dishes.
Also, be able to figure out what is a big deal
and what isn't.
If you ran into an old girlfriend on the street,
say so. The world is a small place and you can bet
someone saw you. But don't mention it for that
reason. Mention it because it shows respect for
your mate, and trust them to respect your honesty.
Remember, jealousy is not as attractive as some
people think. Neither are public fits or tantrums.
Have some dignity, and leave some for your spouse.
If you're doing something you hate but the other
person loves, don't do it grudgingly. There's
nothing worse than dragging someone along who's
determined to let you know just how a bad time
Do it with a smile, or don't do it at all. If
it's important to the other person, do it with a
If she wants to rent the latest Jane Austen
movie and you want Alien Facesuckers IV, figure out
who picked last time. In a perfect world Jane Austin would have
written about mutant killer robots. But she
didn't, so take turns.
We celebrate each others' triumphs and
sympathize with the disappointments.
We keep a bottle of cheap champagne ($6) in the
fridge for no special occasion in particular.
We're very supportive of each other in whatever
we do. You both win when you put the other person
I like that we're able to spend time alone, but
would rather be together.
And let your spouse win the occasional argument,
especially when they're right.
Finally, pick someone you love and who loves
you. If you get married for any other reason,
you're a fool.
Is it good advice? I don't know. All I know is
that it's worked for me for the last eight years.