Perhaps I am impertinent. Because I have never had a problem asking difficult, embarrassing and perhaps completely inappropriate questions—don't mind me, blame the parents—I've taken to asking every woman who will lend me her ear to share her secret to a healthy and happy marriage. I've selected my three favorite below, but I am most curious to hear from you if you have something to offer—maybe a bit of grandmother's advice passed down to you, or something you've recognized in your own relationships or marriages (even failed ones!), or something you wish someone had told you as you prepared to take that step. I'm all ears.
Secret 1—The Best Marriages Are Based on Good Health and Bad Memory.
This perfect kernel came from a great-aunt of mine who lives abroad. Not that it needs much explanation, but I think the concept is worth delving into. So often, people would rather be right than happy. Think about all the petty arguments—the ridiculous ones where you get so angry over nothing and forget what even sparked the fight—that have ruined nights together or sent you to bed angry. How many of them were worth it? How long do you hold the grudge afterwards?
If the fight is only worth a short-lived outburst where you say things you don't mean, it probably doesn't need to happen. If it's the kind that is long, festering and sticks with you days and weeks later, then it probably needs a much more pervasive solution than a fight that simply points out the problems. I am all about airing grievances, but it has to be solution-oriented. Holding grudges, as tempting as it is, hurts you more than anyone else by bottling up the negative energy and embittering you from the inside out.
On the flipside, recalibration and reconnection can happen in an instant. Keeping each other healthy—like taking walks together, hearing each other out, supplying physical and emotional nourishment—brings you together to the exclusion of those things that can so easily drive people apart. Think about how much easier it is to feel less overworked and less stressed when you share a home-cooked meal, or even Chinese takeout, while sitting at a table with someone you love.