The Non-Secret to a Happy Marriage


(Originally written June, 2015)

Me and my other half have a long-standing tension when it comes to my career. It’s complicated. I’ll forego the details. Point is, yet another quick fuse was lit last night. Its years of fuel burned bright and hot in an instant. He took his disdain down the hall and into our room for the rest of the night, grabbing his book on his way out. I proceeded to sooth myself laughing at recordings of The Daily Show and went to bed late.

This morning, we silently got ready for the day until an inopportune moment had us face to face. We half-smiled in paused silence looking each other in the eye. He held out his arms. I rested into them and we hugged for a lingering minute or two. We moved on with the morning, saying nothing more than our usual, “I love you, have a good day,” among the bustle of getting out the door.

When we were younger, these fuses would be lit and appear to both of us to be the end of it all, a sign that it was time to give up, that we are too different, that we can’t see eye to eye. A mountain out of a molehill would be made with great self-protective force and self-righteous fury. We’ve “almost divorced” a good handful of times in the throes of pride, ego, strong opinions and horrid imperfections.

But this is what nearly 12 years of marriage and nearly 17 years of sticking it out looks like. The big stuff becomes less big – even dismissable. The little stuff becomes more like ridiculous talking points when you’re with your friends, “I’m telling you, the man cannot pick up his socks! And now the kid is doing it. Socks everywhere!”

Marriage is hard. It’s not happily ever after. If you go into it thinking that, you’ll be monumentally disappointed. Your significant other will surprise you in the most terrifying ways and will test you beyond your limits. Sometimes you will actually hate that human being you so carelessly wed and had babies with. What were you thinking?!?!

But if you hang on long enough to know the meaning of those outstretched arms without words, you’ll know you’ve beaten the odds – and each time you beat those odds, you know you can do it again the next time you’re faced with shit flying into fans.

There is no secret to being happily married. One of you just has to be vulnerable enough to put your arms out, and the other vulnerable enough to fall into them.

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