Ed and I have been together just over seven years now, married for five and a half of those. I KNOW. We are surrounded by young colleagues who are getting engaged left and right and it’s really lovely to see how excited they are and sit back and know I will never, ever have to plan another wedding again. Amen.
Anyway, these bright-eyed youngsters sort of look up to us as a couple who is Doing It Right. (High-five, Ed!) And while this is really sweet and flattering I don’t really know what to say when they ask me for my tips and advice for a happy marriage. I mean, first of all, five years isn’t that long and I know we haven’t faced a lot of the rough stuff life is going to throw our way. Although a friend did point out to me we have dealt with a fair amount of bullshit and upheaval in a relatively short time and we haven’t let that kick our asses too hard so maybe we’re on to something? But I still feel weird speaking with any sort of certainty or authority when asked for advice. Do these people not understand what an incurable dork I am? And that I think it’s hilarious to yell “scrotum” when my niece is on the phone with her boyfriend? Pretty sure literally anybody else on the planet is more qualified to give advice on such a major life decision.
The first thing people usually ask is if I like being married, which I do, and they’re always shocked to learn that before meeting Ed I had very little interest in it. Like organized religion or neck tattoos, it seemed to suit other people fine but it wasn’t my jam. My usual answer is, “I like being married to Ed” because for me it’s more about the other person and the quality of our relationship than the institution as a goal in itself. So yeah, I’m a fan, but only under very specific circumstances.
One of Ed’c coworkers asked me during a happy hour outing, quite sincerely and practically ready to take notes, for my advice my advice on a successful marriage. I made some joke about keeping the wine cabinet stocked but then I thought about it for a minute and realized that all my knowledge was based on how Ed and I operate, our values, our personalities. So I told him to ignore advice from other people because if I followed someone else’s plan for a happy relationship my head would spin from all the conflicting bits of wisdom thrown my way over time. He seemed relieved by that, and I hope it gave him some comfort to know you don’t have to have some sort of perfect plan in order to be OK, and it’s probably not super healthy to try to model your relationship after anyone else. There are lots of happily married people out there, but I wouldn’t necessarily be happy with any of them.
So my genius advice was “don’t listen to other people” and now I’m basically relationship Oprah. Where’s my money?