Thursday, July 01, 2010

Heidi's advice on Staying Married for 19 Years

Yep.  Nineteen years of wedded bliss!  "Bliss" here includes a heated argument here and there (we really don't argue much), tons of laughing and a whole lot of leaning on each other when necessary.  I can honestly say it's all been worth it.  Feels good to be able to say that I made the best decision of my life when I was nineteen years old.  (A year later, at 20 & 22, we were married in the park.)

Of course it ain't easy though.

And, of course, I'm going to share my expertise.

1) Ladies.  Listen to me.  And remember this, because it is the most important thing to know.  Ready?

 He can't read your mind.

Do not expect him to "just know" what you're thinking, or what your problem is.  He can't even begin to guess.  Don't make him guess.  No, he should not be able to figure it out.  Not only is it unfair to him, it's unfair to yourself.  

2) Be honest.  Tell him the truth!  He's a man; he can take it.  I mean, you can soften it a little but no guessing games (see #1) and have the guts to tell the truth!

Example: the most evil lie women tell.  It is the most heinous lie because it comes off so innocent, so insignificant, but years of telling this lie can do so much damage.  Here is the horrible lie...

It's fine. 

Fine, my ass, it's not fine and you know it's not!  You say it's fine, and the male mind goes, "Oh, she says it's fine and that means it's fine" and he goes on with his day.  What else did you expect?  (See #1)

Other vicious lies include, "Oh nothing," as well as "Never mind."  It takes time to be honest but it's worth it.  

3) Don't tear him down.  Build him up.  Sure it's easy to tell him about all his flaws and all the stuff you want him to improve.  Keep in mind he'll get sick of that pretty quick.  We all know most of us women end up seeing marriage as an ongoing Husband Improvement Project but you married a man, not a project.  There has to be a focus on all the good stuff he's got going on too.  

4)  Get your reward system the right way around.  Let's have none of this crap where you make promises for jobs done.  Just dish out the rewards as much as possible - hey, it's your reward, too! - and then say things like, "Hey honey, you know what I think is really hot?  I loooove it when a man vacuums the living room rug.  Oooh that is sexy."

This approach works pretty good with power tools too.

5)  Remember: you like this guy.  

I think that's really the bottom line.  

I really, seriously, very much, like this guy. 


Biddie said...

Happy anniversary! I keep forgetting that you were only 19. You were so young...we all were, but we thought that we were soo grown up then :)
I never doubted for one moment that you would be together forever.
I do like your advice. I am always saying 'it's fine' and then getting angry, cuz, HEY, it really isn't!

Paul Tee said...

Let's see if my math is right.

If you were 19 when you got married and you have been married for 19 years, then ... then from now on you have been married longer than not married!

Congratulations to you both.

pseudosu said...

Great post! Congrats!
I'd add "stay playful". My hubs pantsed me last week and made me laugh my butt off. TOTALLY agree on the they are not mind readers stuff. Not as intuitive as women either. You didn't marry a chick!

jules said...

Great advice, and Happy Anniversary!

When I asked my SIL how she and my brother stayed married happily for so long, she basically gave me the same #1 advice. She said that in the first year, she almost divorced him, but he finally told her 'honey, I CAN NOT read your mind! If you want something, or want me to do something, SPEAK UP! otherwise, I'll just go about my business and you'll be mad." Best advice I've ever gotten.

Yours is pretty good too. Men LIKE being built up, not torn down. If all you do is find the faults, you'll be unhappy. Look for the good and comment on that. Nobody likes a nag.

I LUV my DH!

CindyDianne said...

Happy Anniversary Heidi and Jethro! I hope that in 16 years we still like each other as much as the two of you do! ;-)

A Paperback Writer said...

Congratulations on making it work for so long. Of course, the wise old woman here notes that you are still cute and skinny, which helps a heck of a lot. An attractive woman has a LOT better chance of keeping a man than an unattractive woman does.
But I like your mind-reading advice. It's true, but you made me laugh.
Here's to another 19 -- or 49 -- years!!!
You rock, woman!

Lynn Sinclair said...

All great advice, Heidi, and congratulations on a successful 19 years!

Heidi Willis said...

I'm finally back and just seeing the new blog look and I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! Yay for the gorgeous pink!!

And I LOVE this post!! Congrats on the longevity and the love that grows over time instead of diminishes. You two are an inspiration!

The advice is great. I just had my "It isn't fine" moment this week. So funny to say what was wrong out loud and have him look at me like I was an alien and say, "Really? That's what you thought??" And I said, "Really?? You didn't know that's what I thought??"

So yeah... great advice.

And I like my man pretty much too. It's a good life, even when it's not.

Kimber said...

That's the most sensible post about marriage I've seen yet. Congrats Heidi - it's an achievement in this day and age to make it 10 years, let alone 19! I am in awe. And very happy for you both. (0: