Today is my 17th wedding anniversary. I don’t know how that’s possible since I’m 25 years old, but I never said life makes any sense so there you go.
So what’s the secret to a long and mostly happy marriage? I say “mostly happy” because life is a rollercoaster (and you just gotta ride it…) and ain’t nobody happy a 100% of the time. Well, my favourite woman Caitlin Moran’s shared some tips recently and I largely agree with everything she said so let me share.
Caitlin starts out by saying that “younger women are always asking older women for advice” but she’s actually wrong about this one – young women know best and don’t actually want any advice from older women. That doesn’t mean though that we don’t give it to them.
When I saw comments on this article on FB it seemed that at least 50% of the women were outraged that Caitlin dared to say that
… nine times out of ten, a woman’s life will only be as good as the man she marries.
“Oh how dare you say that. I make my own happiness!”
“What a load of BS, no other person can make you happy, you are responsible for your own happiness!”
That was the gist of the comments from the outraged.
And they are right – no other person CAN make you happy and you ARE responsible for your own happiness, but Caitlin is also right – it helps a HELL OF A LOT to find and keep your own happiness if you have a husband who is kind and responsible and gentle and kind and according to Caitlin – wears a cardigan.
That last one I’m not so sure about, my husband doesn’t wear one but he does tick all the other boxes in Caitlin’s list, including the one about housework.
Furthermore – and again, without exception – the women who have done the best in their careers and are happiest have the partners who do more than 50-50. The more their partners do – the more they engage in childcare and housework – the higher those women fly.
I don’t have a super high flying career but I can truly say that a husband who cooks and cleans and gardens and irons his own shirts and wrestles with the kids and hugs them and doesn’t tell them to ‘man up’ definitely adds to the happiness in my life in a major way.
I don’t know what kind of a woman I would be today if I hadn’t married a man like that 17 years ago. I don’t know what kind of woman I would be if I married one of the others I dated before him. I don’t know and I don’t want to know because I’m glad that at the age of 23 I had already learned my lesson about the ‘bad boys’ who made life look like so much fun but who didn’t get along with their parents and threw tantrums every time they felt their physical and emotional needs were ‘neglected’. Bad boys are man-children. They are cute and exciting but they will drain your energy sooner rather than later. Caitlin totally agrees with me:
This is why, of all the things young women say, “I’m into bad boys” makes older women wince as hard as if they had just said, “I’m into heroin.” No, girls! You do not want a bad boy! If you find yourself saying that, go and get cognitive behavioural therapy right now – or else say out loud, “I formally renounce all my plans for a career, and happiness, in order to marry the wrong man.”
So there you go, here’s some marriage advice you never asked for.
P.S. And remember that just because you get married you don’t have to do everything together ALL THE TIME. Have your own hobbies, have your own friends. It may seem strange at the beginning, but trust me, after 17 years you’ll know that time apart is just as important as time together. No matter how ‘perfect’ you both are ;)
P.P.S. And I KNOW how big the lure of the ‘bad boy’ is. At times I go through a midlife crisis type of moment and miss the excitement of being 20 but then I remember all the bullshit and all the hurt that came/comes with that and I snap out of it.