The Secret To My Marriage

by Sharon Greenthal
Originally Published: 

This month, my husband and I will celebrate the 27th anniversary of the day we met. By celebrate I mean we’ll completely forget about it.

Since we’ve known each other for 27 years, I’ve known him for more of my life than I haven’t.

It didn’t take long after we met for us to decide that our relationship was going to go beyond the first few dates.

Partly it had to do with him needing me to feed his dog when he was going to business school at night, but that’s another story.

There were a few bumps in the road to happily ever after, but after 27 years I’m confident that we’ve got something solid. At this point, we’re pretty happy together…even when we’re not.

There are, however, reasons why this marriage shouldn’t work – and yet it does…

1. We don’t have a lot in common. Shared values and goals, yes. Shared interests and passions, not so much. I’m impressed by couples that together tend a garden, or refinish furniture, cook gourmet meals or go geocaching. We’re not hobbyists. Mostly what we do in our free time when we’re at home is hang out. What I mean is, we nap and watch TV.

2. He’s not my type. I know what you’re thinking – how can he not be my type if we’ve been together for 27 years? Well, he just isn’t. My hot list includes men like Antonio Banderas, George Clooney, Idris Elba, and Taye Diggs. My (very handsome) husband is fair skinned and freckled. He was once fair-haired, though now he’s more of a distinguished grey, which I kind of like a lot. But just because he’s not my type doesn’t mean I don’t find him attractive. I do. Besides, after 27 years, attraction is about way more than just good looks.

3. He wears his shoes in the house. This is not about germs or some cultural thing. I don’t care if people wear shoes in my house. I would never ask anyone to take off their shoes, unless they were really muddy. It just took me a long time to understand this: when my husband gets dressed in the morning, he always puts on his shoes, even if he’s not going anywhere. I take off my shoes as soon as I walk in the door, because I’m more comfortable that way. And even after all these years, when he walks out of the bedroom on a weekend morning with his shoes on, I ask him, “Where are you going?”

4. He’s a football fanatic. I grew up with a father who not only watched football every possible moment, but also bet on the games and reacted not so well when his team lost (what is a point spread, anyway?), I never thought I’d marry a man who, like my father, can become a little, um, excited about the games when his teams are playing. Especially if they’re not playing well. At least he doesn’t bet on the games, though.

5. I read a lot of books. My husband reads, but not like I do. And the great thing is, I can read while he’s watching all those football games. But it still surprises me that I married someone who doesn’t love to read.

6. He adores war and prison movies. My husband could watch The Shawshank Redemption (which is always on television, no matter what time of day) or Saving Private Ryan every night before we go to sleep. I don’t like war movies very much, prison movies even less. Luckily, he’s far less discriminating about what he’ll watch, and usually lets me choose when we go out to the movies. He buys me popcorn too.

7. He’s a saver. I’m a spender. If it were up to him we’d still have the ugly blue sofa and orange naugahyde easy chair and footrest that he had when I met him. I’ve raised the bar a little. Or a lot. It’s a good balance – though I think he still misses that chair.

8. I’m not the least bit athletic or outdoorsy. I know my husband wishes I was more active, that I’d hike and paddleboard and swim with him. It’s not going to happen.

9. He was raised in Wisconsin, where bratwurst is considered a basic food group. I had never had a bratwurst until I met him – I was raised in New York, the land of frankfurters.

So what’s the reason our marriage has lasted?

We stay together because we decide, every day, to love each other.

Even on those days when we truly can’t stand to be in the same room. Even on those days when the Green Bay Packers or the USC Trojans are playing badly and my husband morphs into Loud Screaming Fan Man, eating his cherished bratwurst while I hide in my bedroom with a book. Even when I come to bed and he’s watching Tom Hanks lead a band of misfit soldiers in search of a last surviving son. Even when the UPS man delivers me packages containing shoes I certainly don’t need.

Even then.

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