Bern and I have been married for 48 years and 4 months now. Sometimes people ask me, "how do you stay married that long?"
I'm going to give you two unconventional answers to that question.
1. Marry someone who is very different from you.
Bern is the daughter of an immigrant Italian father and a first generation Hungarian mother. Roman Catholicism runs deep on both sides. I am the only non-Roman Catholic, to my knowledge, to marry into her extended family.
My family, on both sides, came from the British Isles. My great-grandfather Jones came from Ireland and took that Welsh name at Ellis Island because he had gotten into a fight on the boat with his O'Connor brothers and wanted to get lost in this new land. (That's the family tale, at any rate.) The Bradley's have been here for at least 6 or 7 generations--8 or 9 for my grandchildren and I have no idea where they came from, but Bradley ("broad-lee") is certainly a British name. Great--grandfather Jones left his name and Catholicism behind. My mother's family were Nazarene and Pilgrim Holiness. My father's family, if they went to church, which they often didn't, was some ilk of Baptist. I grew up Methodist and found the Episcopal Church in college. I had an older cousin who married a Catholic and the marriage ended on the way to the reception (another family legend). Only I married a Catholic and survived.
The only way we could be more different if we were from different races.
Being different is great. Always something new to learn about each other.
2. Don't do things together.
I know, I know, people say a married couple should 'share' things. Bern and I don't. We don't do much of anything together except watch TV and go to movies (I go alone a lot) and read the same books---but not at the same time.
Because we are so different we have different ways of doing things and doing things together doesn't work. Household tasks are clearly divided. We take turn cooking dinner, but never together. She drives a stick shift truck and I drive an automatic car. We never drive the others' vehicle. I shop for my cooking and she shops for hers. I haven't been to a super market with her since the mid-70's. I'm not sure we've ever been to any other kind of store together.
So, never doing things together keeps us out of each others' way.
Be very different and don't do things together are the two keys to a long and happy marriage.
That's just me talkin'....Or, in this case, typin'.....
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