I was reading a book recently called, Why I'm Still Married - not that I'm thinking about not staying married - it's just a compilation of essays from women writers about why they stay married, probably because the whole world is divorced. In that book, the really long-term marriages are the ones who have been married 16 years. Well, I've been married 16 years too.
Since I have a marriage of such awe-inspiring duration, here's what I believe our secret is. Every night when my husband comes home I ask him how work was, kind of like I'm Donna Reed, except that I never have dinner on the table and the house is a wreck. Then he tells me how business was that day - we own a retail flooring store - and then he ends with his "annoying customer" story. Apparently every single day, a customer comes in the store, looks around, and then says that they can get the same thing cheaper somewhere else. This makes my husband crazy. Why don't they just buy it there then?, he says. He tells me this anecdote every day. Does he wake up with amnesia every day? How can he be both a member of Mensa and not remember that he's told me this, like ten thousand times?
This is marriage in a nutshell: you have to be willing to listen to the anecdote, no matter how much you want to pull your hair out at the thought of it, no matter how much you want to pull his hair out at the thought of it. There just might be something equally as annoying that I do that he puts up with.
For example, even though we've been married 16 years, any time we fight I think we're getting divorced. This is because I was married once before in my twenties and it ruins you a little, or at least your sense of optimism. He's always ready to talk everything out, work out whatever problem we're having, while I'm wondering how we'll handle custody of the kids. Of course, ten minutes later, the problem's resolved.
It's probably hard on him, being married to a nut. But, hey, I have to listen to that anecdote.