How to Stay Married for 20+ Years

December 05, 2015

Last week, Mrs. theskinnyonbenny and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary. I'm not nearly old enough to have been married twenty years, just as I am not nearly old enough to have a younger sister who dotes on grandchildren, yet here we are in a weird parallel universe where both things are ture.

As I realize that it's not exactly commonplace for someone as youthful and handsome as myself to have been married so long, I thought I would post some secrets of marital longevity.

  1. Have opposing chicken wing preferences. Perhaps no single factor leads to more marital harmony than sharing a plate of chicken wings without feeling like your partner keeps snagging the wings that you wanted to eat. If you prefer the drumette, find a partner who prefers the forearm, and vice versa.

    There really should be a word for the forearm part that we universally acknowledge. I just googled parts of a chicken wing, and there are a variety of opinions to what it should be called. Forearm works for me, but I understand the inclination to find a word that sounds more like food.

    Dammit, I'm hungry. I wish I hadn't looked at all of those pictures of chicken wings.

  2. Just drive. If your partner hates to drive, and you would rather sleep or read than drive, just buy an energy drink and take your spot behind the wheel. Odds are that your road-hating partner thinks that four inches is plenty of following distance on the interstate when he or she is driving anyway, and if so, you'll have trouble drifting off to sleep while your pilot stares into the road with the intensity of Mario Andretti making 210 mph ovals in heavy traffic. Easier for everyone if you just take the wheel.

    As an added bonus, most people instinctively give the driver control of the radio. I've personally made my family listen all sorts of sports talk idiots that they must have dreaded with every fiber of their being. Once, I made them listen to a Wimbledon final on the radio while we drove through the back country nothingness between Miami and Orlando. Have you ever listened to tennis on the radio? "Serve is in, and back. Federer hits it back, and back, to the corner, back across, over, back, AND IT CATCHES THE BASELINE FOR A POINT!!!!"

    Who's point? It gets very hard to tell. Just keep driving

  3. Wet your whistle. All of your partner's grating little annoyances turn into charming little quirks when mixed with a warm, sweet, stomach coating of your favorite intoxicant. Not only that, but the kids don't sound as loud, the money shortages don't seem that dire, and after a drinks or two, either of you is perfectly willing to scoop up that wet cat hairball bare-handed.

    You've got to be a little careful here, especially if one of you is a fan of the fightin' liquors (whiskey, tequila). Also, too many evening cocktails before homework time really, really sucks. A week or two ago, I might have signed off on a reading page that didn't really get read, and now I get lobbied for homework cheats every couple of days.

  4. Establish a common rooting interest. You want to have at least one area where you're rooting for the same team. It can be a mutually shared hatred of the Patriots, a common desire to elect the biggest douchebag in the city council as the next mayor, or a fanatic following of the dude your partner dated in high school who is now the 34th ranked professional bowler in the world. That way, when you sense that the conversation is going to take a turn toward, "did you ever change the upstairs light bulbs like you said you would?" you can throw it in a different direction with something like, "Did you see Donald Trump mock that reporter with the googoo face?"

    I don't have anything else to say here, but I have some style issue where my list spacing sucks unless I have more than one paragraph in the list. No time to figure it out, q.e.d., this sentence.

  5. Lots and lots of oral sex. This might not really be applicable to my own life, but I can't imagine that anyone in a relationship is too very unhappy when oral sex is part of the daily routine. If you are unhappily married despite lots of trips where the trolley rolls downtown, please let me know in the comments. You, my friend, are one of the most fascinating people we've encountered.