It’s hard to imagine that any one of us has never wondered how it’s possible to have a truly happy marriage. I know I’ve heard women talk about it constantly, but when I think about it, I’ve seldom heard men, let alone married men, discuss this particular dilemma of modern love.
Sometimes I find myself looking at couples of a certain age walking down the street, holding hands and and chirping to each other happily, and ask myself “What’s their secret?”
Because let’s be real, it doesn’t take much experience in the world of love and dating to understand just how hard having a successful marriage is for pretty much everyone.
I mean, even as an idea, the whole concept of marriage is kind of insane. You agree that you will be intimate with one person and one person only until one of you dies. I have had boyfriends I’ve wanted to kill when we’ve spent more than an hour together. A lifetime of marriage? Yeah, I don’t think so.
It’s not like I don’t know that good marriages can and do happen all the time!
I come from parents who have been happily and successfully married for well over 30 years, so I’ve seen it with my own eyes. But here’s the thing about relationships like theirs — we don’t hear a lot about them, at least, not from the people inside of them, because people in happy marriage don’t have many issues they feel the need to take to their friends or co-workers for dissection or advice.
And when you do hear people talk about the keys for success to a happy marriage, it’s usually the female half of the couple speaking. After all, our society basically expects it to be every woman’s job to be the one responsible for any and all conversing that has to take place about love, communication and intimacy.
While it’s true that some women do feel more comfortable than men when it comes to talking about what makes their marriage successful, that doesn’t mean that plenty of men out there don’t have their own meaningful take on the subject.
In the past, I’ve considered asking my dad what makes his marriage to my mom successful, but I’m kind of terrified that his answer will be sexual and there’s just no coming back from something like that, so instead I turned to Reddit to see what the guys on the AskMen subreddit have to say on the subject.
“Old men of Reddit: What was the key to your successful marriage?
*Edit: Thanks for the gold kind stranger! And yes, maybe I should have mentioned, I’m getting married in two months. Many wise words here, thanks to all of you who shared!”
You’ll be surprised, entertained, and impressed when you hear what these married revealed as their 21 secrets for how to have a happy, successful marriage.
1. Argue to understand, not to win.
“When arguing with your SO, the goal isn’t to win the argument. The goal is to solve a problem.”
2. Be complete people as individuals.
“The strongest relationships come from two strong, happy individuals coming together, not two broken individuals relying on each other for happiness.”
3. Creativity is key.
“Be creative. Any idiot can throw himself at your wife and worship her. That means nothing. Instead, use your creativity to find new ways to make her life better in ways she could not have thought of. Examples: My wife has trouble falling asleep because her mind races. I’ve got an encyclopedic knowledge of old computer games. So every night when we go to bed, I play old, slightly repetitive video games while she watches. The games I choose are just boring enough that she falls asleep, with her last thoughts usually being about fairies and elves and such. She’s out like a light every night now.”
4. Prioritize each other.
“That’s the one thing that I’ve learned from my parents’ 34 year marriage. They never prioritized their kids over their relationship. The marriage came first. Always.”
5. Let go of selfishness.
“Always remember that what you do should be to enhance the marriage and your partnership, and not necessarily for yourself. That might be not spending money on yourself, or moving across the country for her job, or picking a location so one person has an easier commute.”
6. Respect your wife and your marriage, even if it means passing up a “good” joke.
“Don’t ever, ever take jabs at her/the marriage in public. No ‘ball and chain’ jokes, etc.”
7. Oral sex.
“[Go down on her] and love it. Get good at it. Make that something you actively pursue. Make it a hobby, make it something you’d tell your friends if they wanted a bunch of too much information, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve really been practicing my [cunnilingus] technique lately.’ Oh, and when I say [go down on her], I mean you get your face down there and you help your woman get off, and you stay down there until she does.”
8. Have each other’s backs.
“Her corner is your corner. Period. Even if she’s batsh*t crazy wrong, and she will be. Give her your input, try and give her your advice, but there will come days that no matter what you say, she’s going to put the car towards the edge of the cliff and drive that sumb*tch right off. When those days come, you buckle your seat belt, you reach out to take her hand, and you go for the ride.”
9. Cook for each other.
“Learn to cook. It’s not that hard, you can