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Stefanie Wilder-Taylor’s Tips For a Happy Marriage

Posted Nov 15 2010 4:28pm

So I was at Trader Joe’s yesterday, chatting up the Sample Girl when I heard a very disturbing story. It seems she was helping out a family friend with toddler twin boys for a few weeks and on the last day things got very weird when the dad tried to hit on her. Apparently, he decided to tell her about his imploding marriage and how unhappy he is and how his wife doesn’t understand him and how they’ve cheated on each other and how difficult having twins has been on their marriage. Sample Girl told the guy he was being way out of line and then it got all uncomfortable and weird.

While we’re standing there talking, Sample Girl suddenly says, “Oh no. He’s walking this way.” And sure enough, a kind of creepy looking dude sidles over pretending to be interested in the pumpkin cheesecake Sample Girl was dividing into little cups, and attempts to engage her in conversation. I was disturbed on about fourteen different levels. First off, really? This truly goes on? I watch Lifetime Movie Network for escape, not for a reality check. Secondly, do men have to be this typical? The girl was barely out of high school and this guy was at least forty and had a beard. Beards are never going to be attractive to twenty-year-olds (except maybe Kate Hudson but that’s a whole other ball of crazy).

I also started wondering if it’s true that kids are a marriage killer. And if kids are hard on a marriage, are twins exponentially tougher? And are kids only tough on marriages that weren’t strong to begin with or can they screw up even a happy couple? It’s probably a lot more complicated and probably depends a lot on the people involved.

As disturbed as I was by this story, I couldn’t help but think that I have a pretty good marriage despite my nineteen children. And that just maybe, people were wondering what my secret is. So I’ll give you a few of mine and feel free to leave a few of yours and then maybe, just maybe, we can save someone else from finding out their husband is trying to bang the sample girl.

1. Jon and I still have sweet pet names for each other. Jon calls me Dumb Ass and I call him, Asshole or whatever swear word I’m overusing the most that day.

2. We keep a coffee cup on my desk for spare change and when it’s completely full, I bring it to the Coinstar at our local CVS, and get cash so that Jon and I can have a real live date night. Sure, it may take six months to save up forty dollars but it’s always worth it to spend some time together without having to actually spend real money on each other.

3. Once in awhile my husband surprises me with a gift. One month he might just unload the dishwasher on a whim or another month he will throw a load of laundry in the dryer that’s been sitting in the washer for a few days. Obviously when I get one of these surprises it will be expected that I reward him with sex but, really, I WANT TO.

4. If we’re going to fight, we try to do it in public. That way, we can show others that even seemingly perfect couples do argue once in awhile.

5. We try not to let our annoyances build up which only leads to an explosion somewhere down the line. What we do to prevent this is point out the things about the other person that bother us all day long, making sure to accompany the complaint with disgusted faces and grumbling.

6. When complaining about something the other person does, we make sure to give credit for all the times the person disappointed us and not just that particular one. The trick is to say, “You never help me with the kids” or “You always forget to bring the garbage bins in from the curb.”

7. When my husband tells a story around a group of people I try to roll my eyes sarcastically at the other people as if to say, “Yeah, I’ve heard this a million times already” or “God, I can’t believe he thinks this is funny.” Because undermining is sexy.

8. Lots of exasperated sighing for no reason.

9. If we’ve had an especially great day together, I will try to pick a fight just before bed to really keep him on his toes.

10. Passive Aggressive behavior is the key to any long lasting happiness. We try to compliment each other by saying things like, “I said you need to go to the gym because I’m worried about your health not because I think your ass is getting fat. Stop being so paranoid!”

11. Oftentimes I will stomp around the house and when my husband asks me what’s wrong I will say “Nothing.” If he says, “It seems like something’s wrong,” I’ll say, “Well, should something be wrong?” Guessing games are like catnip to the fellas.

I hope some of these tips helped and be sure to leave your own!

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