My 30-Second Secret to a Happy Marriage

Image Source: Heather Neal

After eight years of marriage I’ve finally figured out the secret to magically wedded bliss. Are you ready for it?

It’s to suck it up.

You’re disappointed, I know. You were expecting something awesome and amazing — something so good that you would never, ever think of it on your own.

But let me tell you, the foundation to a good marriage and partnership is found in the tiniest of places, even if that tiny place is putting the toilet paper back on the roll every. single. day. of said blissful marriage.

I may sound like I’m being facetious or flippant and I almost hate to admit that I’m being entirely truthful, but it really is quite that simple. No, it won’t solve all your problems or guarantee you’ll never fight a day in your life, but you might be surprised at just how far it goes.

After years (seriously) of being annoyed, aggravated, and irritated by tiny little habits of my husband’s that simply drove me nuts, I finally discovered the solution.

Take care of those things myself.

That may sound like I’m being weak or walked over or resorting to a housewife-like role, but the way I see it, there are two options. Option one is the one I went with for so long, (because I married a grown-up, I told myself) where I sit and fume and let the irritation build up until I explode over the most ridiculous of things. The dishes are sitting in the sink un-rinsed, the clothes are in the middle of the floor, the cereal box is in the pantry wide open. I’d yell and berate and sometimes cry, I was so frustrated. I couldn’t understand why a fully capable adult couldn’t handle these minuscule responsibilities.

Then one day, I was in an exceptionally charitable mood and instead of making a mental tally of all the things my husband had done wrong (read: not my way) that day, I simply took care of them myself. I put the toilet paper on all the holders, tucked the dishes out of sight in the dishwasher, and tossed the forgotten trail of dirty clothes into the hamper.

And then I simply forgot about it.

It’d taken 30 seconds of my time and energy and it was done with. No getting mad or begrudging yet another thing I had to do. It just was, and then it was over. Then even more pleasant, I found that my husband annoyed me less. That sounds terrible, I know, but unless you’re one of the few exceptions who has a husband who picks up after himself, you know what I mean.

Suddenly I was able to see all the things he does do again. The way he stops to wrestle with our son even though he’s late on his way out the door or how the lawn is always mowed and the doors are always locked before bed.

When the underlying resentment and annoyance was eliminated and alleviated, it allowed all the good to shine through. And to me, that’s worth rewashing yet another load of forgotten wet laundry.

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