Tips for a successful and happy lifelong marriage

Today is my anniversary; my husband and I have been married twenty-one years. I am still dazed with my good fortune over it all. He is still the love of my life, the only person I want to wake up alongside, and it is my greatest wish that we continue to wake up alongside each other for many, many years to come. (Well, continued health and prosperity sort of compete with that “greatest” wish, but you got the idea, right?)

I see young people around me, pondering that decision for themselves, on the cusp of something great, or something disastrous. Falling in love is such a euphoria-hazed condition, all-consuming and wildly unreasonable, rendering its victim immune to logic, common sense, others’ concerns. What can you do but watch, withhold your opinion (they don’t want to hear it anyway) and hope some nugget of wisdom or insight slips in there, amid the hormonal explosion going on? And maybe, if we’re lucky, they’ll Google “tips for a successful and happy lifelong marriage” and voila, advice for them to take, or not.

It’s their ride, in the end. But I wish them, and you, all the best, and hope that you’ve found what I have. Truly, a strong marriage is one of life’s greatest blessings.


Classical Girl’s Tips for a successful and happy lifelong marriage

  • Choose wisely. Choose for life.
  • Don’t rush your decision. Who you are in your early-to-mid twenties, could prove to be quite different from the person you are in your late twenties, early thirties. (I was twenty-nine and he was thirty-four when we got married. Great age. Great timing.)
  • Value yourself. Further, make sure your partner values you as much as you deserve to be valued (hint: you deserve to be valued a LOT. Seriously a lot).
  • Chose someone you’re compatible with. This is HUGE. In the finance department. In the raising-a-family-down-the-road department. In long term goals and dreams. In the sack. (I don’t mean to embarrass anyone here, or anything, but if you’re single and young and reading this and you’re thinking it doesn’t matter if the two of you are incompatible here, oh, dear. And if there is a worried whisper in the back of your mind that you’re trying to avoid listening to, oh dear. Please. Listen. The whispers are there to help us find our way in life.)
  • Communicate. And not just the easy day-to-day stuff. Communicate the tricky stuff. The uncomfortable stuff. The confrontation stuff. If you can communicate it today, it won’t become a skeleton, a dark argument-in-the-making, tomorrow.
  • Love each other. Respect each other. Don’t stop doing these things. Ever. Year ten, year twenty, day 100, day 10,000, they are the same. If those two things die, or have died, I am so sorry. Seriously. Because they are big.
  • I’ve heard it said that the key to a great marriage is when both of you secretly believe that you’re the lucky one in the equation. I don’t know if this is a “key,” but it’s a wonderful thought, and true (because I KNOW I’m the lucky one, even as he tells me he is) and I wish this state on every couple.

Happy Anniversary to my dear Classical Husband, and wishing all of my readers the same happiness in their own relationships. Because I know you deserve it. I may not know everything about you, dear readers. But of this, I’m certain.


7 thoughts on “Tips for a successful and happy lifelong marriage”

    • Rachael, it was so much fun to see your message! I pulled out the champagne, saw the message, and now I feel doubly warm and fuzzy. : ) You’re so great – thank you. And I’m thinking of YOU and your injured back. Hope it’s getting better; will pop by your blog (for my readers: Rachael is the talent behind Back to First Position) tomorrow to check up on you. In the meantime, for me, woo hoo, and yes, I’ll take a refill on that champagne!

  1. Well said. I couldn’t agree more.

    Here are a couple more from my perspective, as Mr. TheClassicalGirl:

    > If you are given the choice, always agree with your partner
    > If you are not given the choice, never disagree
    > A little humor goes a long way (right, dear?)

    And for the record, I’m the lucky one.

    • Oh, I don’t agree, Mr. Classical Girl! Wait… Yes, dear. I agree.

      Wait… Do I have a choice?

      Bingo on the humor. After twenty-one years, you can still make me laugh.

      And, no. I’m the lucky one. Or… wait. Is that disagreeing again? Oops. Okay. Right. You ARE the lucky one. Dang, are you the lucky one. Seriously, dude.

  2. I came to read your Ballerina review and scrolled down to see this… and I absolutely adore this post. I am not one to offer relationship advice being single as single can be at the moment, but my current status has given me time to ponder what it is I want in a relationship and I came to a lot of the conclusions you mentioned in this post. It’s good to read it from the perspective of someone “on the other side” and know that my expectations aren’t unreasonable. Big congratulations to you and the mister and may you have many more years of happiness together!

  3. Rori – I so loved your comment! (In truth, I love all your writing, so no surprise here.) Yes, it’s always great to read lists/conclusions from someone “on the other side” and have them still be accurate. I had a ghastly time with relationships all the way up to meeting my husband-to-be at age 28. I was quite the pro on how to get it wrong. (I’d come to the understanding that not all of us were meant for long-term relationships/marriage – and really, I still do believe that.) That my one successful romantic relationship didn’t come until that relatively late age, and was with the man I married, is one of life’s sweetest quirks.

    I don’t know if this one made the list or not, but I will argue this is the most crucial thing: be happy with who you are, be happy to be alone. Love yourself. From deep within, independent of external variables – or people. I didn’t look for my marriage to “solve” my stuff or complete that place deep within me. I found that, or at least embarked on that nourishing journey, coincidentally (or not), the year I met my husband, when we were just buddies and nothing more. The romance came after that. And it never blanketed that oh-so-important relationship with myself. Whew. Thank goodness. And thank goodness my husband sees, and supports that, too, to this day.

    Yikes. I’m writing another essay. I’m so embarrassed.

    Thank you again for your lovely comment, Rori. As you can see, I found it thought-provoking. And no, your expectations aren’t unreasonable! Hold out for the best there is. It’s there. And I hope anyone else reading this will take this realization to heart too.

  4. Very wise words! It’s especially difficult being in a relationship as a freelance musician; always away, living a very unpredictable life. But if we all take note of your advice, perhaps, just perhaps we may all succeed a little more!

    Keep up the good work!


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