Reply To: Ken – how did you manage such a successful marriage?

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(re: Ken – When you have more than a few minutes…) You are asking how Roberta and I have stayed married so long? Couldn’t you ask something easier — like how to achieve world peace? I still wouldn’t have known the answer, but at least could have made something up that sounded relatively intelligent… I ignored your question at first, because I didn’t have the vaguest idea how to answer it.

As I write this Roberta and I have been married since 1971. That makes us 33 years married. I tease Roberta sometimes that the average sentence for murder is only 7 years, and I seem to be serving a life sentence!

On the serious side…

I’m not a psychologist, and honestly have no idea what makes some marriages work and others not work. Ours is amazing for several reasons, most of which are supposed to mean bad things for a marriage:
We were married as teens (I was 18 by only four days) Both her and I had busy careers. I traveled virtually non-stop for the first 25 years of our marriage. I’m a workaholic .. even in retirement I work most of the time Roberta works as hard as me, but on different things We’re very different people. She loves real-life adventuring, working out, anything to do with history or politics, etc. She’s really not a computer-geek at all. Whereas I am your average computer-geek, who can usually be found sitting at his computer writing code. I only know the little I do know about geography because Roberta forces me to go places non-stop. Even when we do travel, our tastes are different. I like beach resorts in warm places. She likes places with historical significance, be it Luxor (at 110 degrees) or Macchu Pichu.
Here’s my honest attempt at a guess: we’re both fairly mellow people. Roberta has much more of a temper than me, but neither of us is what I would call “hot tempered”. We never fight. We hardly ever argue. At best if I’m really angry, I’ll get silent for a bit — but, even that doesn’t happen very often. In my french lesson last week, there was an exercise where I was supposed to describe the attributes of people I dislike. I didn’t know how to respond. Generally I like everyone! I feel that almost everyone has something to say, and that most people are good people. I do know that there are bad people out there, but I’ve been fortunate not to have met many.

I think both Roberta and I have a healthy set of priorities. We understand what is important and what isn’t, and tend not to get bogged down in things that aren’t important. I think we get along so well, because we both understand that we’re on the same team. Most of our discussions center around the goals we have in common. Our children, our friends, our vacations, what she’s working on, what I’m working on, our house, our boat, etc.

I suppose I could cop out, and just say “we’re madly in love” — which would certainly be true .. although, that’s a tough thing to define, and not a sure-fire guarantee of long-term happiness. For us, what has worked (I guess) is that we genuinely like being with each other, and doing things together. We’ve been together for 30+ years, and enjoy going out to dinner together today as much as 30 years ago.

-Ken W