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Chiang Mai Citylife > Articles > 2010 > 2010 Issue 02 > Keys to Marital Blies

Keys to Marital Blies

Love, sex and marriage; individually, each word is fine but when combined, the three often seem to be mutually exclusive.

I can think about love and the wonderful feelings it generates and one can be in love without having sex or being married. I can think about sex and in fact do so quite often. In fact I did just then. And then. I don’t have to be in love or married to have sex but it is possible to be married without having love or sex.

The 1955 Frank Sinatra song with lyrics by Sammy Cahn said “love and marriage…go together like a horse and carriage.” All this does for me is create a vision of beasts of burden, shackled to a heavy object, with no capability for individual thought and being whipped by the driver to make progress. Not the most positive of images.

As for sex, well I am sure that you all remember the old joke? How do you stop your partner giving you a BJ? Marry them.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines marriage in two ways. The first is that it is the formal union of a man and woman by which they become man and wife (or these days, man and man or woman and woman). The second is that it is a combination of two elements and this is more fitting as there are definitely some elements that do not and should not go together or over time, react to each other in a bad way.

In today’s short-term, thirty-second-attention-span, disposable me-me-me world, globally increasing divorce rates say that it is often easier to split up than stay together. On the other hand, the number of people getting married is also rising and there are many people who are together that defy all logic.

Why anyone would stay in a violent marriage is beyond me. How many times can you walk in to a door for goodness sake? If people have nothing in common any more, why do they stay together? And why must people in bad relationships keep justifying it to everyone else? Just do something about it. But this is where logic fails and love creeps in. Or over time, is it fear?

There are rewards for staying together of course. Twenty-five years of wedded bliss is silver and fifty years is gold. After one year the gift is paper, which is always useful as long as you can find a pen to write your thank you note.
Three years is leather so that has some more interesting connotations. Scientists say that the first flush of sexual attraction lasts approximately two years in a relationship so it is handy to have leather waiting in the wings to spice things up a bit after three years.

Twelve is silk and thirteen is lace and most men immediately think of negligees and basques for these two. Unfortunately statistics say that after this amount of time together, they are more likely to be appreciated but never worn in favour of underwear that is comfortable and looks like something your mother would have worn. Depressing or what?

Thirty-five years is a problem as that is coral and in today’s world that is environmentally unsound. So if people make it that far, they are just going to either have to get divorced before their 35th wedding anniversary or go straight to 36. But how do you get to 35 years in a marriage? I think there are three key requirements and the first is a sense of humour.

This is especially important, as Mrs. D will likely read this article. If I am going to make my ‘musical instrument’ anniversary (24 years in the modern gift list) then an ability to laugh at each other, the situation and ourselves is definitely required. ‘Would you like to play with my flute darling?’

The second is an acceptance that men and women are fundamentally different. I’ve tried being a modern man but at the end of it all, I am a man; I am shallow; my needs and relationship expectations are simple and thousands of years of evolution have made me this way. I am not filled with deep wells of emotion and even less want to talk about them so please don’t make me.

I can also accept that Mrs. D is a smoldering mass of emotions driven by hormones that are just going to explode in an irrational and unpredictable way and that it will always be my fault. As I’m shallow, it won’t matter so it’s easy right?

The best description of this difference is by Mark Gungor and his ‘Tale of Two Brains’. Check it out on ‘YouTube’ and not only will you laugh but every relationship issue you have ever had will be explained.

The final requirement is failing eyesight which age brings to many of us and I now permanently wear glasses. But when I take them off, Mrs. D appears in soft focus with all the ravages of time gone and I see her as she was. Doesn’t work for her as she doesn’t wear glasses and my increasing waistline and sagging jowls are always there for her to see.

She can always close her eyes but this would not work in every relationship. Men won’t care about it because we are shallow but can you imagine the ensuing conversation when she asks the question ‘why do you close your eyes every time you look at me?’. Dangerous stuff.

So there you are; Daring’s secrets to a successful marriage. A sense of humour, an acceptance of evolution and failing eyesight. Selective deafness is also an advantage but is a skill that can be developed over time.