Today I attended a bridal shower for my friend, Jen. It was a lovely affair, with Spanish food and plenty of sangria. To create a scrapbook for Jen before her big day, the hosts asked each guest to fill out a card that finished the sentence, "If I could give you one piece of advice about marriage, it would be..."
Well, that's a puzzler. People want different things out of marriage. Some want undying passion. Others might want a house and the promise of a comfortable life. Some just want the assurance that they won't be alone. Most of us want a combination of the three, with a bunch of other stuff thrown in. There's no formula for a happy marriage.
Plus, over time, things can change. You might live in different places, have lots of jobs, and welcome any number of children and pets into your lives. You may be tested by illness, infidelity, or financial woes. It's impossible to prepare for marriage, since marriage is just two lives tethered together as the days roll by. Who can know what the future will hold, or how either of you will embrace it?
The main piece of advice I can think of, which is both dumb and true, would be, Pick the right person. What I mean is, pick the person who is already who you want them to be. Don't marry someone that has any significant qualities you wish were different or that you hope will change. Newsflash, folks: people don't change much.
Of course, that's not useful advice by the time you're a few weeks out from the wedding. Presumably, you've gotten that part right. So for Jen's scrapbook, I settled on: Always remember what drew you to each other in the first place. The routine of life can wear away at love, but if you can continue to enjoy the qualities you initially found so charming in each other, you've got a good chance at a long and happy marriage.
I was reminded of a third one when considering a dinner I made last weekend. I had rustled around in the fridge and unearthed a few ears of corn, some grape tomatoes, and a bunch of chives. The combination cried out for a risotto, its flavor deepened by shallots and a splash of white wine.
The risotto was delicious on its own, bursting with the flavors of summer. But the husband doesn't enjoy a big bowl of risotto, unless it happens to come studded with prawns or scallops or something else of the animal variety. So I decided to top it with a little bit of...
The husband was very pleased with the dinner, which in turn pleased me. And, as you know, I'm a fan of pork in all its forms, so it wasn't exactly a sacrifice. Except for the pig, I guess.
So, I guess my third piece of advice is: Do nice things for each other. Often. After all, you chose each other out of all the people in the world. Make it count.
What say you, readers? Any marriage advice to share with the masses?