Eric’s Tips for a Happy Marriage

As you get on in years, you feel the need to pass on your accumulated wisdom to the younger generation, which they will promptly ignore until they're as old as you are, at which point they'll admit that you were right all along and their lives would have been *so* much better if only they'd listened rather than listening to that crappy music of theirs (why oh why can't they have any taste in music?)

So, at the risk of repeating the Miss Manners incident, I hereby present the following list, in no particular order:

Eric's Tips for a Happy Marriage

  • Check for religious compatibility. This may not seem like a big deal, and many couples are able to be happy despite differences, but if children show up one day, it can be a big source of friction.
  • Recreate together. No, you don't have to do everything together - in fact, you *shouldn't* do everything together - but spending time having fun is a great way to stay connected. If it's something exercise-related, all the better.
  • Kids. It's helpful to have some agreement about the number, timing, and species of any offspring.
  • Don't get married too early.
  • A sense of humor, for both you and your wife.
  • Taste in furniture. I have a friend who has a wife who likes the country cottage style, and he is destined to sleep in a room with a 4 poster bed, lacy pastel canopy, numerous stuffed animals, and a slightly illegal number of pillows.
  • Would it kill you to learn how to cook something? Not only is this a nice way to share the tasks, depending on your choice of wife, it may turn out to be an important survival mechanism
  • Random Acts of Giftitude
  • Compromise
  • *Both* toilet seats go down.

Why should you listen to me? 7300 days, baby!

Comments (19)

  1. Philip says:

    Really 7300 days, or 7304.8 days?   Congratulations, either way!

  2. Wife PhC says:


    Funny…recreate and procreate are at similar points in your list.

    Furniture…damn now I gotta return not only the pillows I bought for you but the lovely stuffed monkey.

    Cooking…well, your survival has depended on it, I guess (or should I be offended?).

    The one missing from your list…Support your spouse.  If you stay together for as long as we have you gotta be ready for lots of life changing choices like oh I don’t know…one spouse making the other spouse call her DR. (soon oh so soon)

  3. DJ says:

    I was thinking ‘this isn’t so profound’ until I got to the last one. Who knew? Previous training by various females got me to put the first one down, no small task considering the years spent living in a fraternity house. But the lid? We didn’t even have lids in the fraternity house.

  4. Eric says:


    It’s the lid, because that requires a change of behavior from both parties.


  5. Mark says:

    I am surprised you didn’t mention financial compatibility.  Money matters are the leading cause of divorce in the U.S. anyway.  If both spouses do not agree on saving and spending money this can be a major issue.  We know so many couples in debt which is a real strain on the marriage

    Mark  4411 Days

  6. tobint says:

    I heard a comic once say "The toilet seat — they need it down, we need it up. How about you learn to put it how you want it when its your turn."  

    When you walk into a married couple’s home and you notice one bathroom with the seat up and one with the seat down, that’s the TRUE sign of a working marriage! 🙂

  7. Eric says:


    Yes, a huge important issue. Not sure how I missed it.


    It’s only 7300 days. February 29th is "Pretend you aren’t married day"

  8. Mark Wan says:

    Congrats Eric:

    Any special plans for the anniversary?

    Shall I add "giving each other space" – as in the wife giving the husband time to go out and ride?

    Mark with only 13.5 years of experience.

  9. Michael Morrissey says:

    As to the Toilet, I would add "Wipe up your drip marks"



    5 year old daughter

    1 year old son.

  10. kbiel says:

    Here is what I teach my kids.

    There are three points of compatibility which you should have with the person you intend to marry:

    1. You should share some common interests.  Your spouse should have an interest in at least one of your top three favorite hobbies/activities, preferably two.

    2. You should have compatible goals.  If you want to be a rancher and your spouse wants to be in Broadway show, your marriage will not last.  On the other hand, if you want to be a programmer and your spouse a teacher, well those are compatible goals.  (The number of children, if any, fall into this category.)

    3. You and your spouse should share almost all of your values.  In a successful marriage, spouses can disagree on whether spanking or "time out" are the better approach, but the belief in Vishnu and the belief in Jesus are generally incompatible.  If you are a gung-ho Marine and your spouse is a pacifist, sparks are going to fly.

  11. Matt says:

    A friend of mine, knowing my interest in the subject, pointed me at this posting.  Great list.  I would add:

    *  Smile – smiling is such an important thing in any relationship

    *  Moving outside the comfort zone – life gets pretty boring if you let it

    *  Don’t forget to do the stuff that made you fall in love in the first place – dating,  flirting, etc.

  12. happy anniversary Eric!

    so you got married when you were barely over 20. how’s that not marrying too early?

  13. ericgu says:


    I got married when I was 22 and finished with college (and my wife was 20 and in her last year).

    When you’re in your early 20s, I don’t think you really know enough about who you are to get married. We were lucky enough that the changes that we both went through on our journey to 25 were compatible ones, and it helped that we are both fairly accomodating people.

    But I don’t recommend it.

    If you do choose to marry early, put the kids off for a few years.

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