When it comes to marriage, I don’t consider myself an expert, even though my marriage is now cresting 26 years. If you think about it, the institution of marriage is counterintuitive; the idea that we commit our life to one person for as long as we both shall live, through all the vicissitudes of time, health, child-rearing, financial boom and bust, jobs, domiciles, provenances, midlife crisis, and menopause is, on the one hand, an example of human hubris and, on the other, a testament to our indefatigable optimism.
How do we make it work once we have bought the ticket and jumped on this ride? Love, of course, goes without saying, but if I’ve learned anything in the past two decades, it’s that humor might be as important, if not more so. And by this, I mean the ability to laugh at yourself, because marriage will expose your every quirk, foible, oddity, idiosyncrasy, and annoying habit.
Being able to laugh at oneself is valuable in every area of life, but perhaps nowhere more so than in marriage. Because, along with loving things and kind things, you and your partner will inevitably do or say mean things and unthinking things to one another. If you stay together, and I hope — having reached the point of deciding to form a union, that you have spent as much time, if not more, contemplating your marriage as you have your wedding day — you will.
During the Tea and Thomas fires, when my wife and I packed our vehicles in preparation for evacuation, the first thing we stowed was our wedding album, a thick book with brown leather covers, a dusty treasure full of images that capture and freeze us at that point in time when together we stepped into the unknown.
Someday you and your partner, glancing back at the life you have forged together, will hopefully find yourselves giggling, chortling, or roaring at your younger selves. My advice is, why wait? Laugh now and often.