Bet you can't read everything on this intriguing card! I know I couldn't.
So, I enlarged it--and was rewarded for my efforts. It's a hoot!
It may be tongue-in-cheek, but guess what? We're kind-of-living this greeting card message.
Lucky us, I say!
But, it took 40 years of practice--every day--to get there! Plus, lots of luck, the 5-1 ratio, & Bill Murray's Groundhog Day. More on that later.
In case you're wondering, the words in italics are how the Healthy Librarian & the Lab Rat stack up to the card's standards.
- Buy You Flowers For No Reason. Check! He's done that. A lot. I haven't. But, I buy him other surprises for no reason, that I know he'd appreciate.
- Remind You That You're Good at Your Job. Check! For both of us--all the time. But, it's usually not about our "work" jobs--it's about other things we're good at.
- Make Coffee For You Every Morning. Check--whoever is up first, makes the coffee!
- Open The Door For You. Check! For both of us.
- Not Roll My Eyes When You Talk About How Hot Tom Brady Is? Huh? Who's Tom Brady?
- Be Vegan If You Want To Be Vegan. Check! We both were willing to give this one a try.
- Cook For Your Book Club. Check! It's "our" book club--it's co-ed--and we both cook for it when it's at our house.
- Wash Your Car For You. Check! He washes my car. I've never washed his. He's into car care--I'm not.
- Rub Your Feet While We Watched House Hunter's International. Check! I kid you not--this actually happened this year--and, trust me, he must have really felt sorry for me to do this. Can't think of a show he hates more--and he's not a foot-rubber.
- Let You Spend All Day Sunday In Front Of The TV. Check! Sure, why not? Occasionally. Sometimes a guy needs to veg-out without being nagged about it. But, TV's his thing--not mine.
- Not Interrupt You! Hasn't happened yet-but we're working really hard on this one!
Where Did This Card Come From?
This adorable card illustrated Tara Parker Pope's December 11th, 2011 Sunday New York Times Magazine story, "The Generous Marriage".
So, what's a "generous marriage"--and why should we care?
This excerpt will give you the gist:
"Researchers from the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project recently studied the role of generosity in the marriages of 2,870 men and women.
Generosity was defined as “the virtue of giving good things to one’s spouse freely and abundantly” — like simply making them coffee in the morning — and researchers quizzed men and women on how often they behaved generously toward their partners. How often did they express affection? How willing were they to forgive?
The responses went right to the core of their unions. Men and women with the highest scores on the generosity scale were far more likely to report that they were “very happy” in their marriages.
The benefits of generosity were particularly pronounced among couples with children. Among the parents who posted above-average scores for marital generosity, about 50 percent reported being “very happy” together. Among those with lower generosity scores, only about 14 percent claimed to be “very happy,” according to the latest “State of Our Unions” report from the National Marriage Project."
Of course, I read the article immediately--it was short--and I took the quiz that came with it, "Do You Have a Generous Relationship?".
Then, I asked my husband to take it. I couldn't believe he didn't roll his eyes at that request--but he took the quiz. It helped that there are only 4 questions to answer!
Turned out we got the same score--a 17, I think. But, if you ask me, he's definitely the more generous one.
Here's what I wanted to tell Tara Parker-Pope after I read her article:
Love this study--and this column. Thanks, Tara. I'll try to be more generous.
Yikes--In about 2 weeks my husband & I will be married for 40 years.
He's incredibly generous--every day.
Last night he shared his Good & Plenty with me, at the movies, even though he only bought a small box because I swore I wasn't going to want any of it. No kidding--that's generous!
Whoever gets up last--makes the bed. Whoever gets up first makes the coffee in the morning. Whoever has the time, does the grocery shopping, makes dinner, or cleans the house.
He knows the stuff I hate to do--so he'll just do it for me. Car stuff. Lawn stuff. Money stuff.
I'll do the the stuff he hates to do. Make the phone calls. Keep in touch with the relatives. Make the social plans. Buy the presents, the cards, do the non-guy-type shopping.
He'd deny it, but, honestly, I think he's more generous to me, than I am to him--but, I always keep a look-out for what I can do for him.
So Why I'm I Bringing Up "The Generous Marriage"?
Yesterday Was Our 40th Wedding Anniversary & I Think It's Excellent Advice!
Yesterday was our "official" 40th anniversary, and we celebrated it in our style--low-key, no hoopla---just a spur-of-the-moment dinner with old friends at a very hip restaurant that has something for everyone--the vegans and the serious meaters.
Two of our college friends were already visiting us over the extended Christmas weekend (which, BTW, is why you haven't seen any posts from me lately!)--and we asked two of our other long-time in-town friends to join in the celebration.
Both couples were at our wedding forty years ago. This summer they will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversaries. All of us were 22 year-old kids when we got married; and we all started our families around age 30--about 8 years later--thankfully, after we grew up a little!
We've been together through the good times & the bad. Through celebrations, graduations, weddings, babies, illnesses, disappointments, and the deaths of our parents. We've got history. Like 43 years worth.
You're Looking at 118 Years of Marriage (L-R: Bob, Babs, Lab Rat, Me, Lee, Marge)
Everyone Has Advice About What Makes a Good Marriage.
But, I'm Still Sticking With What I Wrote on Our 37th Anniverary, Three Years Ago:
What's the Secret of a Good Marriage? Luck, the 5-1 Ratio & Bill Murray's Groundhog Day!
A reposting from:
December 26, 2008
Happy Anniversary - Secrets of a Good Marriage - Luck, the 5-1 Ratio & Bill Murray's Groundhog Day
My husband is the funniest person I knew. He makes me laugh everyday, really! He's also the most trustworthy person I know. Except when he's being the most annoying person I know.
When I asked him what superlatives he would give me, he answered instantly, "You're the nicest person I now. And the kindest. Except when you're being the most annoying person I know. You're also funny, but not the funniest person I know. Sorry."
So what's the secret to a happy marriage? I wouldn't presume to answer that question for anyone but us, but I figure you need 3 things going for you:
- Good luck in who you choose and good luck in the curve balls life will surely throw you.
- The 5-1 ratio. Your nice-to-nasty ratio must be 5-1! It really works!
- The Bill Murray Groundhog Day Principle. If you stay married long enough, and keep repeating the same stupid mistakes over & over again, you finally get it right! The light bulb will go on & you'll figure out what works & what doesn't. Ditch what's not working.
- I am spatially-challenged, so my husband has quit relying on me to help him move furniture through narrow doorways or going up & down stairs.
- My husband is directionally-challenged (as in maps) so I'm the directions person, & I make sure I know exactly where we are going.
- I love to hike, but I'll pass on backpacking--why would you want to ruin a perfectly good hike carrying 50 lbs. on your back? So he goes with a friend.
- He's not into going to lectures on weeknights--I go with friends.
- He got tired of listening to me whine & he finally learned to dance--and loves it.
- He knows I hate to read technical manuals, so he'll just read them for me.
- Nagging never works! (I'm still working on this one.) Sounds simple enough, but like Bill Murray, it took us years to figure these little things out.
"Making the best of what we have....is not second best. It is rather, a demand for active engagement in caring for what and whom we value.
That is what's touching about Groundhog Day. Our trapped weatherman has to learn this the hard way. His life is reduced to one inescapable day. It's the entire deck he's been dealt, the allotment of flowers he can arrange, the cast of characters in his life.
He goes through stages of feeling trapped, depressed, and living as if there's no tomorrow. He finally comes to the not-so-profound-but-still-pretty-rare realization that he can change his world by changing himself.
..it's about making the best of what you have...over and over. Making small repairs and improvements so that the commitments of midlife--the work you do and people you love--don't become a trap. They become and remain the town in which you choose to live even when you have options."
Back in May 2008, in honor of a very special wedding in Chicago I did a little thinking about what I'd learned after almost 37 years of marriage.
- Laugh a lot, touch a lot, show affection & give each other compliments! It's the WD-40 of marriage.
- When your spouse asks for your help or needs you to show up--Do it!
- When your spouse needs to talk--Listen.
- When it's important to speak your mind--Speak up.
- Know when it's important to keep quiet.
- Cut each other some slack.
- Learn to dance.
- Get into the habit of taking walks-it's the best time to talk.
- Make time for activities you do together.
- Make time for activities you do on your own.
- Laugh a lot. It bears repeating.
- Cook together.
- Stay healthy for each other.
- Be wonderful to each others parents.
Favorite advice from Meg Tufano.
- Listen to your spouse. Shut up and listen, every day, for at least a half hour a day. Ask pertinent questions. Remember the answers. Keep notes if necessary. Your children depend on your relationship with your spouse. Make sure your marital relationship is solid and your kids will be fine.
- For men: if your wife is looking miserable, ask her to tell you what’s wrong and keep asking until she spills her guts. WHATEVER it was, it will no longer make her miserable because she has talked about it with you. This is the magic key to making women happy. Flowers are always nice too!.
- Rest. Sundays are good if only because other people may be doing the same thing. But any day is fine. Rest is essential to everything else you care about. Without rest, the fragility of your life will be front and center; with rest, you have a savings account of energy from which to draw to help out others. Make it religious in the sense you ALWAYS take rest at least once a week.
My Wish for Dave & Emily back in May 2008, is exactly what came true for us!
- Outrageous & memorable adventures
- Wonderful friends
- Good health
- Work that you're passionate about
- Enough of life's challenges to make you stronger, wiser, and kinder
- Kids who are above average, sleep through the night, are easy-going and lots of fun
- The gift of balancing your life, your work and your family
- Enough money to feel both secure and generous. Not so much that you become out-of-touch & spoiled.
- The knowledge that it's your friends, family & experiences that will bring you your greatest joys. Invest your time and money accordingly.
And I almost forgot, this sage advice comes from Rhett Ellis' wacky book, "How I Fell in Love with a Librarian and Lived to Tell About It":
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Now It's Your Turn. What's Secrets of a Good Marriage Would You Share with a Newly-Married Couple? Click here, and scroll to the bottom of the page to leave a comment.