My wife and I just earned our Thirty Year Chip! Wanna know how we did it?
The key is a clear, consistent division of labor and in this regard Communism is a good practical model. As long as the individuals make the health of the marriage the top priority, willingly sacrificing personal freedom for the good of the state, it’s almost impossible for the marriage to fail.
It starts with the complete elimination of economic freedom. With no personal bank accounts, neither of us can book a getaway ticket to Cabo with the FedEx guy or frequent the Happy Ending Massage Parlor. I can’t buy guitar strings without my partner’s approval, nor can she remodel the bathroom without making a solid business case that a remodeled bathroom is economically practical and will provide acceptable ROI upon liquidation of the house.
After a few years of marital communism you’ll come to realize that a marriage is not a romantic proposition. It’s a business proposition: an agreement to co-habitate for the purpose of sustaining the species, or, in the case of same sex marriages, for the purpose pooling economic resources.
She buys my wardrobe and manages the closet and the laundry. I agree to keep my shoes in plastic shoe boxes from the Container Store.
She makes the grocery list, I buy the groceries and cook, she manages the dishwasher, the fridge, and the utensils. I have learned that it pays to avoid slopping shit around in the kitchen.
I pee outside. (Think of how many potential marriage-busting issues this solves! Of course, we live in the country.)
I pick the music, she picks the films. We both love the San Francisco Giants and often manage to avoid talking to each other by listening to games on the radio over dinner. (Unnecessary conversation is a guaranteed marriage buster).
She manages the trash, which has become a complicated sorting exercise. I acquire and maintain the audio/visual gear.
I play “Chuck It” with the dog. She manages his boom-booms. I feed him in the morning, she handles the evening.
She talks on the phone, but when she needs to write an email she asks me what to write. I avoid all communication with the outside world.
She makes the bed just so. I keep the fan on my side of the bed to keep the mosquitoes from sucking the blood from our brains at night.
And on and on it goes. We both drink copious amounts of Pinot Noir and we both fart with impunity etc. etc. so, a perfect fit we are! All our expectations of each other are listed right there on the refrigerator. A couple of unwritten agreements, like my allowing her to beat me at dominoes or her allowing my surreptitious drug habit - I guess they could be used as bargaining chips in a pinch.
I’m not sayin’ getting our Thirty Year Chip was a breeze. You can only take this marriage business one “I Love You” at a time (it helps if the mantra is intoned as a vague threat ie: "I love you...or else.") I guess we try to be as kind and polite and friendly as we can possibly be no matter how crappily we slept or our how crippling our pain du jour might be. We work the steps, stay in close contact with our sponsors, go to at least a couple of meetings a week, and absolutely do not "friend" or "follow" each other in the socialsphere.
Meaning that, with any luck, my lovely betrothed of thirty years will never see this post and our marriage will last at least another thirty years.