My 20th wedding anniversary was actually last week (11/19/08), so this is a make-up post. It’s short.
This is what I’ve learned in 20 years of marriage:
Don’t go to bed angry.
This idea that your wife will be happily surprised that you spent a lot of money without telling her is fictional – even if you buy diamonds. Our rule is if it’s more than $40, you must disclose it, and if it’s more than $100, you must both agree on it. We have an exception for X-mas, but even then, we agree on the numbers without identifying what we’re actually shopping for.
Our anniversary is still a bigger deal than either of our birthdays.
My wife handles the bills, because she’s an office professional. I handle all the work outside the house because I’m a dirty job professional (and I am not deathly allergic to dust like my wife). My wife does most of the cooking, because she honestly enjoys cooking. I do most of the laundry because I weirdly enjoy doing the laundry. That’s as far as we’ve gone with the division of labor.
We have a No Secrets policy, which means, a lot of times, carefully not asking certain questions.
It is always better to fight over time than to fight over money.
After twenty years, the virtues that still matter are honesty and kindness. Happily, my wife has enough of those for both of us.
Finally, every marriage runs by its own rules. Once those rules are laid down, stay with them.
Now you know.