This month my husband and I will be celebrating our 29th wedding anniversary. And, while that is not exactly a milestone, I have learned a few valuable lessons along the way that have helped us reach this happy occasion. Here are the five stages to achieve marital bliss. I hope they will offer you the chance to reach your 29th anniversary still enjoying each other’s company (or at least still on speaking terms).
Stage 1: His & Hers Towels
This is the “Honeymoon” stage. That is as far apart as you want to be in having separate identities. At this beginning stage of your marriage you are close, you are one, a single unit, a couple, and you don’t want to be apart from each other—even in the shower. And it all works out perfectly because you receive many sets of these monogrammed towels as wedding gifts.
Stage 2: His & Hers Sinks
Now, this is no reflection on his personal habits, but you would just rather not be reminded that you are sharing a sink. And besides, you are tired of having to move his hairbrush out of the way when you are trying to get ready. There is just not enough room for his hairbrush and all of your stuff, too. Something has to give. This marriage must be saved, even if it means that a remodel is in order. Or maybe he can use the hall bath.
Stage 3: His & Hers Closets
You are still very much a couple, but his pair of jeans, two shirts, and one dress suit hanging there in the closet are taking up valuable shoe space, and every time you see them, you start to feel twinges of claustrophobia, like you are being smothered. Having separate closets is the answer, even if it means moving.
Stage 4: His & Hers Rooms—The “Man Cave” and “The Craft Room”
By the time you get to this stage, you are several years into being married, and though you still enjoy spending time with each other, you do enjoy having a little space to yourself. This is where you convert the spare room into a room of one’s own: a little office or craft room, a room where you can escape and close the door for a little peace and quiet. Your husband will turn the downstairs den into his “Man Cave,” where he can have the guys over to watch the game, or play some cards, or even just to go play the electric guitar he bought for himself for his birthday. You emerge from these private little cocoons reenergized and ready to join the rest of the family again.
Finally, Stage 5: The Storage Unit
Let me explain about the storage unit. I came across this by accident actually, an unexpected, happy byproduct of a move. When we became empty nesters and decided to downsize and move into a smaller house, we did not have room for all of the important things we have collected over the years, so we decided—actually, my husband decided—to put some of them in storage until we got organized in our new home and figured out a place for all of it to go. Well, a few months went by, and I was looking for a set of my favorite wine glasses. I asked my husband if he knew where they were. A few more months went by, and I was looking for one of my favorite vases and I asked my husband if he knew where it was, because I couldn’t find it anywhere. He said he was sure it was in a box in the storage unit and that he would bring it home soon. Several more months went by, about a year later now, and the same thing happened again; I was looking for something and he assured me that it was in the storage unit. Now, it dawned on me that I had never actually seen the storage unit, and I started to wonder whether one really existed, or if he was just telling me this to make me feel better, in the hopes that I would eventually forget about my things and stop asking.
Things really started to bug me about the storage unit. He started spending more time there, every day just about. Then, one night he said he was going down to the storage unit to listen to some band practice that had the storage unit across from his. Now I was very curious; was there actually, in fact, a storage unit, or was he trying to hide something from me? The next day I casually asked where the storage unit was and he gave me the general direction of it, but not the actual address.
A couple of weeks later he had gone down to the storage unit to watch the band practice and I was in the kitchen making a really large salad, so I started looking for my large, beautiful wooden salad bowl. “It must be in the storage unit,” I thought. I tried to call my husband and ask him to bring it home, but apparently he couldn’t hear his phone over the music of the band, so I decided to go down there and see it myself. I knew the general area, and it was not hard to find, but I tell you, I was shocked at what I saw. My husband’s storage unit was in a gated community! With a gate and a guard! I got out of my car and I could hear the band playing their music, and I could hear people talking and laughing—It was a party! I walked up to the guard gate and asked if I could go in to speak to my husband. He said he wasn’t sure if “Mr. Brown” was in. I asked if I could go in and see if I could find him. “Not without the security password,” he said. “Well,” I said, “If you see him, would you tell him I just want to see my salad bowl?”
So my husband has found the perfect spot for his own space. No mere spare room or downstairs den would do, that’s so 25th anniversary! The key to a 29th anniversary is a completely separate structure in a gated community, with a password and a security guard. And I am happy knowing that I still have all of my important stuff—and I have the whole house to myself!
Happy Anniversary, Billy!