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Small Wonders: A warm, reassuring hand

November 18, 2011|By Patrick Caneday

While Patrick Caneday takes some time off, we’re running some of his choices for re-publication. This column was first published Aug. 15, 2009.

What would you tell two starry-eyed people who were about to embark on the rosy path of marriage?

My brother and his fiancee asked me to give a “short” speech on marriage at their wedding. I told them there is no such thing. A short speech on marriage is like a “quick trip” to the summit of Mt. Everest.

After seriously questioning their judgment and their choice of people to turn to for advice, I tried to think of anything I've learned in my happy marriage that I could offer them. Here is what I came up with and am telling them today.

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First and foremost, be friends. In tough times, you'll need to return to the safety and security of that friendship to see you through. And in good times, well, in good times you get to be “friends with privileges.”

Marriage is about the long, slow journey; the moments, simple daily moments. Lively bedroom conversations that last deep into the night; long, speechless road trips through the desert. The time she threw out her back and was paralyzed with pain so you caught the first flight back from a business trip in Las Vegas. Or when you gave her bad directions and got her lost for hours in the dark woods late at night on that family vacation. These are the moments that make up a path stretching far into a future that you can't see or imagine.

Strive for trust and stability, not excitement and adventure. That's not to say you won't have the latter. You will. But adventure and excitement are the reward you get for first achieving trust and stability.

Marriage is about letting each other do the things that drive the other person crazy. Don't argue over the little things, like how she lets knives dry in the drying rack tips up; or how much you hate that old, worn out pair of pants he's owned for 15 years. When he tells you the same story for the 50th time, and each time it's gotten more fanciful, smile, nod and tell him what a great story it is. There are just some things men and women will never understand about each other.

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