THE secret to a long marriage

David & Ina-Mae August 13, 1966

Ina-Mae and I are celebrating our 46th wedding anniversary today.

Why has our marriage flourished when one out of two marriages end in divorce?

I’m in the process of reading 30 Lessons for Living—tried and true advice from the wisest Americans, written by Karl Pillemer. Dr. Pillemer scientifically interviewed over a thousand seniors, who he calls the experts, on how to live a happy and non-regretful life.

It’s one of those books which I wish I had read when I was younger.

Dr. Pillemer talks about the usual reasons many couples are attracted to one another–good looks, engaging personality, fun sense of humor, or great sex.

But according to the experts (seniors), the one trait that really matters is shared values. Dr. Pillemer says opposites attract, but opposites make for bad marriages.

I have an Indian friend who has an arranged marriage. It appears that the success rate in arranged marriages is much better than personal choice. I’ve wondered how this is possible. Shared values must be the answer.

Ina-Mae and I are different in many ways, but we definitely share the same values.

Our first date was at a loud and crazy fraternity party at the University of Alabama.

Many of our peers were drinking, dancing, and smoking.

We did the dancing thing, but neither Ina-Mae nor I drank or smoked.

After an hour or so, I suggested we walk to Howard Johnson’s for some ice cream.  Ina-Mae ordered a chocolate ice cream cone and from that first lick our fates were sealed.

To this day, I can still win Ina-Mae over with some chocolate.

If you want a happy marriage, follow the advice of the experts—marry your best friend–the person who most closely shares your values.  It doesn’t sound romantic, but it works.

David Sher is a partner in Buzz12 Relationship Marketing. You can read more of his posts by looking for the “David Sher Posts” category in the sidebar of Buzz12’s website.

2 Responses to THE secret to a long marriage
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