How to Stay Married for 41 Years

Wisdom from ya Aunt Lena


Learn from my mistakes, Dolls…

Youse think marriage is easy? I gotta tell yas, it’s not! Once that foist blush wears off da roses, well youse gotta decide, everyday, ta love the one ya married. And sometimes I can tell youse – it can get very hard. I got some secrets ta help youse all along da way. I hopes they helps you!

Change those cranky thoughts to happy ones

When she was much younger, my great-niece, Anne-Louise once whined to me when I told her this. (And remember kids, whining never helped anyone but cats!) She said, “But Aunt Lena, people cannot control their thoughts!”

Here’s one of those secrets, Dolls. Youse absolutely can control your thoughts, and this is important because your thoughts cause your feelings. Youse get to pick your thoughts the way you pick ya shoes!! When thoughts of “I’m not good enough,” or “He/she doesn’t love me,” pop into your head, joosta spit’em out, and you tell ya selves, its joosta yas brain plain’ tricks on yas, you hear me! If that ain’t enough, you come call your Aunt Lena, she’ll straighten you out.


Love yas kids to pieces, if youse have them.

And if youse don’t, love ya pets, ya parents, ya friends, the people at ya work, ya relatives! And love each other!

It takes two to tango, or make real ravioli

Look across the table at your partner, dolls. That’s right, I said partner. That there is the person who is equally responsible for keeping the business of your relationship in the black. When you’re in the pits, emotionally/physically/spiritually/relationship-ally, you turn to your partner. Not away, never away, Dolls. And partner, remember, you be there ta support your love, even if it means joosta sitting and putting ya arms around them!

When hard times come, and they are gonna come, you find a way to let ya anger go. Maybe ya gotta go into the car and scream where no one can hear ya, or out in da woods and shout to da heavens. Whatever. Then ya can come back and work it out. No one does their best thinking when they’re in a fury. And youse needs your best thinking to solve a big spat with your partner.

You are not the only one who is right

Sometimes you’re right, and sometimes you’re wrong. But let me ask you this, Dolls: Would you rather be right, or in a happy relationship?

Here’s a little something my darling friend Catherine tries with her partner, Matthew. When they’re working on making a decision together, if they disagree, the tie breaker is who cares about the result more. For example: Matthew loves to drive. Catherine loves to drive. So, they both love to drive. But little Catherine gets motion sick, very easily, poor dear. She cares more about the result than Matthew. (Although, he would care very much if she threw up in his lap!) Therefore, most of the time, he lets her drive the car. Isn’t he a darling?

I know what your thinking! What if we both care the same amount about the result of a decision. Well then Dolls, it’s time fah a little compassion. If one of youse is more the type to be hurt by not getting their way, for the peace of the relationship, let them have their way. And don’t keep bringing it up – how youse were being da nicest!

Laugh, and laugh, and laugh

Take it from me, Dolls! It’s almost impossible to feel angry when you’re laughing. Laugh at the silly things ya say ta each other and the silly things ya do. Cause I gotta say, when ya get to my age, youse begin ta realize that none of it was important anyway!

These are some of the big ones, Dolls. If you can remember joosta get over yaself, and forgive, and laugh, and love everyday, youse are gonna be ok. Oh, and one more thing that’s sure to help, Dolls. Brush your teeth.

BONUS: Here I am wid my dear ole Tuttofare singin about love.