Happy pub day to one of of favorite authors, Taylor Jenkins Reid! Her latest, After I Do, is a wonderfully insightful look into the pitfalls of marriage, and it's filled with wit. Hands down, one of the best books of 2014! So of course, we asked her to give us some advice on how to keep the love alive after so many years. This is what she had to say! (Oh, and go buy After I Do! Right NOW!)
Taylor Jenkins Reid's advice for After I Do
When I set out to write After I Do, I wanted to put myself in the position of a woman who had allowed her marriage to become stale and dispassionate.
To do this, I took a lens to my own marriage. I started to take a look at the things that my husband and I take for granted from each other, even when things are good. I began paying attention to the habits that, if we were to allow them to fester, might grow into real problems. I tapped into the seemingly benign complacency in my own marriage and took a hard look at how those things might be dangerous in the long run.
Here are the top three things I realized I was taking for granted that I put into the book:
I realized that my pit bull had started sleeping in between my husband and I. Gone were the days when I had to sleep touching my husband. Instead, I was happy to let the dog rest in between us. Now, in my defense, there is no greater snuggler than a pit bull. But regardless, once I saw that I had allowed it to happen, I knew it had to stop. So not only did I put a similar thing in the book, but I started making my dog sleep on the side of the bed. I always try to fall asleep touching my husband.
2. I've lost my wallet more times than I can count.
In my vows to my husband, I thanked him for being the kind of man that doesn't get frustrated when I lose my wallet. And over the years, as I've continued losing my wallet, I have gradually started taking for granted that he will be patient about it. I'm pretty sure that if every time I left the house, I had to hear a woman yell, "Oh my God! Where's my wallet?" I'd lose my cool. But he never does.
So I gave that quality to Lauren, and now make an effort to thank my husband every once in a while for always being so cool.
3. Who's going to call the plumber?
My husband is the one that calls people. I do the dishes. I make the bed. I do the laundry. But my husband handles repairmen, dog walkers, vet appointments, and all customer service phone calls, in addition to things like the trash and the yard. I have more than once found myself taking for granted that he will do all of that, and in the same breath, being convinced, "I'm the only one that does any of the work around here."
When Lauren and Ryan start fighting about who was supposed to call the plumber, it came from my realization that I wasn't appreciating all the work my husband does. After that, I started saying thank you more often and tried to stop tallying all of the chores I handled, as if it was a competition.
Ultimately, this is all small stuff. But I'm convinced marriage is small stuff. I'm banking on a happy marriage being made up of small kindnesses every day. So I'm doing my best to protect my marriage by saying thank you and making the dog sleep in the corner. (And using all of this as material.)
Tell us--what is YOUR advice for a happy marriage?