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Let me tell you why, right here at the beginning of 2011, I have decided it’s time for me to provide you with marital advice, especially advice that you didn’t ask me to give you.  It’s because on December 28th, 2010, I was married for 36 years: to the same man. (I make this disclosure, because back at the 25th mark, I was asked if the sum of my years of marriage were all to the same individual.)

Married 36 years means that I have been married over 1 ½ times more than I was single. It means that my life experiences involved trying to share a life with a member of the opposite sex way more than ones that involve more singular pursuits. It means that I have eaten, slept, made love, had sex, shared gaseous emissions, and bore three children with the same man, in our household for36 years. I have argued silently with him, I have wondered who the heck he was, and spent a good third of the time trying to make him into someone I thought he should be. We have gone on vacations that were miserable and vacations that were memorable. We have looked at other people and wondered if we would be happier with them.

We’ve been through the harrowing moments of potty training, multiplication tables and the 16- 25 unmarried, male driving insurance premiums, all the while managing to provide higher education for the sons of our hearts.  One of us sat beside the other through open heart surgery and heart disease and one of us held our oldest son as he passed into Heaven while the other flew in the sky heading towards their own holding of that son’s lifeless body.

(We would spend the next months of our marriage, limping around, like a body with one part amputated, trying to learn to walk through life again.)

There are theories that children or tragedy, the big events of life, can make or break a marriage. While this may be true and easy to point to, marriages are also done in by the day to day effort of living with someone that has no connection to you other than you signed a paper saying that you have chose to be one. So, for reasons that probably have more to do with stubbornness backed up by the recognition that faith in ‘us’ was a very small mirror of faith in something much bigger than us, Silent Bob and I  have been married 36 years and I am going to advise you on how that too, can be your future.

A few disclaimers. I’m old. This advice won’t be about the passion of new love, new territories of physical adventure (I have to save something for the very steamy and adventuresome romance novels I write to make the big bucks I bring in, contact me if you want those links), or alternate lifestyles. This is not going to be about being politically correct on relationships in the 21st century or women’s rights through history. This is one woman’s view of marriage. The one thing outside of that I can promise: the three things I plan on telling you about, the three pieces of advice will be transferable to the way we treat others, whether in marriage or not, because no matter what century you live in, it turns out that the Golden rule will always apply.

So tune in, next week for “Building Your Man a Cave” followed by “The Way to a Man’s Stomach is Through His Heart”, and finally, “The Kids are Gone, Want to Divorce?”

One thing you can count on in the next three weeks: I will be unconditionally and painfully honest.

Happy Monday..er, Tuesday.