All I Really Need to Know About Marriage I learned from My Friends

Robert Fulghum wrote the book All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten.  While I have to admit I only read half of the book, I have heard many people who don’t have ADHD finished the book and talk highly of it!  I was away in Calabasas, California two weekends ago at a college friend’s wedding, spending time with friends my husband and I have not seen in years.  We had a fun time, despite trying to act like we are still in college while reality painfully reminded us we are in our 40s. I couldn’t help but reflect on my friends as I watched them interact with their spouses/partners.  So of course I do what any other normal person would do and turn it into a blog entry! Maybe all I really need to know about marriage I learned by watching them.

Dan and Marcy, these two are a hoot.  Marcy is not from the south but with her sweet-as-pie personality, you would think she was straight out of Alabama. (which I feel like an expert on since I have watched the movie Sweet Home Alabama.) The day of the wedding, she painted my nails (because shocker, we didn’t leave enough time to get them professionally done) even before she painted her own.  She is the first person to ask what can she get someone and how can she help. Dan is a salesman and a project manager; he is in sales professionally, and is project manager of his friends and family. We rented a house on a golf course and within 30 minutes of being there, Dan had us all on the golf course and had arranged an intricate chipping/pitching/putting contest. You might think some people were there to relax (namely this writer) but when Dan is around, be it water skiing, playing board/card games or some outing, you can be sure Dan is usually the one orchestrating the rules and the fun.  I asked Marcy if he is like this at home, and I sat by and listened to her brag about how every day of their lives he makes her laugh. Another thing I noticed was how these two look at each other. They are not newlyweds, but the tender way they look at each other when no one else is watching (except me in my stalkerish way), is truly priceless.

Rob and Phyllis.  Do you have those friends who do not ever sit still?  The kind that are up earlier than everyone else to take in an “easy” 8 mile jog and then get home and wonder what other sport we will all be invited (forced) to partake in?  Rob and Phyllis are that couple. I kid you not, in the 72 hours we were there, they played tennis twice, hiked to the top of Ladyface Trail (6 attempted, only four summited the 1178 feet), golfed twice (once was Dan’s awesome contest that I took last place in), walked countless miles (and not to save money on an Uber but because they liked to), and were upset that they didn’t have time for a full run because it rained. Yes, and I did mention yet that I was there to relax? Well not with these two around.  Despite being a pretty active person, I got tired watching them come up with things to do! A funny thing that Phyllis told me was when Rob lies, his lip curls up, and we laughed about some silly lies he had told her in the past (none warranting a referral to their local therapist). One of the things I know about them is how accepting and respectful they are of each other and therefore his lip doesn’t need to curl up too much. Phyllis also told me, with tears in her eyes, a story that I didn’t know. Her mother had been diagnosed with terminal cancer a while back and Rob quit his job and moved in with Phyllis and her mom to take care of them both.  I knew Rob was a nice guy but wow that is something else. Other guys would have asked for a badge and posted that on every social media avenue available to gain kudos from anyone they could, but not Rob. In fact, I don’t even know how many of his friends know this story.

Pat and Gilly.  This was my first introduction to Gilly.  In college, Pat was very similar to the way he is now.  He doesn’t complain much, goes with the flow, an easy guy to be around. Gilly was our organizer, she arranged the house where we all stayed, helped clean up, ordered our Ubers, and got us all organized (not an easy task might I add).  It was interesting to look at this “new” relationship to see the kinks they are still working out. There was a little bit of drama one night, which is not out of the ordinary when large groups gather. Pat quickly came to the defense of Gilly and supported her position and didn’t waiver.  They haven’t been together that long, but were a great example of being a united front. After having this career for 18 years this is not something I see a lot and it was refreshing to witness. I wish them the best as they grow together so that they stay so united. (And also thank them for an inspiration for a future blog post on being a united front.)

Bill was there alone.  He and his wife look like Ken and Barbie.  That has nothing to do with the story but I wanted you to have a nice visual as this story goes on.  Barbie (not her name, but I feel like calling her that right now) had to stay home because she had to tend to their two beautiful children who were probably preparing for the elementary school Olympics, or something like that.  Bill is a firefighter, one of those special ones that gets called to fight the awful fires like California had seen last year (go figure they live in CA!). Again not a point to the story that I share his occupation, but seriously he would go into the hottest profession out there!  As we were all out post-wedding dancing , a number of women (and one man) came over and tried to dance and flirt with Bill. He paid no attention to them and continued to talk about how much he loves his wife and how awesome she is. The thing is, I don’t think it was for show. Again, I often look into people’s eyes and I don’t think he was saying these things for any other reason than to share it with his friends. Working in a field where I see infidelity after infidelity, it’s nice to know there are people like Bill in the world who, despite having several offers, prefers to appreciate what he has.

Fred had just had a baby, well obviously not him, but his new wife did (who I have not had the pleasure of meeting, but my husband who has, gave the thumbs up, a big thing in this group).  Fred’s wife was not able to join in on the festivities, and I am not real sure how their marriage is because his baby was barely a month old and he left town to go party with his friends for three days!  I will leave that one alone and give a local therapy referral in their hometown should they need it! Fred, who I might add, in college was one of the real wild ones. In watching the “New Fred,” all married with child, he has changed.  He talked about his wife, and his child with such pride. I could see in his eyes, his wait to have this new life was worth it. He also didn’t stay in the house we rented and decided most nights to go home early to get some rest (oh I really hope his wife doesn’t read this, that is the part she will really be jealous of!).  He was on time, even early to all events we were required to be at, and despite a little mischief in the back row of the ceremony he was associated with, you could tell this is a changed man.

So what I learned, not from Kindergarten but from my college friends, is the secret to satisfying, connected relationships is: have fun together and laugh everyday; don’t take each other so seriously; look at each other with eyes of adoration and gratitude; be respectful of the other person; sacrifice and teamwork are essential; those who play together stay together; selflessness can earn huge points; organization is key; be united in your coupleship even if others don’t like it or get it; knowing your priority is in fidelity of your marriage; settling down and being more responsible (with a dash of rebelliousness) can make one truly happy.

So, in writing this blog entry I am guessing I will be vacationing solo next time, as my friends will think I analyze the heck out of everything!  Oh well, I can always bring a few good books I will half read!

ADD version

  • Read two paragraphs above and don’t vacation with a therapist if you can help it!

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