Let's Digress

The Best Marriage Advice Ever

Read this to know secret to having the best marriage ever!

Ah, clickbait titles.

I’m not sure if you’re aware or not, but we’ve been living in some unique times as of late. There has been a worldwide pandemic, several lockdowns, toilet paper shortages, capitalism-fueled space launches, and the series finale of Fuller House, to name a few. 

But I also need to mention what is quite possibly the biggest and most shocking thing that has happened (or hasn’t happened), especially considering the lockdown thing: I’m still married. 

Despite my typical antics and all of this incredibly atypical worldwide silliness, I’m still happily married to the best wife of all wives. 

Disclaimer: At the time of this writing, I have been married for 3.5ish years. Technically speaking, this means I’m an established and credible source for both marital advice and dating advice, along with being in the winner’s circle for having won the dauntingly awful Dating Game.

Anyway, I thought I would share the secret to a happy marriage:  

Step 1: Be married to my wife since she is, in fact, the best wife of all wives.

That’s it. You have to be married to my wife. 

I know, that’s probably not the emotionally-fulfilling answer you were looking for. But fret not: I aim to please and enlighten….and if neither of those are viable options, and they often aren’t, then I shall attempt to amuse and bemuse. 

People frequently ask me all the time on some rare occasions, “Adam, what’s the secret to a happy marriage?” 

The secret to a happy marriage is asking your spouse one question and one question alone when conversations take a turn for the serious: “Is this a listening conversation or a problem-solving conversation?”

That’s it. 

I shall explain. 

Gabby, being the communicative and best wife she is, likes to talk about things and dialogue and use all the best words. I like to have a direct and concise plan of attack to solve problems for various scenarios, which often doesn’t use as many words or have an astute level of compassionate listening.  

On occasion, she’ll have an issue or predicament about something and want to express her concerns, air grievances, or talk through it to better understand whatever it is. Me being the dunderhead I sometimes am would jump head-first into problem-solving mode. 

We would end up talking past each other and not actually accomplishing anything. She generally ended up becoming frustrated because I didn’t hear what she was really saying and I would get disgruntled because my concise 14-point plan guaranteed to solve all problems would be rejected. 

Side note: This “having a productive dialogue with your spouse” thing is much more involved than it seems to be in books, movies, and TV shows. 

Then, one magical day I was listening to The Ben Shapiro Show. It was a Friday because he was answering mailbag questions from listeners. A listener asked for general marriage advice, and Shapiro said that when he and his wife had similar-caliber conversations, he would start off by asking his wife, “Is this a listening conversation or a problem-solving conversation?” He went on to say that it resolved a lot of their dialogue issues. 

I heard that and said to myself, “Self, that sounds like a good idea. Let’s try that next time.” 

The next time a similar situation occurred, I asked Gabby if it was a listening conversation or a problem-solving one. She looked at me like I was a crazy person, but said it was a listening conversation. So I listened and didn’t problem-solve. Another time, she said problem-solving, so I whipped out my 14-point guaranteed-to-succeed plan with a verbal flourish that would make even the greatest orators swoon.

It. Was. Glorious. (The whole conversation, not just my plans.)

Fast-forwarding to now, I’m better at discerning these conversations than I used to be, so I don’t always ask for clarification. But it was definitely a game-changer and is by far some of the best marriage advice I’ve ever heard. 

And we lived happily ever after in some clichéd silliness.

Questions, comments, concerns? Comment below or send an email!

Also, please, be a kind and grammatically decent human.

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