Secrets of a (very) long marriage


By Neil Offen

Next week, my wife and I will celebrate our 54th wedding anniversary, which is, technically, impossible, since I’m pretty sure I’m no more than 43 years old.

Nevertheless, we have documents, and several scars, both virtual and real, that attest to the fact that we have indeed been married just slightly short of forever.

We do not know many other couples more or less our age that have been together this long. In fact, we do not even know any other couple that has been apart this long.  Actually, to be honest, we don’t know that many couples at all and consequently tend to stay home a lot by ourselves and watch re-runs of “The Big Bang Theory.”

We cannot even remember ever hearing about a couple of our generation that has been married for so long — generally speaking, to each other. But that may be because after 54 years, we just don’t remember much of anything anymore. We can’t even remember what the last episode of “The Big Bang Theory” was about.

Nevertheless, we do understand that 54 years of marriage is a pretty significant accomplishment, particularly for people in their mid-forties, and we have started wondering, how have we done this?

How have we accomplished such a feat that has eluded so many others? How have we managed to stay together for so long despite never agreeing on what toppings are pizza-appropriate?

We think this is how:

1). We married at a very young age.

I was 7. My wife was 5. Yes, it was an arranged marriage.

2). We never talk about politics.

In fact, we never talk about a lot of things since my wife is usually in another room and can’t hear me when I say I can’t hear her because she’s in another room.

3.) We’ve divvied up the important marital jobs.

I’m in charge of apologizing. My wife is in charge of accepting apologies. 

4.)  We both have a complicated relationship with technology.

I’m the one who doesn’t understand anything to do with computers. My wife can’t figure out a smartphone or even a not-so-smart phone.  We work together on not being able to follow the instructions for our new air fryer. 

5.) We have the same taste in things.

I like tasting Breyer’s mint chocolate chip ice cream. My wife likes to taste my mint chocolate chip ice cream when I’m not looking and will taste it if I’m distracted by needing to fiddle with the air fryer.

6.) While we disagree on some issues — how to spell fuschia, for instance, or how to pronounce fuschia — we agree on the basics, like global warming and never using fuschia in a sentence.

7.) We both have a good sense of humor. Actually, that’s a sense of Good Humor. Personally, I prefer toasted almond. My wife likes the strawberry shortcake. 

8.) We never go to sleep angry. Mostly, that’s because after 54 years, neither of us really sleeps very much anymore.

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has been a humor columnist for four decades and on two continents. He is the author of “Building a Better Boomer,” available wherever books are sold.
This reporter can be reached at

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3 Comments on "Secrets of a (very) long marriage"

  1. Kerry-Ann da Costa | May 23, 2024 at 11:35 pm | Reply

    Loved this. Thank you. We are halfway there… and #3 helps

  2. Joe Capowski | May 24, 2024 at 8:32 am | Reply

    Congratulations Neil! May you have another wonderful 54 years…….but please do not
    take a new job teaching math. Joe

  3. Love the apologizing roles! Congratulations!!

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