OK, so I’m guessing here

In the weeks running up to my wedding, three years ago, I often found myself asking: what is the secret to a successful marriage? I did this, perhaps impertinently, even with strangers; and it was a stranger, on the Northern line, who gave me the answer that has stayed with me the longest: “Tolerance.” The friend I was with confessed afterwards that she had found this rather unromantic, but what the much older gentleman and his wife (who looked to be in their late 80s or early 90s) had said resonated with me. To tolerate is not to be a doormat, but to accept that the other person may not have the same outlook that you do, and that your behaviour and opinions may diverge. It is to be magnanimous, rather than seek to punish independence of thought.

I’d say that Rhiannon’s had a bit of a tiff. Possibly even – as the old phrase goes – that she’s farted in front of him for the first time and the honeymoon’s over.

21 thoughts on “OK, so I’m guessing here”

  1. No arguments with the sentiments she expresses above, but tolerance is not going to come easily to a Grauniad opinion-spouter.
    Maybe she found hubby’s MAGA hat?

  2. Maybe she heard “tolerance” and understood that to mean the intolerance of the woke.

  3. Bloke in North Dorset

    Maybe she married him for “what he is” and then took that well worn path of deciding he needed to change to match her vision of what she wanted out of marriage and got a suitable response along the lines of my way or the highway?

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    It is more likely she wanted a higher status man but left it too late. So she is settling and hence is unhappy for reasons she cannot articulate. The number one being the men who slept with her but refused to put a ring on it made her feel both cheap as a person and that her husband was of lower status than her previous boyfriends.

    She is trying to talk herself into putting up with him.

  5. There was an episode of ‘Roseanne’ in which she was asked how her marriage had lasted so long and she replied “Lack of imagination”. Speaking as someone who hopes to be celebrating a golden anniversary next year I can only agree.

  6. Dennis, Partnered and Coupled

    Ah, the first test of a marriage and our Plain-Jane Guardian columnist collapses into a whiny heap.

    Who could have seen this coming?

  7. I would have thought intolerance was the key to a successful marriage. Don’t marry the one’s going to make life hell. Fairly easy to spot. See Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett. Even the name should be a deterrent.

  8. I think that she may have misheard and the stranger said “Toledo”.

    I went there with the missus once and we both loved the place.

  9. Could be a personal issue, but it’s probably the sort of easy topic that Guardian women write about. Google a few stats, read through a couple of on-line accounts of therapy, look up a couple of quotes about relationships, and there’s your article. Guardian lifestyle journalism: by the self-obsessed, of the self-obsessed, for the self-obsessed.

  10. bloke in spain,

    “I would have thought intolerance was the key to a successful marriage. Don’t marry the one’s going to make life hell. Fairly easy to spot. See Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett. Even the name should be a deterrent.”

    The one that is going to make life hell is intolerant. The tolerance thing depends on both sides doing it.

  11. It’s all about brownie points, if you build up enough of them, she’ll tolerate you being less than perfect. Gave my brownie point account a boost this morning, pink diamond pendant for the anniversary of us meeting, a date she never remembers.

  12. “Guardian lifestyle journalism: by the self-obsessed, of the self-obsessed, for the self-obsessed.”

    They’re one side of a conversation, the other side of which would be:
    “I know”
    “Ï know”
    “I know”…
    Round about every other sentence.

    “The one that is going to make life hell is intolerant. The tolerance thing depends on both sides doing it.”

    Intolerance is a virtue, not a vice, BoM4. Don’t concede to the bitch from the start.

  13. And a little more seriously.

    People are made up of bad parts & good parts. You can find any number of people with the good parts. The trick of a successful relationship is accepting that the good parts & the bad parts make up the person you know. If you genuinely like them as a person, their bad parts are the right sort of bad parts for you. So cherish their bad parts along with their good parts. If they did not have them, they would not be the same person.

  14. I put the success of my, 27 years so far, marriage to just finding the right person. My wife is my best friend and soulmate and we just seem to be a perfect fit.

  15. @Stonyground
    +1 (40 years, next year)

    In relationships, as in so much of life, Voltaire was right: the best really is the enemy of the good.

  16. It’s all about brownie points…

    Twenty years ago we decided to knock down our house (an old, small bungalow) and build a new one. We moved the family into an apartment for the interim – like all moves, it was pretty hectic and distracted us from mundane issues like the date. Without planning it that way, the day our builder came over to sign the contract was our anniversary. Some years later, my wife was in the market for a new car – as things happen, it the day that she selected the car she wanted was her birthday.
    Since then I have reminded her that after getting a car as a birthday gift and a new house for an anniversary, she can’t really expect much more.

  17. Quite so, Stonyground. While some separate interests are possible, may be even desirable, in the main, a couple should want to share life’s experiences together. In my case, other husbands are jealous that MrsBud shares my passion for cricket and rugby (union). When a group of us booked a box for the last Ashes test at the Gabba in Brisbane, the other wives looked forward to five days of shopping while MrsBud insisted on being in the box.

    We’re 40 years later this year, we had hoped to spend it cruising down the Zambezi River, but we’re now looking at doing something a little closer to home. Sorry, Mr Womby, there will also be a custom made ruby and diamond bracelet. In return, MrsBud will take me out for a ruby (although we’ve never had separate bank accounts).

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