Yesterday (in the side column of shame) Joan Collins shared what she thinks are the secrets to wedded bliss. Her current husband Percy is 46 and she will be 79 next month and when questioned on the ages gap, says “if he dies, he dies”. Despite having four previous husbands, Joan brought her three children up on her own and now feels she has finally found the one. Percy and Joan (like I know them) have been married for ten years and she puts their great relationship down to her enthusiasm and him being a good person, his complete lack of vanity and his charm and dependability.
The Guardian Family section was also talking about marriage yesterday and Jessica Mann, the author of a new book The Fifties Mystique, wrote about how many young women these days hanker after the stay at home lifestyles of the 1950’s. She feels the domestic bliss of the 50’s and 60’s housewife is a complete myth and many women felt trapped, repressed and without choice. She gave examples from an old newspaper, encouraging women to always put her husband first, which included “let him talk first – remember his topics of conversation are more important than yours” and “remember he is the master of the house, you have no right to question him.”
Despite there being less domestic drudgery and more choice nowadays, the modern stay at home mother still can be left with an feeling of inferiority and a lack of role in society and this can put a strain on any marriage. As can both partners working full time in high stress jobs.
I have no words of wisdom on what makes a happy marriage, except I do know that humour and supportive friends help me through the darker times and I am truly thankful for the good times. When teen daughter asks me about marriage, I tell her honestly that there will be both and if she ever tells me she’s getting married, I will be passing on this true story a friend recently posted on Facebook.
“Here’s a little story for you that came back to me today. Kelso, Scotland, 1993. I’m having a little walk with my new husband when we cross a romantic old bridge and meet a little old lady. She stops & asks if we are tourists. I tell her that we’re on our honeymoon and she replies: Well, you push him off right now!”