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Happy or Married?

A husband and wife in Christmas gear.

One day, a man left home for his job as a census taker.  He walked to the bus stop with a stack of population surveys tucked in his bag.  When the bus driver pulled to the curb, he grabbed his usual seat near the front.


He arrived at his assigned neighborhood an hour later, ready to work.


For almost two hours, no one responded.  The census taker knocked and rang the doorbells of nearly every household on the list.  He did not get paid for incomplete surveys.

When he arrived at the last home on his roster, he prayed for someone to answer the door.


The frustrated census taker opened the small gray fence surrounding the well-manicured lawn.  He walked to the front door, pressed the doorbell, and knocked twice.  He glanced at a cracked window on the first floor.


"Hello.  Is anyone home?  I'm with the Census Bureau.  I have a few questions to ask you.  It will only take about ten minutes." He called from the porch and waited. 


A middle-aged gentleman with a black and gray beard opened the door.  The census taker greeted him and explained his role with the government.  Surprised the man did not close the door after the introduction, he proceeded with the survey questions. 


The first and only responder of the day shared about his race, occupation, and income without a problem.


Then, the census taker moved into his favorite section about family.


“Sir, are you happy or married?” He tapped the pen on his clipboard, stopped himself from smiling, and waited.


 “I can’t answer that question.”


"Is something wrong?  Do you not understand?"


"Oh, I understand.  It's just that my wife is home."


 The census taker nodded and placed an “X” next to married.


When I was engaged 14 years ago, a friend told me that story.  When he got to the punch line, we laughed together.  


I knew where the story came from.  He was a divorced single father.  Through our conversations, I learned about his challenges with women.


He was also the friend who gave me some of the best advice I received about marriage.


"Vernon, don't forget to date your wife." He told me days before I left for my wedding in Mazatlán, Mexico.


It reminded me to continue doing the special things I did before marriage to catch my bride.


This wise friend also said, “No woman ever stayed angry at a man with a broom in his hand.” He wanted me to know the importance of helping out at home. 


Cleaning and cooking are shared responsibilities in marital relationships.  You must replace the "I" with "We" to experience long-term bliss.    


While many of the lessons I learned about marriage came from what I witnessed at home with my parents, I also listened to and applied the advice from experienced friends.


Are there days when you don’t feel happy?  Of course, highs and lows come with any romantic partnership.


Savor the up moments.


During down times, you are still responsible for being faithful and honest with your spouse.  Channel your frustration into a creative or athletic outlet.  Talk about your challenges with your life partner.

You must honor the vows shared in the presence of family, friends, ancestors, God, and perhaps a minister or legal official. Doing so offers you a pathway to discover happiness in marriage.


This weekend, I celebrate 14 years with my wife.  From our first formal date at the University of Illinois at Chicago to our current home in Antigua, I am grateful for the life we have created.


If you don’t think it is possible to be happy and married, sign up for coaching, and I will teach you how to create and maintain a healthy marital relationship.  Book a free discovery call here.


If you’re new to my blog, subscribe, and you will receive several electronic resources to support your journey to potential and beyond.


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