02/21/2012 10:37 am ET Updated Apr 20, 2012

How to Stay Married to the Same Man for 35 Years

Honeymoons are great. There's nothing more romantic than two people in love basking in the sun by day, making love in the moonlight by night. Life is good.

The first five years of marriage breezes by because the happiness quotient is still high and talking politely to your spouse keeps the communication open (unless you bring a bundle of joy or two into the picture and all bets are off because loud cries from an adjoining bedroom at 2 a.m. in the morning creates moody adults).

After 10 years of marriage if you want some comfort and unconditional love, get a lap dog. Remember that pretend friend you had when you were five? Pretend husbands are common at year 10 so don't get worried.

Fast forward 15 years and try to remember the last time you spoke to your spouse without raising your voice 25 decibels because one of you turned into a Martian in year six. You see a marriage counselor by yourself and she tells you that withholding sex will only make the mister retreat into his man cave more often or even seek sex outside the marriage. You then have sex with the mister and taper it down to twice a week, once a week, once a month, only when there's a full moon and then just on his birthday. Do this gradually to avoid out-of-control cranky man syndrome.

After child four of the marriage, who has any energy left? Who makes love with their spouse after 20 years anyway? Who? The Duggars. But who else? (You have sex occasionally, yes, but that's not making love, that just requires moving your hips.)

Fast forward to 30 years of marriage. Kids are out on their own. Sleeping in separate bedrooms because one person snores, breaks wind and talks in his sleep is not romantic but it keeps the flies out of my room. Plus I have the whole closet to myself.

Oh, from year six to year 35, there are a lot of "tone" wars where the mister has that annoying condescending tone to his voice when making suggestions about how I should do 82 things differently -- the way they should be done. Apparently there's a right way and wrong way to put water and suds on the car when you're washing it. Also, there's a right way and wrong way of cracking eggs. There's a right and wrong way of putting silverware in the dishwasher. There's also a right and wrong way to fry chicken. There's a right and wrong way to raise the blinds on the windows so that stupid wand won't stick out at a 15 degree angle.

I don't have a problem serving fish sticks for dinner every night for two weeks while he reconsiders how I fry chicken. I don't have a problem letting him load the dishwasher every night because he hates the way I put the forks in with the prongs facing down (I hate when the prongs face up because you stab yourself taking them out). He comes behind me like bulldozer on a construction site and re-distributes the silverware. I don't have a problem letting him wash both cars anymore because I don't care if they look like they were in a tractor pull at the county fair. Mud on the car is just fine with me. It comes under "don't sweat mud on the tires."

Letting your husband have his way just makes things simple and it keeps the heartburn from flaring up. "Somebody" has to be right all the time which is just fine because it's easier now for me to let him have his way. Whatever I don't want him to do, I tell him to do it and then he doesn't do it, and if I want him to do something, I tell him not to do it and then he does it (as soon as it becomes "his" idea) ... so who's WINNING?

If I want roses planted in the yard, I tell him that roses would look horrible in the front yard, but azaleas might be perfect. He plants roses, and I pretend to be irritated, but then I "give in" and tell him he was right, what was I thinking? And then he gloats, and I give him an all-day sucker (that's a big lollipop for those who are under 50).

It took me 30 years to figure out that arguing with a stubborn, bull-headed man that hasn't found one thing he can't do just a little bit better than me (somebody's mother spoiled him) is a big fat waste of time.

The bottom line is, you can stay married for 35 years to the same man (that guy you fell so deeply in love with so long ago) or trade your husband in for someone else who has baggage. There are different levels of baggage so you might as well keep the suitcase you brought into this marriage because the memories with the kids are priceless, and why do you want to get use to someone else's bad habits just when you've conquered anger management with this one. The honeymoon won't last any longer the second time. Trust me. This IS my second marriage. (Don't ask).