How To Have a Happy Marriage

Humor can keep a marriage strong. In fact some problems, especially marriage problems get solved because we are will to accept the absurd as normal reality. This applies to game theory, life strategies and basic problem solving.

I accepted this as an epiphany of sorts during an argument my wife and I were having. Yup my wife and I had a bit of a tiff this week.  We were watching a movie about marriage and ruminating on why some couples stay together and others get divorced? Then we had a tiff about something.

Neither of us can remember what it was about but it was a tiff nonetheless. You see we are each from a different culture, religious background, racial heritage, and have differing and often oppositional tastes in almost every way.  To add to the differences I am 6’1” and she is 4’8” tall. I guess that the cause of the tiff is somehow tied to one of these differences… but I’m not sure.

Lilia and I never dated and she moved in with me the second time we met (I begged her to).  As I remember it the voices in my head said “Hey, Lewis, ask this woman that you don’t really know to move in with you” Of course I always do what the voices in my head tell me to do so I asked her, actually I begged her to stay. We got married in a year and many of our friends were convinced that we would be divorced in less than a year (sadly most of them are now divorced). We have spent well over a decade bickering about this or that. Our neighbors used to call us the “Bickerers”. (Oh they are now divorced as well).

I was single till I was forty seven and used to dazzle the ladies with my cooking skills. I only tell you this because Lilia doesn’t really like most of my cooking. I often create feasts for us and she send out for Chinese takeout.

Now all that being said we really do have something special. Trust and respect is at the top of the list and we’ve pretty much accepted what are often called by others as “irreconcilable differences”. Some say we have learned to compromise.  I’d rather call it drawing and seldom crossing a “line in the sand” that seems to be constantly moving. We often communicate effectively within an hour or two of any disagreement we may have. That might be the key to some sort of marital success.


I want to say that greatly respect the Pope and the Dalai Lama but have always wondered how easy it would to be the Pope or the Dalai Lama if they had to deal with the quirks of marriage.


So as I was saying Lilia and I had this tiff while we were watching a movie about marriage and we began ruminating on why some couples stay together and others get divorced?

This tiff and our discussion about it reminded me of a funny story I pulled out of  Woody Allen’s movie “Annie Hall” about marriage.

The male and female parts can be switched. It doesn’t  matter.


“A man goes to a psychiatrist and explains that his wife is insane.

“Maybe she is a bit eccentric” replies the psychiatrist. “You can learn to adjust to her behavior, after all marriage is compromise”.

“No” replies the man. “She is really crazy”

“What makes you so sure that she is crazy?” asks the psychiatrist

“She thinks she’s a chicken” Replies the man


“She thinks she’s a chicken”

“What makes you think, that she thinks she is a chicken?” Asks the Psychiatrist

“Well she acts like a chicken”!

“I don’t understand” Replies the psychiatrist

The man explains. “Every morning she wakes up and starts to make clucking noises. Then she bends over and starts to peck at the floor like she is eating seeds. Then she waves her arms up and down like a chicken does.”

“Wow” say the psychiatrist, “Your wife really does think she is a chicken”.

“That’s what I told you” replies the man.

“Why do you stay married to her”? Asked the psychiatrist

The man responded instantly, without any thought or sense of irony. “Because I need the eggs!”


Lewis Harrison is the founder and director of the Harrison Center for Personal Development. He is a radio talk show host, speaker, consultant, practical philosopher and Contemporary Spiritual Teacher. Lewis is a pioneer in the personal development movement The author of nine self help books on human potential he offers a monthly retreat/seminar “How to Solve Any Problem”.  He also and phone based coaching.   This blog is explored more fully through Lewis’ E-book “Everything You Need To Know About Staying Happily Married”. It is available for $7.00 and can be ordered directly from Lewis by calling him at 212-724-8782.

Listen to Lewis on the radio on his show “That Was Zen, This is Tao” Wednesday and Thursday 4-6 PM

Lewis speaks to companies and other organizations on stress management

Lewis also offers phone-based and on-line life coaching services and a monthly workshop/Retreat – a simple program for decision making based on Game Theory, the idea expanded on by John Nash, the Nobel Prize winning subject of the biopick “A Beautiful Mind”.