Marriage Advice from the Completely Unqualified

Today I’ve been married for 2 years… which makes me completely unqualified to give marriage or relationship advice to pretty much anyone at all. Doesn’t stop me though.


Here’s the thing. I have an imperfect marriage. Which I guess makes sense because Dan and I are both imperfect people. We fight, a lot. We sometimes go to bed angry. We aren’t each other best friends and neither of us remembered to get each other anniversary cards this year. We’ve broken all the rules of happy marriages, more than once.

But here’s the other thing. We’re really happy.


Our 13 month old daughter had a nightmare last night.

This is Mia when she was only a few weeks old...but she looked pretty much the same last night.
This is Mia when she was only a few weeks old…but she looked pretty much the same last night.

I stayed up rocking her from 3am-530am, and then Dan took her downstairs to play so I could sleep from 530am-7am. If you ask me (which, I know, none of you did), that is a happy marriage. It’s two really tired, stressed out people working together to get by.

Dan and I have only been married for two years, but we packed a LOT into that time. A wedding, a house, another house, a pregnancy, a baby, and the entire first year of that baby’s life. We’ve been through unemployment, a busted transmission, 3k in vet bills, and a million other little hiccups that tested our dedication to each other and to our marriage.

Every time, though, we made it through. It was not always pretty, or nice – and we definitely didn’t follow the “rules” of good communication that my therapist insisted on. But neither of us left.


I have no rules or tips or guidelines to follow for a happy marriage except one. Don’t leave. I don’t think Dan and I have anything exceptional about our relationship except that we both trust implicitly that the other person will not leave. And when you have that deep, embedded trust, it makes almost any hurdle feel temporary. We WILL get through this. We might temporarily hate each other. But there is another side to this mountain.


For some people, this is not enough to feel happy. And that’s ok. The hardest part of happiness is knowing what you need to achieve it. For me, its security. Knowing that Dan is all in. Both feet. No plan B.

For Dan, it’s knowing he’s going to get laid on a regular basis. Just kidding. Sort of.

For real though, we might have minimal savings, a million house projects, a broken headlight, and about 4 hours of sleep in a typical night. But that means we have jobs, a bank account, a big house and two cars. We have a beautiful daughter that wakes us up every morning and you know what – that sure as hell beats the alternative.


I used to think that traveling to exotic countries and devising new models of economic development would make me happy. But now, a hike mountain climb up Tumbledown Mountain and a family trip to the grocery store make my day.

One day last week Dan was putting Mia down for a nap and I was folding laundry in the other room. He was reading her books and I could hear her giggling as he acted out the barnyard animals. I felt so happy, and so content, and so in love.

We have a simple life – and an imperfect marriage. And we are happier than we’ve ever been.

Happy Anniversary Dan, here’s to another 2 years as incredible and action packed as the first two 🙂

I love you.



2 thoughts on “Marriage Advice from the Completely Unqualified

  1. Han – I think you found the number one secret and you said it beautifully! Knowing the other one will never leave and that you are his A plan is what it all starts with! I can give that advice as i am in this 36 years last week! But as the years go on that best friend and communication does change – you need to get out of the muck of sleepless nights and no time alone – and you will richer because of the time growing a family together and making huge decisions and big mistakes and lots of love!

    I love you and am so proud and happy for you and Dan!

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