wedding photoJuly 25, 2014 marks a milestone of my life: five years with my wife Tara Clapper. If someone were to compare us on paper they probably wouldn’t see how it would work.

Tara is an intelligent, emotional, feminist, Democrat – and a college graduate. I come from a traditional 50s era nuclear family of Republicans, military, introspective, and often self-absorbed.

My parents laid the groundwork for the the adult I grew into, but my wife Tara is what makes me the man I am today (in spite of me kicking and screaming about it). We met because I described myself in one sentence, “Looks damn good in a kilt.” So she messaged me.

For those of you who regularly follow my wife on social media you know why. I want to fast forward to what’s important. How do we make it work?

Personally I’ve only seen two successful marriages in my lifetime thus far.  My grandmother and grandfather and my father and stepmother.  My grandmother told me the secret to their marriage was to never go to bed angry. In other words get it all out and done with so you don’t stew on it til morning.   My father told me “Treat your woman like a queen, but she better treat you like a king in turn.” In other words respect your wife, and expect the same. This was all I really had as advice before the wedding. As our marriage continues I have learned far more over the years through trial and a lot of error. (I’m not kidding, I’ve really screwed up and often.) The most important thing is the other person: listen to them, know them, and if you disagree that’s not a problem. Respect the other’s point of view.  Living with and loving another human being is not difficult so long as there is respect. Lose that and it’s hopeless.

Everything else is a trial in patience and fortitude.  Finances, family matters, even a crazy dog (kid, cat, or whatever you like) can be points of contention but any of that is nothing compared to how you treat each other. Remember when I mentioned respecting the point of view of you other half?

Probably the hardest for me is the feminist point of view. I’ve lived my life in a nuclear 50s style family and that upbringing certainly colored my views on what feminism meant. I can tell you it’s not the modern definition. I’ve had my prejudices consistent with a conservative household. My time in the military taught me how to appreciate many differences we all have regarding race, gender, culture, and creed. I believe in equality but I still thought of feminism as something else.

My wife has since shown me otherwise. In truth I’m not too into the term since by its root words refers to the female gender but I still believe in the cause of equality and that’s certainly something I celebrate. That’s my compromise: I understand when she uses the term feminism what it means to her. I only bring this up because the articles on this blog are for not only the geeks that are out there, but those that celebrate feminism and what it means in terms of equality and justice for everyone. And it’s something that is very important to my wife. I may not always agree with her or even, “get it.”  But I always listen to her point of view  (even if I don’t act like it…face it guys if you aren’t listening you’re really going to be in trouble).

Remember to love, respect, communicate, and understand each other. Everything else will fall into place. I love you Tara.  Happy anniversary!