Oh, let me think… Three years ago from this very moment, I was probably trying my best to convince Fred that we should just wait and get married "sometime next year." That’s right, it’s our third anniversary.

And they said it’d never last.

In honor of our anniversary, I’m going to respond to a question reader Lisa asked back at the end of September. She said: Robyn, it seems like you and Fred have such a wonderful relationship and marriage! I would love to hear some advice, through your journal, on how you maintain your great relationship — and what makes your marriage work. I’m getting married in May, after dating my fiance for over three years, and any advice from ANYONE at this point is helpful. My parents have a lousy marriage, so I’m not asking them!!

That’s an excellent question, Lisa, and at first all I could think was "Well, how the hell should I know what makes it work? It just does!" And then I started to think (ow…), and I came up with a couple of suggestions I think might be helpful.

1. Communication. We talk a LOT, probably spend more time talking than Fred had ever dreamed possible before he met me. We talk during the day several times, email back and forth while he’s at work, when he gets home we usually go upstairs, lay down, and talk about our days. As we sit at our computers, we chat about various things from time to time (and sometimes we sit in his chat room together). After dinner, we always go upstairs to lay down and talk for ten minutes or so, we make snide comments about whatever we’re watching on TV that night, and we lay down once again and talk for half an hour before bed every night. We are talkin’ fools.

2. Space. There are times when all you want is to be alone, y’know? We both pretty much know when to give each other space. Fred will, every now and again, wander off to take an hour-long bath and read. Most nights he goes upstairs to read for an hour before bedtime, leaving me to watch whatever TV show I like and he doesn’t. So, as much time as we spend talking, we also get time to ourselves.

3. Laughter. We make each other laugh like hell. I mean, it’s not a constant yuk-fest around here or anything, but we know the inside jokes, and Fred has been known to make me laugh so hard I’ve come close to inhaling food and dying. Just thinking about the phrase "Your FORK" makes me laugh. And I’ve been known to make him laugh unexpectedly as well, for instance the "teapot?" incident of last week. I don’t think I could ever be with someone who wasn’t more than willing to laugh at stupid things.

4. Interests. We have common interests. We enjoy the same kind of books (well, except that Fred’s on a nonfiction (snorrrrrre) kick), we’re both doing that weight-lifting thang, and we’re cat freaks. A former coworker used to come into work on Monday and talk about how he spent the weekend in the garage working on a car, or hunting with his pals, and his wife would be off doing her own thing. What fun is that? Why marry someone if you don’t want to spend time with them laughing at the cats, making the cats run around after the laser, complaining about people you don’t like, and discussing what you’re going to read next?

5. Admiration. We both adore admiring and basking in the wonder that is Fred.

6. Sex. Well, duh. Of course sex is important – there was sex before we started losing weight, a LOT of sex, and there’s even more sex now. Sex, sex, sex. Daytime sex, nighttime sex, mid-afternoon sex, sex all the livelong day. We’re lucky in that our sex drives match up pretty well. That could change if we ever have a kid, of course, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

7. Most importantly, we put up with each other. I put up with his annoying (FARTING) habits, he puts up with (BITCHING) mine. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

8. Friendship. Actually, putting up with each other isn’t the most important thing. Our friendship is. He’s my best friend, and if something interesting or funny or even slightly noteworthy happens, he’s the one I want to tell, immediately. I can tell him absolutely everything, and (I think) I have, and I know that he’ll continue to love me unconditionally, no matter what. In return, he’s told me all his dark, dirty secrets, and I only love him more.

Happy anniversary, babe. I love you!