The One Thing


In moments of Pinot Grigio-induced wisdom, I have been known to expound upon one of my core beliefs about a successful marriage. Although marriages come in all shapes, sizes, and flavors, I firmly believe that every pair of lovers shares The One Thing.

The One Thing is impossible to define. It can be as small as the endearing way a lock of hair falls across your husband’s forehead or the indefinable comfort conveyed by the weight of a wife’s hand resting on the back of her husband’s neck.

The One Thing represents the connection two happily married people feel. It is immediately obvious when a couple lacks this, married or not, and its presence makes those who long for The One Thing in their own marriages to gaze wistfully at strange couples in restaurants who have it. In their togetherness, these couples seem to embody all that is missing in those marriages that have lost their magic somewhere along the way.

I think The One Thing is what keeps us going when life throws terrible obstacles in our paths. The One Thing has probably saved more marriages than all the counseling sessions in the world. It is somehow impossible to remain angry with someone whose smallest gesture can reduce you to tears, and I think that’s probably a good thing.

Recently, the husband of a friend who was trying to patch up a marital spat asked me the question that every woman I know has been asked by the husband of a good friend at least once in her adult life:

“I just don’t understand! What does she want?”

To answer, I always pour another glass of Pinot Grigio and begin by asking the husband to tell me about The One Thing in his marriage. Believe it or not, sometimes this actually works. Most of the time, though, the husband asks me something like:

“So—you don’t think this will all blow over if I bring her flowers or something?”

* Today’s post is an excerpt from my first book, SWAG: Southern Women Aging Gracefully. I’m posting it today in honor of a friend’s anniversary–the couple that inspired this post! Happy Anniversary, sweet friends. I love you both. Want to read more? Please check out one of my books!

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