So I walk into my folks’ kitchen the other day. It’s a high-ceilinged chef’s kitchen with homemade olive oils and fruit bowls and cutting boards of every shape and size lining the counters. Displayed behind glass cabinets are Asian teapots and cut crystal, ceramic serving dishes and artsy coffee mugs. An “If in doubt, add more wine” sign hangs on the wall. It’s an eclectic, joyful, purposeful space.

Near the refrigerator, hanging on a rustic wrought iron hook is a Key. A big old brass skeleton key. And hanging there on that heart-shaped hook, this antique key seems a bit country-cottage, like your grandmother’s crocheted oven mitt might hang there as well. But this little objet d’art is a bit more racey than that. It has a punched metal tag that specifies its use, which reads:


Screw room? Yup, it’s the key to the screw room. Right on, Mom and Pop.

Some people say the key to a long, happy marriage is communication. Some say it’s being each other’s best friend. And some say it’s sharing common interests.

I recall long ago my brother theorized that the true key to a long marriage was a good sex life. (This was when he was a senior in high school—a clue as to why he might come up with such a theory.)

My folks have been married for over forty years. And, if asked what the key to a successful marriage is, they’d probably answer E.) All of the above. Plus, I’m certain they’d add one more item to the list: A good sense of humor.

And then of course there’s this:
If in doubt, add more love.

Janna, aka Happily Even After, 35, Seattle