Mitch Getchell

It often amazes people when they hear how long my wife and I have been happily wed. These days, with so many young people getting divorced, it just doesn’t seem possible to them. When friends ask how we’ve managed to stay together, I always tell them the same thing: The secret to our 65-year marriage has been trust, respect, and my persistent, very serious threats to kill myself if she ever leaves me.

In a strong union, there’s nothing more important than being able to look your spouse in the eye, hold a razor to your wrist, and promise them that if they ever walk out that door, you’re going to end it all.

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Many newlyweds have misconceptions about marriage. They expect it to be full of nothing but passion, failing to realize what true commitment means. In a marriage, you have to stick together through the good times and the bad, making sure your husband or wife understands that you will always be there for them, and that it will be all their fault if they one day find you lying on the floor in a pool of blood, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Sure, romance is important, but when you marry, it’s also important to sit down and have a serious adult conversation about how, if they start packing a suitcase, you will grab the .45 you keep in your nightstand and blow your fucking brains all over the bedroom wall.

Communication is something you really have to work at—even after 65 years. That’s why every day, at least once, I look my wife in the eyes and say, “I love you.” Then, while continuing to hold her gaze, I say, “And if you so much as think about leaving, it will send me over the goddamn edge and I will swallow a bottle full of pills.” I make sure she knows exactly when I would do it, how I would do it, and why the blood would be entirely on her hands. It may seem silly, but it’s important to say these things out loud.

After all, my wife can’t read my mind!

Marriage isn’t always easy, but trust me, if you follow my advice, you will be rewarded with a deep, lasting relationship. There may be times when you aren’t in the mood to wave around a box of matches while threatening to douse yourself in gasoline and set yourself on fire, but remember that such gestures can mean an awful lot to your partner. Even after you’ve been together for decades, you still need to make an effort to tell your husband or wife that if they start divorce proceedings, you’re going to leap off the rail platform and throw yourself in front of the commuter train, right then and there.

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Never forget that the little things are often what make the biggest difference in a relationship, whether it’s mentioning from time to time that you know exactly where in the garage you’d hang the noose, or leaving a little handwritten note reminding your spouse they will have no one to blame but themselves when their son doesn’t have a father anymore.

And be sure to give your partner a little space when they need it. Often, the best thing you can do is send them a text that just says, “Goodbye,” and then completely ignore them for days.

In the end, you build mutual trust in a relationship not simply by telling your partner you’ll always be by their side threatening to chug a bottle of bleach. You have to show them you mean it. You have to pull the biggest knife out of the kitchen drawer, hold it to your throat, and scream, “Is this what you want? Is this what you want, you fucking bitch?” I’ve been with my wife since 1953, and no matter how busy I got with work or the kids, I always took time to make sure she understood that she might wake up the next morning to find me bleeding out in the tub.

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In fact, just the other day, when we were driving home from the store, I pulled the car into the oncoming lane, let go of the wheel, and shouted, “If you leave, I’ll kill us both! I swear to God I’ll fucking kill us both!” You can bet it reminded her why she’s still with me after all these years.