There’s not one definite secret to making a marriage work, and successful couples employ a variety of “tricks” to keep their relationships strong. From sticking to an iPad-sharing schedule to not fighting after 7 p.m., each pair swears by their own methods for keeping the peace. These couples in particular certainly employed some creative tactics!

In one of the stories, an elderly woman became ill and was admitted to the hospital. Doctors informed her that she didn’t have much time left to live. So, with only days remaining, she told her husband the secret trick she’d been using to keep their marriage together all those years… and it was a doozy!

It takes a lot of work to keep a relationship going strong, and after being married for 60 years, one unnamed elderly couple could attest that they were, for the most part, pretty happy. They shared just about everything with one another—with one exception.

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See, the wife had a shoebox that she kept stashed away on the top shelf of her closet. She gave her husband two simple rules about this shoebox: don’t ask about it, and never look inside of it. He obliged—but it wasn’t easy.

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As the years wore on, the man racked his brain as to what could be hidden inside his wife’s shoebox. Was it a diary? A voodoo doll? A grade-school diorama project? He fought down every burst of curiosity; he was determined not to violate his wife’s trust.

But then his wife fell ill and the doctors said she wasn’t going to recover. While sorting out their affairs, the husband found the shoebox, still unopened after 60 years. He brought the box to his wife’s bedside.

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He asked what she wanted him to do with the shoebox. Toss it? Burn it? But the wife had another idea: she wanted her husband, finally, to see what was inside of it. So, carefully, he removed the lid.

Resting inside the shoebox was a curious collection of items: two crocheted dolls—and $95,000 in cash. The husband was flabbergasted. Why had she kept these items from him? More importantly: where had she gotten that much money? His head spun.

When he composed himself, the husband asked his wife to explain. Despite her condition, she was excited to answer: “When we were to be married,” she said, “my grandmother told me the secret to a happy marriage…”

That secret, his wife continued, “was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you, I should just keep quiet and crochet a doll.” The man blinked back tears as he listened.

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After 60 years of marriage, his wife was only upset with him just two times! It didn’t seem plausible; had they really had such a spectacular relationship? But there was something he still didn’t understand: where had the money come from?

“Oh, that?” the wife said, a wicked sort of smile forming on her lips. “That’s the money I made from selling the dolls!” At least she found a way to turn her frustrations into something humorous! Of course, not every couple can do that so well. Take this next couple, for instance…

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A much younger couple once struggled to find happiness in their relationship. The man felt his wife was distant—maybe even unloving. He wondered if she’d even be sad if he ended their relationship. So he devised a plan…

The man grabbed a pen and paper and started writing out a message to his wife. He said he’d grown tired of their relationship and that he no longer wanted to live with her. While most people would’ve realized how unfair it would be to break up with their significant other over a note, he stood behind it.

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The man decided to leave the note on the nightstand and then he hid under the bed, waiting for his wife to return home. He wanted to watch her reaction as she read his message. What would she do?

As the man laid under the bed, in the dark, by himself, he wondered how his wife would react. Would she break down and cry? Would she flee to their favorite diner, feeling hopeless and thinking about what could’ve been? Well, he had his answer when she returned home…

The wife entered the bedroom and, after flopping onto the bed, she saw the note on the nightstand. Seemingly unaware of her husband hiding just under the bed frame, she held his letter between her fingers and read through it. Meanwhile, her husband waited with bated breath.

Once she’d finished reading through the letter, the wife smiled. She picked up a pen, scribbled a note on the bottom of the letter, and then let out a gleeful shout. She jumped off the bed and started dancing and singing. She was positively beaming!

Her husband—still under the bed—was confused. He watched his wife change out of her work clothes and into a pretty dress. Then she pulled her cell phone out of her purse and made a call. Even from under the bed, the husband heard a male’s voice answer…

“Great news!” the wife told the mystery man. “My deadbeat clown of a husband finally got the hint and took off. So we don’t have to sneak around anymore. I’m getting changed now. Can’t wait to kiss you in public!” Then, she skipped out of the room.

Feeling as though a hot iron had twisted up his insides, the husband crawled out from under the bed. He rushed toward the letter his wife left behind, hoping to read through teary eyes whatever his soon-to-be-ex-wife had written at the bottom of it.

Once he blinked away his tears, he scanned the short message she’d written: “I could see your feet under the bed, you idiot. I’m going out to buy bread.” Ha! The whole dance and phone call was an act to get back at her husband. Perhaps he’d be more grateful about their relationship!

Everyone, even those in the happiest of marriages, knows that making a relationship work can be, well… work. That’s why most couples can relate to the story of one unhappily married man named Todd.

In a handwritten letter to his wife, Todd laid out the reasons for his unhappiness. “Dear Dorothy,” he began, “I’m writing you this letter to tell you that I’m leaving you forever. I’ve been a good man to you for seven years, but I have nothing to show for it.”

Evidently, Todd had been struggling with some pent-up emotions for quite some time before he finally decided to express how he was feeling. “These last two weeks with you have been utter hell,” he continued.

This was especially true because his wife seemed to have suddenly been making some rash decisions. “And then, when your boss called to tell me that you quit your job today,” he pointed out, “that was the last straw!”

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As Todd explained, he’d been doing everything in his power to make her happy. “Last week, you came home and didn’t even notice I had a new haircut. I had cooked your favorite meal, and I even wore a brand new pair of silk boxers,” he said.

For good reason, Todd felt that all of his efforts were going unappreciated. “You ate quickly in just two minutes and went straight to sleep after watching all of your soap operas,” he said. It was a scathing letter, yet he was only getting started…

“You don’t tell me that you love me anymore,” Todd continued. “You don’t even want to sleep with me with me these days.” Obviously, he had more than his fair share of grievances.

He knew it sounded harsh, but he didn’t want to pull any punches. “What the heck is going on?” he asked. “Whatever the reasons may be for this unacceptable behavior, I’m gone!” he wrote, before emphatically adding, “Signed, your EX-husband.”

He paused, and then he revealed something that he knew would drive home his point: “P.S. Don’t you dare try to come and find me. Your sister, Beverly, and I are moving away to West Virginia together!”

“I hope you have a great life,” he tacked on to the end, “because I certainly won’t be in it!” Of course, any wife who came home to this note would be devastated. But surprisingly, Todd’s letter thrilled Dorothy once she read it. Why was that? Well…

Although Todd’s letter was brutal, Dorothy was prepared for it, and her response to him was far more severe. “Dear newly ex-husband,” she began. “Nothing has made my day more than receiving your letter.”

As much as Todd may have thought he was suffering, Dorothy had it much worse. “In the hellish seven years that we have been married, a good man is a far cry from what you’ve been,” she stated matter-of-factly.

“I watch soaps so much because they drown out your constant whining,” she fired back. “It’s just too bad that it doesn’t work.” She wasn’t mincing words, and she was only getting warmed up…

As it so happened, Dorothy had a response for each and every one of Todd’s complaints. “I did notice when you got a haircut last week,” she admitted. “But honestly, the first thing that came to mind was ‘You look like an idiot!'”

“Since my mother raised me not to say anything if you can’t say something nice,” Dorothy continued, “I didn’t comment.” Dang, now that was one serious burn. Amazingly, she had a lot more where that came from.

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“As for when you cooking my ‘favorite’ meal,” an impassioned Dorothy explained, “you must have gotten me confused with Beverly because I stopped eating shellfish more than seven years ago.” Ouch!

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“About those new silk boxers: I turned away from you because the $49.99 price tag was still on them,” she wrote, “and I prayed it was a coincidence that my sister had just borrowed $50 from me that morning.”

Then, Dorothy revealed she had a twist of her own: “After all of this, I still loved you with all of my heart and felt that there was still a chance we could work it out. So when I hit the lotto for $10 million, I quit my job and bought us two tickets to Jamaica.”

As Dorothy explained it, she had been excited to share this news with her beloved Todd, but when she got home he was already gone. “All I found was your lousy letter,” she wrote, near the end. “Everything happens for a reason, I guess.”

“Todd, all I hope now is that you have the fulfilling life you always wanted,” Dorothy concluded. “My lawyer said that the letter you wrote ensures you won’t get a dime from me. So, take care. Signed, your EX-wife, rich as hell and free!”