This is not a post about how to have a happy marriage. Nor is it a post condoning, condemning, or proposing marriage. Most importantly: I am not giving you marriage advice.
Every relationship is different.
We are young.
Things will change.
What I am doing is telling you how Baby Daddy and I make it on a daily basis at this time in our lives, right now. I’m telling you because marriage is no joke. I’m telling you because when you’re sitting there looking at your spouse and thinking “I hate how you chew,” it’s nice to know we’re all in the same boat. I’m telling you what works for us in hopes that you’ll do the same.
Here are the Top Ten ways we survive the beast that is marriage. Happy Tuesday.
1) Go To Bed Angry
“Don’t let the sun go down on your anger” is some of the worst marriage advice we ever got. You might think sleeping on a steaming pile of hate would make things worse, but most of the time we wake up feeling less angry (or forgetting why we were mad all together). If anything, that night of sleep lets me know how I actually feel. If I wake up and I’m still upset, I know it’s worth bringing up.
Warning: Remember Lorena Bobbit? Proceed with caution.
2) Go To Bed At The Same Time
If I have a cardinal rule, it’s this. Pillow talk is sacred, even if it means not finishing up a blog post, putting down Bossypants, or getting into bed wide awake. It also encourages more of #6, a proven mood booster.
Obviously it doesn’t always work out, but we try to spend at least a few minutes awake and in bed together each night–even if one of us sneaks out when the other has fallen asleep.
3) Those Three Words (Once In A While)
Baby Daddy and I are not overly affectionate people. We don’t kiss at stoplights, hold hands at dinner parties, or stroke each other in public. We also don’t say I L0ve You every time we hang up the phone or run to the grocery store. In fact, sometimes we don’t say it for weeks. Why? We believe that A) saying it too much cheapens its value & B) showing love is more important than saying it.
We are also romantically lazy.
4) Separate Is Equal
Remember when everyone was obsessed with diagnosing love languages? Womenfolk around the globe had a hay day proclaiming “my love language is words of affirmation” or “my love language is when you buy me purses.”
Baby Daddy and I also read that book a while back and both of us tested positive for Quality Time needs, yet we still very much need time apart doing our own separate things. If anything, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I also don’t really care about golf.
5) Hold the Sarcasm
Sarcasm, especially for two first born, egocentric, know-it-alls like us, is hard to push under the rug. I find myself swallowing snarky zingers on a daily basis, even if they are pretty hilarious.
I know Baby Daddy does the same. Like when I say that I’m finally going to clean up the kitchen tomorrow, I can see his mind processing and then repressing a “fat chance” remark. No easy task.
6) Discuss The Marital Dance
For fear of scaring you with the word SEX, I will refer to the horizontal hug as “the marital dance.”
There are a lot of ways to dance. We’ve got the waltz, polka, hula, jitterbug, the bump and grind (!)…you get the picture.
Bottom line: talking about dancing helps to prevent stepping on each other’s toes.
7) Gender Roles
If Austin was in charge of grocery shopping, we’d be eating roaster chickens and peanut butter and jelly for the rest of our lives. If I was in charge of paying the bills, we might be homeless.
Falling into a set of fairly stereotypical gender roles was difficult for me at first, but I got over it once I realized Austin still folds his own wash and does his own ironing. I also really enjoy making dinner and have no desire to change the oil in our cars.
8) No Secret Left Behind
Lying is a tricky rascal. Once upon a time I kept a lot of secrets from a lot of people. Being an open book is so much easier, especially with your spouse. Even a harmless white lie can lead to a life of sneaking out at 3am and having to keep a notebook of what you said or didn’t say (believe me). Therefore–>all passwords, emails, texts, phone calls, etc. are free for the taking. I’ve got nothing to hide.
9) The Little Things
It’s the little things in life, right? One morning, not long after Austin started med school, he left me a little note stuck to the keyboard telling me how important I am to him. Even though it was a tiny gesture, it felt huge. I still have it taped to the computer to remind me not to freak out when he chooses 95 year old woman’s dead body over mine.
It’s a cadaver, folks.
10) Let. It. Go.
Picking your battles is one of the hardest things to do in any relationship.
Like many couples, Austin and I fight the most when in the confines of the car. For some reason that tight space breeds contempt and aggravation over the stupidest of arguments. Mostly I’m just pissed that it’s been 45 minutes and he hasn’t said a single word. Not one word! And when I try to break the silence with something I’m thinking about (Would you rather eat a handful of pennies or six handfuls of hair?), he responds with one word answers (hair) and goes back to silence. It makes me nuts.
Four years later and I’m learning to Let.It.Go. He doesn’t like talking in the car–let it go!
I won’t drink the milk one minute past the sell by date–let it go!
You do what you gotta do.
How do YOU survive the m-word?