Strike an average between what a woman thinks of her husband a month before she marries him and what she thinks of him a year afterward, and you will have the truth about him.
~H.L. Mencken, A Book of Burlesques, 1916
Nineteen Years old. My marriage is 19 years old today.
When I was 19 I thought I knew everything. My marriage, while it doesn’t know everything, does know a few things at it approaches the end of its teenage years.
I got married at 24. I thought I was so grownup. I remember the day after my wedding, I went to the mall to buy a pair of running shoes (really ugly early 90s ones) for my honeymoon tour of Italy and France. I felt so matronly as I signed my brand-new credit card with my brand new last name. Even though I loved the name I already had, the feeling of changing my signature, of being a ‘Mrs.’ was so intoxicating.
Little did I know.
Marriage is a hard ride, little sparrows. There’s nothing bumpier, less predictable, more joyful, less frustrating. You are connected to a person, your person, regardless of their foibles, snoring, hairy ears, and other assorted weird habits and moods, ostensibly until the end of time.
‘So now I’m praying for the end of time
To hurry up and arrive
‘Cause if I gotta spend another minute with you
I don’t think that I can really survive’
I’m a child of divorce. Multiple ones. I’ve got stepfathers, stepmothers,and siblings hidden in places you’d never think to look. So, when I got married, I made a commitment to my husband, and to myself, to try and make this matrimony thing work against all the odds. Crazy, you might say, to make a promise to oneself like that. What if ours turned out to be an abusive relationship or he ended up being a big fat cheater like Don Draper? What if he was so annoying I wanted to murder him with a cleaver because of the way wiggled his ugly eyebrow? What if I just fell out of love?
But yes, I decided, unless any of the above untenable situations (please add limiting shoe shopping and the drinking of wine to the list) occurred, I’d stick it out. And, not for the kids. For myself.
Since my husband hasn’t done any of those untenable things, we are still together, going the distance, riding the waves, and overcoming the challenges life lovingly provides I thought I’d share some things I know after 19 years of marriage:
- It’s ok to pee, fart, and poop in front of your spouse. The ruse of pretending you don’t do those things will only work to about year five.
- Following that, if you’re really tired and he’s in the mood, just tell him you have gas. Instant deflation.
- Encourage him to buy black jockey shorts. It makes doing the whites way less unpleasant.
- There’s nothing embarrassing about changing your tampon in front of your husband. If he can buy ‘em, then he knows about them. Plus, trust me, he’s mapping your cycles on his iPhone with this little app.
- Some husbands need to be reminded to pay that little bit of extra attention to their wives. Bimonthly tantrums including crying, crumpled tissues, and sock throwing really do the trick.
- If you leave the mess long enough, he’ll eventually clean it up. Then, you won’t have to. But, if he dares to comment on the mess, well, see point #4.
- If you show your husband your boobs, he’ll do just about anything for you.
- Don’t spoil your husband by catering to his every need. Trust me, while you feel like the little wifey now, it will backfire in the future when he’s just one other child for you to mother.
- No matter when you bought it, you’ve had it forever.
- If you’re mad, just say it. Frankly, your husband is probably too wrapped up in the baseball game or episode of Deep Space 9 to notice on his own. State your case, then walk away. He’ll eventually think about it, on his own time,and realize the error of his ways. In other words, haranguing will get you nowhere, but patience and the silent treatment will.
- You don’t need to shave your legs in the winter. He’ll do it with you anyways.
- You can never LIKE someone all the time.
Happy Anniversary, husband. If we make it through my menopause, we’ll be set for life.