Tomorrow is the 17th anniversary of the day that Doug and I got married. I can't believe that at one point in my life, a few of my closest friends (and one future sister-in-law) voluntarily agreed to wear a giant butt bow, sacrificed several days of their busy lives and allowed layers of hairspray to be applied to their heads. And even though all of our lives have went in different directions and taken us to different locations around the globe, only one of these girls has ditched me as a friend. Believe it or not, I'm kind of proud of this statistic.
If you asked me now, after almost two decades of marriage, if I were able to do the wedding over again would I do things differently, I would say absolutely, without a doubt and with zero hesitation -- absofuckenlutely. Seriously. What the hell was my clueless, immature, selfish, borderline psycho-self thinking? I mean, it was beautiful and memorable and people got their drunk on, but like most brides, I feel like I talked to about 2% of my guests, spent thousands of unnecessary (parental) dollars on hundreds of plates of wedding chicken, put my parents through a tulip and tuxedo draped version of hell and micro-managed details to the extent that I'm surprised no one followed through with their strongest desire -- which was to murder me.
One thing that I wouldn't do differently, however, is change the person that, after the whole vow-filled ordeal, I ended up being married to. We've known each other for over twenty years and I can honestly say that I still really like the guy. Sure there are times when he makes me want to jump off the roof, or at least nail him in the back of the head with a full bag of garbage, but I can guarantee that those times are nothing compared to how often he envisions lovingly placing a pillow over my face while I'm noisily breathing through my mouth, and pushing down ever so gently until the ghastly wheezing stops. I'm sure that as I angrily stomp around the house looking for scraps of paper to throw away or empty pop cans to pick up, he secretly wishes I would trip on something and snap a femur, which would leave me unable to perform any stomping for a couple months.
But since I rarely trip, am not a mouth breather, and hitting him with a bag of garbage would never really happen because it would make a huge mess that I would end up cleaning, we continue to have fun together, laugh at each other's jokes (or, in my case, he isn't afraid to let me know how dumb mine was), drink beer together, laugh at other people, raise our kids, drink more beer, take vacations and give each other just enough shit so that the other person knows how much they're loved.
Even though it sounds like an ideal relationship, I started to wonder if maybe there isn't some room for improvement. The old saying -- no marriage is perfect -- well, that little tidbit doesn't sit well with someone that is kind of a perfectionist. So I found a list of marriage tips that seemed pretty reasonable:
Compromise on what constitutes a clean room: There is no way this will ever happen because I fully admit that my expectations are completely unrealistic for a family that wants to function in an environment that's actually fun. None of them are slobs, they all know where the coasters are, they gladly pick up their garbage (after I gently remind them) and the laundry always ends up in a basket. As far as the cleaning goes, though -- like the actual scrubbing/vacuuming/dusting/de-germing/anti-grossificationing/OCD-like categorization of things and getting all the water spots off of the bathroom mirrors -- well, that part is all mine. And really, it's okay. It's our compromise.
Let your spouse in on 90% of your day-to-day routine: Does this mean that Doug really wants to know about the great deal I found on toilet bowl cleaner at Target and that the piano tuner is coming on Tuesday morning, and whoo boy how about the new crew socks that I just picked up for Zach! Those sure are sharp looking! Let's see, I think I'll make chicken for dinner and of course maybe some rice because those things go together really well with the glass of vodka I'm going to pour myself, and I think that... NO! He doesn't want to hear about this! On the other hand, while I would be happy to listen to him vent about a client meeting that went craptastically or the shitty rush hour traffic he had to deal with in order to get home to eat my delicious chicken, most of the time he doesn't want to think about the meeting or the traffic and is content just saying "Fine. Everything is fine." in response to my how was your day dear. And what, exactly, is the 10% of my day that I'm not bothering to share? Oh wait, that's probably the peeing part.
No fisticuffs in public: We know people that never hesitate to bicker and gripe and nitpick and harass each other, in front of us, acting as if their conversation is either A) not actually heard by others; B) impressing us, or; C) more important to the evening than the original point, which was for all of us to have fun. It's annoying. Like, really annoying. Sometimes it's not all bad, though, because since they're so busy being pissed at each other and giving each other shitty looks across the table, they never notice that Doug and I are drinking the whole pitcher of beer, laughing at them and thinking wow, I really like the person that I'm married to.
If you're irritated by your spouse, imagine them as a small child: Seriously. Is this a real tip or did someone write this just so that I would get my ass kicked!? When I am irritated by Doug, he gets to hang out with either A) Silent Jody; B) Stomping, Door Slamming Jody, or; C) a very exasperated Jody that mutters "What the fuck" while stomping and slamming. And I always know when Doug is irritated because he'll look at me with a "you are acting like an insane person and you need to stop so that I can stop wanting to kill you." Now, if I were to imagine Doug as a small child and then treat him accordingly, I would only end up laughing my ass off before offering him a lollipop before he went to time-out. And then he wouldn't just want to kill me, he might actually follow through with it. And I wouldn't blame him.
Procrastinate: Does this mean put things off? Like, don't do them? As in, let the laundry go an extra day, let the grass get a little too long, let the dust accumulate on the shelves, let the clean dishes sit in the dishwasher and let the beds go unmade? Because as far as I'm concerned, not doing these things would make me really cranky and give me anxiety, which would make Doug give me that look of irritation, which would make me say "What the fuck!" before stomping away in search of a dust rag. So what the hell? I thought these stupid tips were supposed to help relationships and make marriages stronger!
In fact, now that I think about it, things are pretty good around here and I don't think we need any marriage tips. Except maybe this one:
Have sex: Umm...okay.