As a person of advanced years, one might think I have valuable advice to offer on any number of topics. One would be wrong. There are few subjects of which I feel I have the expertise to offer up with certainty and a whiff of condescension, but, as a rule, since no one listens, I just wake up in the middle of the night and go over the details while begging myself to go back to sleep.
Don’t get me wrong, with little to no encouragement, I will offer my opinion, but I’ve grown to know that, although my opinions are almost always correct, they are seldom recognized as the rule of law; it has been a hard truth to accept, but we all have all cross to bear.
There is one area, however, by virtue of my thirty-four years in the trenches, that I feel I can offer a few words of wisdom, keeping in mind that, because it’s aimed at people younger than me, it will be completely ignored.
The following is my six point guide to a perfect marriage. Follow it to the letter and every day with your significant other will be better than the last, especially if you spent yesterday with your in-laws. (Just kidding in-laws.)
Rule One: Don’t get married.
Marriage is a lot of things, many of them not awful, but marriage is not a magical wand and it will never make a relationship improve. If your fiance is surly, squirrely or a goat herder by trade, he will, most likely, remain so after the wedding you’ve planned all your life and fear will never take place if you don’t settle for sharing your kitchen wt a herd of goats or maybe sheep, either way, it’s just not sanitary. Remember, it’s better to be alone than to wish you were or so I’ve been told by people who aren’t alone.
Rule Two: Always go to bed angry.
So you’ve been fighting, or not speaking, whichever annoys your partner the most for hours and now you’re tired and long for sleep. Your mother told you to avoid going to bed angry and you’ve heeded this advice so I have no sympathy for you. Now listen to your Aunt Jamie; go to bed, sleep, live to fight another day. What is worse than being just this side of coming up with an alibi for the last night your spouse was seen alive and then growing delusional with lack of sleep? Sleepy anger is the cause of more near misses than any other phenomenon. (It’s hard to precise while aiming a deadly object, bleary-eyed with exhaustion.)
Rule Three: Your Spouse is as annoyed as you are.
This is related to rule two and should be considered a cautionary tale. Say your birthday has arrived and your spouse either completely forgot or presented a gift which illuminates his preference for watching football when reputable stores are open. Now further suppose he goes out the next day, to a store, while football is on and returns with a super deluxe wood chipper for himself.
You’re angry and then you’re hurt and you cry and then you’re angry once more and you lie awake at night wondering if anyone would think he accidentally fell into said chipper and thereby relieve the inevitable suspicion the officers of the law might have when pieces of your beloved are found in your garden mulch.
I promise you, your significant other has spent as many nights plotting your demise for some slight you innocently and without malice perpetrated. Every marriage is going to run the gamut from devoted love to murderous rage; if you’re lucky it ebbs and flows through out the years on both shores. If the ebbs outnumber the flows consider not killing your spouse. There are a number of other options, including holding a grudge.
Rule Four: Never do anything because your parents did it.
Marriage is personal. If you and your spouse agree that party hats should be worn during love making or that neither of you mind buying new dishes every week rather then washing them by hand, do that. I don’t care what they do on TV and I don’t care if your neighbor who watches you from between the slats of the blinds thinks you’re weird (and who’s he to talk?) make your own rules and get better curtains.
Rule Five: Do not have children with your spouse or anyone else unless, two decades from now, you are prepared to come face to face with a person who looks, thinks, talks and walks exactly like the person with whom you decided to throw caution and articles of clothing to the wind on a random night when there was nothing on TV.
Ask yourself, do I like this person well enough to accept his DNA to create a mini-him which I will be required to love with all of my heart and soul despite the sneer of my darling child’s face that screams “Perhaps I should have built a baby with the goat herder?” If not, don’t procreate. You’ll thank me years later unless your lack of children develops into a lack of grandchildren which we all know is fatal.
Rule Six: Don’t take advice from anyone unless you agree with them somewhere inside of you. When I was engaged I was taken aside by members of my church warning that my future husband would not let me go to church. My dad told me Italian guys go bald and get fat and beat their wives. My mom told my husband to make sure he cooked chicken thoroughly. My mom was right, (who’d have thought.)
I think that pretty much covers things. I have some advice on child rearing which you can also ignore if the mood strikes you, but for now; go to bed.