Everybody is full of advice for other people to apply to their relationships simply because people as a rule are nosy busy-bodies who would rather speculate about the dirty underwear of others than mind their own damned business. The entire E! Network proves this. I’m just a regular gal, so I’m totally getting in on this relationship advice crap while the mood strikes me. Besides, writing about this allows me to use bullet points and bullet points rule.
So without further ado:
Five Tips to Not Fuck Up Your Marriage
By Me (yay)
- Have two vehicles. One for the family, one for the commuting: Total no brainer, right? You’d think in this day and age that this would be true, but I’ve met many couples with only one vehicle, or worse, two vehicles with two payments. If somebody stays home with the kids, there automatically needs to be what my husband and I call a “troop transport”. We’re in a Ford Explorer now, but since the family is already five people and we aren’t done yet, we’re on the look out for a Suburban style vehicle to grow with us.
It’s also vital that any new vehicle we get has no payment. Because finances. Seriously, it’s stupid to pay for full insurance on two cars with payments and never ever have any money to have fun with your spouse without charging your credit cards.
In the same train of thought, if I can’t get a bigger truck now, I’ll keep the one I currently have and we’ll buy for cash a beater for Daddy to drive back and forth to work. I’ve seen so many couples get divorced (yes, literally) over something as stupid as the commuter won’t drive a POS as if a car with a payment and low gas mileage is somehow integral to their personhood. Don’t be a dick. Drive a VW rabbit and give your stay at home spouse the nice car. Seriously.
If you both work, I honestly think the smart route is to have two beaters paid for in cash for the daily driving while y’all save up for a troop transport of your own. As to who gets to drive the new shiny once you can afford it, the one hauling them kids the most and/or the one driving smaller distances each day.
If a couple can get on the same page about who drives what, lots of fights about who does more/who sacrifices more go right out the window. Approach cars like the tools they are and you’ll have a happier marriage.
- Wives: Be humble, aka, submissive to your husbands: OhmyGawdBecky, I really did just say that.
Now, before y’all go all free bleedy on me, you need to understand that I am a feminist and I don’t do this perverted understanding of submission we see so often in the world today. What I am talking about is humility, especially in arguments, when dealing with your hubby.
I’m sure he’s an overgrown man-child. My husband just turned 38 and there are still days where I’ve got a horny, sulky, angry, pissy, selfish, 15-year-old douche bag laying on my couch complaining about how hard his life is. And when he’s like that, every request I make is met with huffy sullness and bitter resentment about how unfair it is I want him to wash his hands before dinner, or, God forbid, play with his kids. I GET IT.
But here’s the deal: this guy is my life-mate. I love and respect him because when he isn’t being a dick, he’s fucking badass enough to hang with me until I’m a cooky old granny. My husband rocks. And when he’s totally not rocking, I need to remember to be his good example, his rock to lean on, and his firm advocate for the truth.
When Ironhonkey is in a funk, getting all drippy and generally pissing me off, the one thing that promises to make everything worse is when I get disgusted with him and start bitching about his shitty ass attitude. I do that, and we’re gonna fight for hours, if not days. The claws all come out, the rules all go out the window, and we start going after each other so hard that I want him to get a girlfriend and leave me alone. So bitching totes doesn’t work, m’kay?
What does work to make it better is when I am willing to concede to the reality of my faults without backing down from the truth of the situation. For example, I have this horrible habit of telling him why he’s in a bad mood instead of telling him I see his bad mood. When I do that, I take away his right to his own thoughts and motivations. Just because I’m perceptive and I see something, doesn’t mean what I think the problem is is any more than a shot in the dark. When I am willing to admit that maybe I am wrong about why he’s being a sulky teen, and I don’t already know even if I know that his behaviors mean there’s a problem, he’s more receptive to talking to me about his actual feelings. Doing that requires humility, and humility is at its root submission to a reality greater than ourselves. So, I think when we’re all told to be submissive to our husbands, what is meant is that we submit to the greater reality of him being an independent human being and not just an extension of our own selves.
- Husbands: Sacrifice for your wives: This one is hard because the modern world is so hateful towards men. So bros, please keep in mind that I think y’all are awesome as I write this, m’kay?
When a man gets married, he is supposed to separate from his family and cleave to his wife. Meaning, y’all are one living breathing symbiotic unit working to accomplish everything together. There’s no division of labor, there’s no special rules, there’s no double standards. Successful marriages are not built on quid pro quo any more than they are built on your Momma’s apron strings (that’s a whole other post right there, y’all). If you as men allow yourself to feel jipped because you’re giving, and giving, and giving for your wife and kids and not getting appreciated in return, you’re totally seeing what marriage is wrong.
Your job is to give up anything and everything to become the guardian, protector and provider of your family. Your reward for that is happy well adjusted kids, and a happy well adjusted wife who is so intimately joined to you that you cannot breathe without her. Not a bass boat. Not a big truck. Not the TV remote. Not the big piece of chicken. Your reward is watching those you’ve sworn yourself to flourishing in the safety and security that your clawed out of this evil, wicked world with your bare hands. That’s it.
This doesn’t mean bass boats, big trucks and blowjobs are out of the picture, they aren’t. It just means that they are not your entitlement, or your reward, for being the man your signed up to be. K?
- If your kids don’t fail now, they will never move out of your basement later: This one is pretty simple. Don’t hover. Don’t save them from themselves. Don’t shelter them. Your job is to give your kids roots and wings (so says the craft pillows on Pinterest) and you don’t do that with constant pruning. You also don’t do it with constant fighting with your spouse over proper parenting. Trust me, you are gonna disagree, even in front of the kids, but you’ll be best off if you work it out together. This is easier to do if you both keep your eyes on the kind of people you want your children to be and talk about it frequently. Nobody says, “I want my daughter to be a crack addled junkie when she grows up”, and discussing the characteristics and values you want to instill in your children with your spouse goes a long way to avoiding that outcome. Talk to each other, talk to your kids. Be willing to see your own parenting mistakes, admit them, apologise and fix them to each other and your children. Kids don’t need perfection, they need connection. Be flawed but determined to be better and they will be too.
- If you have time to sit around watching The Bachelor, you have too much time on your hands: the old saying is that familiarity breeds contempt, and it’s true. Free time is also a bitch because it breeds envy and resentment. We sit around and compare ourselves to celebrities, friends, strangers, our spouses, and we pick the differences apart until everything feels futile and we want a divorce. Obviously, that’s a problem.
There is enough time in the day to have the relationships we want, the bodies we want, the homes we want, the skills we want. We just have to trade out our Netflix binges for gym time or night classes. If you want something, you will make time for it, no matter what. So, you two need to figure out what you want individually and as a couple, and then build each other to meet those goals. Believe me, when you two are busy trying to help each other be better people, you will lose the time and the inclination to tear each other down.
So there you go. My five tips for martial bliss. Y’all should listen to me, because I’ve somehow managed to stay married to one badass S.O.B. for the last eight years and have three awesome minions of darkness with him. You might say….