I can't say marriage is "what I thought it would be" because I didn't go into it thinking "it will be this and that and beer and skittles." No, I distinctly said something to the effect of, "I will see what happens, and try and work it towards the common good." I had never been married before, but I had seen many times what DIDN'T work, and so I decided to use that, and find something that did. The first few years had some bounces and we matured, but with all our troubles, all we had was each other, so we grew together. I have respected Christine as an equal partner. I do not judge her mistakes, nor do I think she's vindictive or neglectful. Maybe I'm just lucky.
The biggest "anti-models" were my own parents of course. My father was pretty mean and distant, and my mother was living in Fantasy Land that everything would be okay if we'd just appreciate what we still had. Some of my friends had it even worse. I have always wondered if a divorce would have been good for me, if I didn't know then what I knew now. Some of my friends didn't have to wonder. I had a friend who had a Jewish mother and a Catholic father, both freshly divorced, and neither wanted to be a parent anymore, but demanded that their religion be the "guiding factor in Junior's life." Some of my friends had several step-dads, even in addition to their biological dad, whom they may or may not have ever met. I once stayed overnight at a house where the father, a retired army man, treated everyone in his family like "recruits," down to inspection and morning Revile. Many had homes where a single, working mom, left them notes with cash on the fridge.
We've had a few surprises. Most I won't go into here, but I think the biggest one for me was that she actually stayed. I am not the best person in the world to get along with sometimes. I am naive, somewhat dimwitted when it comes to understanding people, I don't clean the house as frequently as I should, I am not as good a cook as she is, I have weird allergies, I have a lot of childhood baggage, I am not particularly usefully talented, nor a good strong manly-man, and I have oddball friends, and tend to be too logical at the wrong moments. Most women would have left me, and I knew that then, and know that now. But she stayed, and doesn't even complain about it.
She loves me, and I mean, truly loves me. That makes me feel so good, I couldn't even tell you.
Would I do it again? Hell yes! Of course, I have mixed feeling about "if I knew then what I know now," because sometimes, being dumb and making mistakes at the right moments can have its advantages.
I always have advice for people thinking about getting married. I have no idea if it's useful, but a lot of it was passed on to me, so I feel I should pass it on to you. Sorry it's kind of random.
- Take the top ten annoying things about your future spouse, and magnify it ten times. Imagine you have to spend the rest of your life with it. If that's still okay (and you aren't stubbornly in denial to prove something to someone else), you'll be okay.
- Imagine if your future mate became grossly disfigured and disabled. Would you stay with them? The answer should be, "Well, DUH!" or something close to that, with no pauses.
- Stop all games. You both need to say how you feel, without using the other's care for you as a tool of manipulation. Games like "Guess why I am mad?" and "If I do this, you'll think that" are totally useless and childish. Same with revenge games. Leave patronization and sarcasm for the snobs, who need them to bolster up their shields to disguise the fact they don't know as much as they think others should.
- Marry someone for what they really are, not what they look like or how you'll "mold them." That guy who cheats on you while dating WILL cheat on you when he gets married, too. The girl who looks like a model now will not after she carries your child, ages, and gets the flu. Wants to be babied? Will always wanted to be babied. And unless they have an Oedipus complex, in a few years, they will be cheating on you because you replaced the mommy figure, and now they'll want to wander for a new sex toy.
- Understand equality is not a 50/50 on everything. Some of you will be good at some things, while the spouse may be better at others. You should complement each other's talents. If you spend you life balancing out who last walked the dog, you're in a contract, not a partnership, and contracts are a lot easier to break.
- Let your spouse have their own social life in addition to sharing. This is how new thoughts, ideas, and conversation enter into the relationship. You don't have to spend 100% of the time with each other, or you will get sick of each other.
- Show interest and foster new talents and crafts in your spouse. Same reasons as above.
- Catch them doing something right more that something wrong.
- Keep in mind those that write self-help books and articles are often divorced and have no idea what goes on in YOUR specific home. I don't care of they have a Ph.D. in General Cleverness, throw the book away and use common sense!
- Stop reading this and go make out with your loved one!
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000304.html