Tomorrow is my anniversary.
Eleven years of marital bliss will be celebrated on a baseball field, at a soccer game, and then, most likely, at the pool with our Dudes, the very best product of this union of ours.
So, to commemorate this yearly event, I’m going to skip DudeMom Weekly and bring you a wonderful post about marriage and happiness and commitment and Russian brides.
Why Russian brides? Because apparently, over 22,000 people search that term every month via Google. Few people care about marriage advice, or how to be happily married, or the keys to a successful, healthy relationship. If they did they probably wouldn’t need a Russian bride.
I didn’t even know that was still a thing.
How to Have a Happy Marriage (even if you don’t have a Russian Bride)
Do expect your spouse to change. Nothing stays the same. Nothing. And, when you marry someone, everything you love about them isn’t always going to just be. Some things will improve (my brain, for example, I’m way smarter now than I was 11 years ago), and some things will get markedly worse (my waistline, where even is it). It’s what you signed up for even if you didn’t exactly realize that when you signed up.
Do accept that most attempts to change your spouse will be futile. You have to do that BEFORE you get married. Once he’s got you down the aisle, no way are you getting him out of those lame boat shoes he’s had since Karate Kid 1 came out. If you find yourself set to wed and you still have work to do on your mate, reschedule that crap immediately consider that it is now time to truly accept the person you say you love for who they are. And, if you can’t do that, roll. You can’t change the fabric of a human. And, why would you want to anyway? So much work.
Do be understanding. For me this means changing my expectations. Yes, you should have them, but you should also remember that if you do, he probably does too. And, if you’re mad because he’s not meeting yours, probably he feels similarly. Because, if you have a good excuse why you’re not able to cook dinner, clean the house, manage the check book, lose weight quickly, and look like Sophia Vergara when he comes home from work, then he maybe has a couple of decent reasons why he’s not able to do all that crap you want him doing right now too.
Do learn to communicate. Throwing your phone at his head in a mad rage is NOT communicating. It is psychotic. And really 2002 Paris Hilton-ish. You’re not Paris Hilton, then or now. You’re, in theory, a grown up human with poise and class and the ability to string sentences together intelligently to make a point. I tend to think of marriage, at least when it comes to communicating, like a professional relationship. I wouldn’t scream at my boss or my business partner, or throw a phone at her face even on the days I really, really, would just love to because she deserves it, so I try to give the same professional courtesy to my life partner.
Do not sweep stuff under the rug. You know how sometimes, you’ll go to clean the playroom, and you’ll roll up the throw rug, and under it you will find a cheese stick that looks like it has been there sine World War II? (What? I can’t be the only person.) Anyway, that is what “stuff” is like when you don’t hash it out, reasonably, with your spouse. When you let the fact that his mom dropped by the past two weekends unannounced and you had to drop everything and cook dinner for her while listening to her critique your everything fester, it turns into that WWII cheese and you start to hate it and him and her and everything. You don’t want musty, stinky old cheese between you and your spouse.
Do make time for each other. And time does not include what you’re doing when you’re hustling the kids here, there, and everywhere, only meeting to scream instructions at one another over a fast food dinner before dashing about to the play and the recital and the science fair. Sure, time can include kids, because sometimes it just has to, but it should be the kind of kid friendly time where the two of you might actually be able to make eye contact and exchange words for more than 14 seconds without someone screaming-yelling-climbing-clawing-wanting-needing every single thing.
Do wear pretty things. I know, he loves you anyway, but jeez, it’s Friday, come up out of those yoga pants you’ve been wearing all week for like an hour tonight and you might just get lucky. And, by lucky I mean he will bathe the kids, put them to bed, and make you a milkshake while you watch the finale of Scandal you’ve had recorded since April.
Do remember the awesome power of surprise. It gets harder the longer you stay with someone, the more you start to look alike and function with just one brain between you. But, it keeps things fresh and fun and interesting and meaningful. All things you want a marriage to be if you’re going to be in it until you croak.
Do make your marriage about more than just your kids. They will be gone soon, living their own lives with other people (noooooooooooooooooooooo), holy crap, then what?
Do love yourself. It makes you beautiful and confident and really easy to love back. Your spouse will appreciate that and, if he doesn’t… That’s a whole other post.