How To Be Happily Married. Or Maybe Not.

heart-933163_1280If you’re thinking that the headline to this post does not sound very promising, then you are correct:  it is not.  You want to know why?  Because first of all, I have only been married for around 8 years.  What do I know?  Very little, I can promise you.  You would do well not to take marriage advice from someone who once told her mother-in-law, “I think the best we can hope for is that a brain tumor is making him act this way.”

And yet, I am still married, and I would even venture to say happily so, at least a good 70-80 percent of the time.  So I often have people asking me:  how do you do it?

Just kidding.  No one has ever asked me that.  Still, I will tell you, because it’s Valentine’s Day and also because, who knows.  One or two of these tips might inspire you.  Or make you decide to quit reading altogether, not only my writing but the entire internet, in which case you still win, because think of the time saved.

This scenario has never happened in my life.
This scenario has never happened in my life.

So anyway.  Here are –

10 Things I Do To Be Happily Married 70-80 Percent of the Time

  1. Go to bed angry.  Why in God’s name would you ever stay awake just to fight?  That doesn’t even make sense.  You need sleep.  Plus I can guarantee that the more tired you get, the more calamitous everything will seem. Go to bed.  Fight some other time.  And with that in mind –
  2. Sleep in different rooms as often as possible. This does not mean your marriage is going downhill; this means you are smart, like to sleep, and know the meaning of “conjugal visits.”  For more information, see Surely This Is Not What God Intended.
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Bad idea here, unless you love the sound of snoring.
  1. Do not ever “work on your relationship.”  What does that even mean?  I don’t know.  And on that note –
  2. Know that a marriage counselor will not necessarily fix your marriage.  I’m sure that plenty of times they do, or at least help.  But they might also help you to see that you cannot be married to this person for one more minute, which can be just as beneficial, if you ask me, but it’s not what most people are shooting for.  Jim and I have never been to marriage counseling, mainly because I think we are just too lazy.  I guess that is what works for us.
  3. Encourage your children to like foods that your spouse hates. Jim hates Mexican food, and so it looked like my relationship with Taco Bell et al was over for good – at least until my kids reached the age of reason, and realized just HOW GOOD IT IS.  This saved me from a lifetime of longing and resentment, and also keeps me from losing weight, which might lead Jim to suspect I am preparing to leave him.  Which I’m not, and it would be weird if he thought that, but you know.  I’m trying to look at the bright side here.
  4. Ignore problems until they go away. This works so well that I’m surprised more people don’t recommend it.  My husband knows that when he gets an email from me, it is typically because I have reached the point where I can stand some particular issue no longer.  And guess what?  I always do stand it longer, because nothing ever really changes.  I’ve found it so much more effective to pretend the problem doesn’t exist in the first place.  It might seem hard or even impossible at first, but trust me, you’ll get there.
It's simple to feel like lovebirds when you completely disregard anything negative at all times.
It’s simple to feel like lovebirds when you completely disregard anything negative at all times.
  1. If you do accidentally get into an argument, and it becomes clear that your spouse cannot understand your point of view, do not keep trying to explain yourself.  It will never work.  Instead, in your head, you should just say, “Oh, fuck him.”  Or her, I guess, but I’m sticking with “him” based on my own experience regarding which gender tends to understand things and which one doesn’t.  Dear Jim, no offense, I know that for you it is less a lack of understanding and more a lack of hearing me speak in the first place.  Hence the emails.  I love you.
  2. Ignore your spouse’s faults. First of all, because they are really only “faults” in your eyes; faults, by definition, are subjective.  Jim might feel like I “leave the refrigerator open” too often or “don’t wash my car” nearly often enough, but who knows, someone else might find those things charming.  Either way, his focusing on those things has not managed to change them yet, and you might notice that I am speaking here of my own faults and not Jim’s.  That is because Jim has no faults.  See how I did that?
  3. When your spouse complains about your faults (“God, would it kill you to just drive through a car wash,” etc.), cheerfully acknowledge their position (“You’re right, sweetheart!  It totally would not kill me!”) and keep moving.  If you were not moving in the first place, like say you were just sitting there reading a book and minding your own business, then get up and start moving.  The criticism is an invitation to an argument which you are not obligated to attend.  Go check to see if the refrigerator door is closed, instead.
  4. Do not make fun of your spouse, either in person or on the internet, when they wonder aloud whether it’s legal to shoot a sasquatch. This stands even if they follow it up by saying, “I mean, because they are considered half human, right?”  Wait, did I just screw up and break my own rule?  Maybe I did.  Maybe I didn’t.  I will leave it for me and Jim to know and everyone else to assume to be true.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and love to you all.

P.S., you may have noticed that the numbering in this post went haywire.  I couldn’t fix it.  Add “bad at bullets and numbering” to the list of faults Jim should ignore.

I don't even understand what this is supposed to be.
I don’t even understand what this is supposed to be.

 

She Looks Good For Her Age

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“Well, maybe you should quit coloring it, then.”

This is what my husband Jim said to me not long ago, in response to my own announcement that “I don’t have enough hair for that.”  I don’t remember what “that” was and it doesn’t matter anyway.  The point is that he was trying to be helpful by suggesting that a noxious chemical bath every 2-3 months might not be the thing for thinning hair.  He was also indirectly saying, “I will love you even if your hair is the color of a pile of dead kindling.”  Which was nice.  It really was.

Here is something else Jim said to me recently:  “Christie Brinkley looks good for her age!”

So.  Right.

This statement tells me so many things, not the least of which being that Jim clearly does not understand how hair color works.  Or aging.

Especially aging.

She looks pretty good for 75!
She looks pretty good for 75!

I’m fine with getting older, I really am, especially given that my only other choice is to be dead.  It’s so weird to me that people complain about aging; I mean, it seems so ungrateful.  Doesn’t it?  Look at Betty White; she never complains.  She is 94 years old and never quits smiling, as far as I can tell, which is why one of my fondest wishes is to age just like Betty White.  I’m not really a natural smiler, but I don’t think that will be a problem because I’m pretty sure one can radiate enthusiasm and good cheer without making awkward faces all day long.  Just ask my husband, he’s always remarking on how I am the cheeriest and happiest person he knows.  Just kidding.  He’s never said that.  Quite honestly he’s probably never thought it, either.  I’m the thinker in our marriage, he’s more of the eye-roller, but I can understand that.  Because sometimes even I have a hard time caring about what I am saying.

That's my idol on the left.
That’s my idol on the left.

Anyway.  One of the things that keeps me happy as I get older is the knowledge that even though Amy Poehler is a few months younger than me, both Tina Fey and Melissa McCarthy are older.  Also Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston.  Of course, as the years go by I will undoubtedly grow to look older than all of them, because that’s the way it goes when you’re not famous.  Also because, I don’t know, I’m kind of nervous about plastic surgery.  Not that I’ll never try it, but I’m very hesitant – first of all, because people have died during plastic surgery, but just as importantly because, what if it turns out bad?  Or even if it turns out okay, what if you hate the result for complicated and unforeseen reasons of your own?

Me and my squad.
Me and my squad.

Plus, Jim is pretty much against artificiality all around.  He says he wants us to “grow old together,” and by that I know he means “look old together.”  Leading me to another thing he doesn’t understand, which is that a man almost never looks good “for his age.”  You ever hear anyone say that about Tom Selleck?  No.  He just looks good, and I know it, because I’ve said it myself.  Jon Bon Jovi “looks good,” too.  Some people say Tom Cruise looks good, and there I do not agree, because in order to “look good” I think you have to actually “be human.”  And it’s pretty clear that Tom Cruise is not a real person at all but instead some type of L. Ron Hubbard science fair project.  Like Frankenstein’s monster but with better hair and skin tone.

An early prototype.
An early prototype.

So, fine – Jim and I will grow old together and look old together.  And I’m cool with that, I really am, because like I said, I’m going the Betty White route.  So, no, you will not find me posing on a sailboat in a bikini when I’m 60, or even when I’m 50.  Probably not when I’m 45 either.  You will never find me with luxurious golden hair extensions, because I am afraid that similar to acrylic fingernails, they would ruin the hair that I do have.  If I’m really lucky, you will find me at age 94, snuggling up with my great-grandchildren and leaving bright pink lipstick marks on their little faces.  I will have countless untold things to laugh about.  And I’ll still be getting my hair colored every 2-3 months, and probably “set” once a week.  Or who knows, maybe I’ll just say oh, whatever, and start wearing a wig, which is fine too.  Because if you ask me, there’s more than one way to look good for your age.