If 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.
So anyway. Here are –
10 Things I Do To Be Happily Married 70-80 Percent of the Time
- 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 –
- 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.
- Do not ever “work on your relationship.” What does that even mean? I don’t know. And on that note –
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.