Five Marriage Myths Debunked

Right now – at this very moment – there is a bridal shower going on in the neighbor’s backyard.  Besides the obvious annoyance of the fact that the street is completely overrun by cars and SUVs parked in front of people’s driveways (rude, much?), the party has grown to be so loud that I would leave the house … if only the driveway were not blocked by a very large, yellow Hummer.

The worst part of this party is that the woman hosting it has got to have the loudest voice in all of California.  Whether I am inside or outside; on one side of the house or the other, I can hear her loud, blathering words like a series of ice picks piercing through my head.  And it isn’t just her annoying chatter that is on this misanthrope’s nerves this fine, Saturday afternoon; it’s the content of it as well.  Every few minutes I can hear her belting out more “you know they say”s… about all the reasons that marriage is the next best thing to chocolate pudding.

Now if I were truly antisocial, and intent on ruining the bridal shower altogether, I would march out into the back yard right now and belt right back all the reasons this woman’s “you know they say”s… are nothing more than myths.  It isn’t that I’m against marriage, I’m just against misinformation.  We’ve talked about this before – about people that go into marriage in essence ruin it as a result of having an unrealistic idea of what it was going to be like.  Here is what I would have screamed:

#1 “Listen here, loud mouth!  Being married does not always guarantee you never have to find a date again!”  Actually, it’s quite the contrary.  Since I have gotten married, I have probably gone to more things as a “party of one” than with my husband.  And oftentimes, I feel as if I have to go that way, rather than taking a willing guy friend, simply to dodge the gossip that would inherently follow over my being seen with another man in public.  The fact of the matter is that, while your marriage and lives together are numero uno, dos, and treis, on the sequence of priorities, sometimes your spouse has to work.  My personal goal for the rest of the year?  Get over the concern of what others think if I show up with a guy friend by my side instead of my husband.  The truth is that some things are detestable if you don’t have someone there to scoff at it with you.

#2 “And while I’m at it, mouth-o:  the bride-to-be’s husband will very likely not always be her source of absolute truth.”  I realized that my husband would rather tell a lie than suffer my wrath about a year ago when I asked him if he had left my freshly baked brownies uncovered all night.  He claimed he had not and that he had just uncovered them to throw some in his lunch, although as soon as he walked away to take his shower I looked and there were no brownies in the lunch bag.  The truth to the matter is that a lot of men would rather tell a white lie to avoid confrontation (the path of least resistance) than just fess up to the truth.  Top piece of proof we have this is true?  The lady blathering that ridiculous myth about husbands always being honest clearly doesn’t have an honest husband, for if she did she would know her tone is obnoxious.

“#3 is just plain stupid!  You no longer have to worry about making a full load of laundry?”  At this point I asked to myself – “where does this woman get this crap?”  I don’t know about any of you, faithful blog followers, but as a woman I have absolutely no problem putting together a full load of laundry.  Between my husband and myself, we have more clothing than any two people should probably ever have.  Laundry (dirty or clean) is no issue for us, except where to put it all.

#4 “Ma’am, if you would shut your loud yap for a few minutes, I could explain to you exactly how your spouse does not always understand how weird your relatives are!”  My husband and I both have pretty eccentric families, or at least eccentric pockets within the family at large.  And no matter what either of us does to try and understand the weirdness, we don’t.  Family events are always a shocker to the both of us.

#5 “And for the love of God, loud neighbor I never knew could be so loud:  marriage does not mean your spouse no longer cares about how you look!”  This is the worst thing anyone could believe:  that once they get married, they are with someone who doesn’t care how you look anymore.  It’s true that we marry people who should love us for our selves, rather than our looks, but that doesn’t actually mean your spouse thinks you look wonderful no matter how you look.  On occasion, my husband lets his hair grow out, but not only does he grow it longer, he just lets it go completely.  It’s disgusting – there are tufts of hair everywhere and he looks unkempt and sloppy.  Sure, I still love my husband; but I do care if he lets himself go like that.  And while we should all feel beautiful even in our sweatpants, we should also take pride in doing things for ourselves – like getting a new haircut, making our nails look nice, and dressing up once in a great while.

Good luck to the bride and groom, especially in the event that they believe my loud neighbor’s promises!

 

A Miserable Marriage

Today on Facebook, one of my friends posted a question “what is the key to a successful marriage?”  People were posting all manner of things:  honesty, communication, devotion, sex, similar interests … all of them relevant, timely remarks that logically seem to help in making a successful marriage.  But something about it didn’t really seem to hit right on the mark for me.

My comment was a little off the beaten path of the rest of the comments (big surprise, I know..).  Nonetheless, I think mine was the most accurate, which was:  reconcile yourself to misery.

This idea came to me after I thought about a popular quote about marriage:  “I can’t have what I want and be happy; you can’t have what you want and be happy; let’s compromise on misery.”  This is intended on being funny; that in a marriage neither person can have exactly the way they want things to be; each has to give a little to get a little.  The idea isn’t that we are actually going to settle on being miserable because we both can’t have exactly what we want, though.  In reality it just pokes fun at the idea that anything other than the exact way we want things to be is absolute misery.  The truth is it’s not.  Not having exactly what you want isn’t misery, it’s just not exactly what you want.  The beauty in compromise is that it is not a complete annihilation of one side in favor of the other, but rather a synthesis of the two in which there is an element of each side’s happiness present.  In reality, a compromise can be seen as the happiest of all possibilities, for it is the best of both worlds.

I think this reflects a current problem we seem to have found ourselves in, which is that we seem to think that we are going to find a life-partner that is exactly the same as we are, thus there will never even be a need to compromise.  We think that there even can be a person exactly like us out there, and that when we marry them everything will be pie in the sky and ear-to-ear smiles.  I can’t even count the number of couples I know that seem to think they will always agree on everything, and that if they don’t that may as well be the end of their civil or religious union.  This seems to be a wholly naive and childish way of viewing the world:  that there are two people who actually are so alike they will never disagree and need to find a middle-ground on which to compromise is (in reality) just plain stupid.

So what is the key to a successful marriage, you ask?  Why, it’s reconciling yourself to misery!  In other words, it is going in to a marriage realistic about the fact that no matter how compatible eHarmony said you were; no matter how much you seemed to have in common on those initial dates – there is going to come a time that you and your life-partner do not agree on something (and believe you me, it will be a big something).  Recognize that now, because it will happen.  No matter what you do; no matter how you try to avoid it – it will happen.  One day down the line, you will be asked to compromise (in most cases, many days and countless times down the line).  The key to a successful marriage is knowing that one day the need to give a little to get a little will be upon you.  Denying this is a way to make your marriage fail, because you will be destined to think that there is no way to reconcile something that you thought was supposed to be perfect.  In reality, nothing is perfect – marriage included.  Reconcile yourself to the compromise on misery, which really won’t be miserable if you just give it a try.