Ten years ago I said “I Do” and started a new life with the best wife in the entire world. It seems to have gone by so fast as we’ve added kids and dogs, begun careers, and bought houses and cars together. My wife and I enjoyed it recently when a student from church asked us to fill out a marriage questionnaire for his high school class. We laughed at our warped sense of humor about marriage and felt sorry for the student when we were done, wondering if his teacher would wonder if he even interviewed a real couple. So for all my young married friends and those who look to get married, I thought I’d jot down a few of my not so profound lessons that have permitted my wife to tolerate me for this long.
1. Marriage counseling won’t prepare you for any of this. It basically tells you how to survive the first 6 months so you can share a bathroom and tolerate each others cooking.
2. Don’t settle. Meaning, don’t let yourself go. If your wedding means enough to you to work out 6 days a week like we did before hand, you owe it to each other not to settle into a life of matching badonkadonk butts.
3. If you don’t like it, do it yourself. If her food is bad, cook yourself. If you don’t like how the clothes are folded, do it yourself. If you want your spouse to lose weight, get off your butt and exercise.
4. There are no gender roles. Whoever said men can’t iron and women can’t manage finances apparently never thought how they’d get clean clothes or food if their was killed in a meatloaf accident.
5. Be honest. My wife and I have an honesty rule. Don’t ask the question if you don’t want the honest answer. If you want someone who just agrees with you on everything marry a parrot.
6. Be who you are, be an individual. You met and fell in love with an individual, let that individual continue to exist. If you didn’t know you married a comic book reading gamer before the wedding, you have bigger issues to worry about.
7. Inspire each other. After marriage there’s only one person who matters. Live like you want to be an inspiration to them and you’d be amazed at what happens.
8. Don’t fight angry. Argue and disagree all you want, but it’s better to walk away and think rather than lashing out and saying hurtful things you don’t mean.
9. Ask for time. If the boss, kids, PTA, and dog can all ask for time and get it so can you. Besides, you were there before any of them.
10. There’s no way out of this. Technically there is, but if you live your marriage with even the faintest recognition of an out clause you’re in trouble. Treat your marriage like a tattoo. You volunteered for it, had a really good reason for it when you started, and even though it may not look like what it did in the beginning you can still make it work and there’s fond memories that go with it.