Marriage is a hard thing to portray realistically. Whether in writing, on TV, or in movies, it’s almost always oversimplified or overly dramatic or contains sex scenes where the wife isn’t covered in stubble and the husband has on stain-free underwear with working elastic.
On social media, it’s reduced to sappy platitudes like “Marriage is two imperfect people coming together with love and trying not to kill each other with machetes.” Written, of course, in a ridiculous font over an image of a sunrise. Or a mug of tea. Because apparently everything sounds much deeper when written over a mug of tea.
Which is why in honor of my sixth wedding anniversary today, I’ve decided to share the six very realistic things marriage has taught me so far:
Yeah, he’s a stupid idiot who doesn’t scrap the plates off before sticking them in the dishwasher. But hey, you’re a hot mess who can’t seem to get her life together enough to change the toilet paper roll.
You not only live in a glass house, you live in a glass house TOGETHER. Probably with only one bathroom. Choose your battles wisely.
2. Regarding sex
Oh sure, it can be hard to fit it in (heh, dirty) what with both of your crazy schedules. But remember to make time for it.
Unless you haven’t caught up on the new “X-Files” episodes on Hulu. Watch those first. I mean, priorities, am I right?
3. Regarding hunting and gathering
Every Saturday morning, my husband wrassles our 2-year-old to the ground, hog ties him, throws him over his shoulder and heads to the grocery store. The reason for this is two-fold:
a. To restock our supply of cheese for the week (and other much less important food since an all-cheese diet is frowned upon by science because science doesn’t want us to be happy).
b. To give Momma a much needed hour of alone time.
When I became pregnant again, he added to this weekly ritual and started picking up my favorite donuts on his way home from the store. (Boston Kreme, for those of you playing at home). Every week without fail he does this. He even remembers to pick up my smutty tabloid magazines at the checkout. He’s amazing.
The point of this story? Never pass up an opportunity to talk up your spouse in public. Between the everyday stress and the bickering and the bills and the broken showerhead and the tendency of SOMEONE, not that I’m naming names, to give our toddler ridiculously crumbly cookies on the couch, it’s important to remember you’re in love and on the same team.
4. Regarding gender roles
Contrary to popular belief (and 98 percent of Hollywood movies), wives are not horrible troll creatures with a doctorate in nagging. In fact, all the wives I know are wonderful, competent, unique individuals who smell like coconut shampoo.
So, if you are married to a horrible troll creature who nags you, it’s probably because you are equally horrible and troll-like and refuse to pick up your socks.
5. Regarding reproduction
Speaking of movies, when you’re pregnant, it’s not like how it is in said movies. Your loving spouse will not run out at midnight to get you a cheeseburger, no matter how much you remind them there is a tiny human foot just lounging in-between your ribs. True story:
Last Tuesday, 9:14 p.m.
Me: I really need a cheeseburger.
Ryan: Oh yeah?
Me: Like, REALLY bad. It’s all I want in the world. I mean, all I want in the world besides using all my heart and soul and energy into making this child of yours *heavily bats eyelids*
Ryan: How about I get you one this weekend?
Me: That’s not how this works.
Ryan: Pretty sure that’s how it works in this house.
Ryan: Are you mad? … Honey? … *gets hit in head by violently hurled copy of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”*
6. Regarding the tiny, drunken human you both brought into this world
Parenting is hard. Really hard. And because it’s so hard, you need to remember to go easy on each other. Most humans don’t grow up to be serial killers regardless of how their parents sleep train them (or don’t sleep train them). Not to mention, most humans end up being decent adults regardless of when they first ate sugar. It’s also doubtful there will be any permanent damage from that one day Mommy was super tired and let them watch three episodes of “Sesame Street” in a row.
If the other parent is there every day, trying their best, willing to play/feed/change them and busy calling a priest to perform an exorcism when your child’s face turns dark purple during hour three of the world’s most epic tantrum, then there isn’t much you can fault them for.
More importantly, let us not forget who the real enemy is:
That goddamn awful Curious George.