Tag Archives: choose your battles

6 Things I Learned in 6 Years of Marriage

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:

1.Regarding compromise

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

Have it.

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.

Me: …

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.

Top 10 Most Useless Marriage Advice

10. Choose your battles.

In the end, the battles don’t matter. What matters is who wins the major wars. Let them take satisfaction in winning the “Battle of Who Does the Wednesday Chili Night Dishes.” You’ll have the last laugh when you win the “Let’s Retire in New Zealand” War.

9. If all else fails, get naked. You’ll forget what you’re fighting about.

I guarantee this works for Tom Brady and Giselle Bskdfjslkflsk or Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr. I’d bang any of them no matter what the hell we were fighting about if they dropped trou. But when you have a normal human body, complete with hair stubble, pimples in weird places, wobbly bits and PMS bloat, getting naked is just likely to make your partner go “What the hell are you doing? Good God, woman, we have neighbors. Put your sweatpants back on.”

8. Always be honest with each other.

I’ll grant you that being honest 85 percent of the time is healthy for your relationship. The other 15 percent should be made up of little white lies like “No, five glasses of wine is definitely not too much,” and “No, those definitely don’t qualify as man boobs” and “Yes, I’d LOVE for you to tell me all about how the “Avengers” movie differs from the comic book series.”

7. Never stop dating.

Dating sucks. That’s why you got married. So you wouldn’t have to shave, wax, bleach, bronze, dye, pluck and paint all so you can go to a crappy restaurant where the waiters wear flair on their vests. Sure, set aside special times to spend with your spouse. But don’t feel you have to, like, put on a bra or anything.

6. Put your spouse on a pedestal.

This one is just simply impossible. Especially if you share a bathroom.

5. Always say “I love you.”

Show, don’t tell. “Oh, you love me? That’s super great, hon. But if you really did, you’d pull all the dental floss the dog ate last night out of his butt.”

4. Really listen to what your partner is saying.

This is good advice unless it’s the 12th time they’ve come home from work bitching about Sharon again. Then you can just pretend to listen while you’re actually thinking about what your next tweet will be or why wasn’t it you who first came up with that ingenious Feminist Ryan Gosling meme. Because honestly all they need to do at this point is vent and if you can already list Sharon’s Top 10 Most Idiotic Statements for the Month of June, you can just pretty much zone out.

3. Never argue about money.

Are you kidding me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? If you didn’t argue about money, chances are high all your worldly possessions would consist of a 200-inch flat screen and 800 pairs of high heels. Of course you can argue about money. Just do it smartly. And learn to compromise. Like purchasing a 72-inch flat screen and only 400 pairs of shoes instead.

2. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Unless the small stuff is his FREAKING socks that he left ALL OVER the house AGAIN because he gets a weird, perverted THRILL out of taking off his socks in EVERY GODDAMN ROOM IN THE HOUSE AND LEAVING THEM THERE UNTIL THEY DECOMPOSE OF THEIR OWN ACCORD!!!

1. Never go to bed angry.

This only works if you started fighting at 8 a.m. Sometimes you just need to go to freaking bed. Regain your strength. Obsessively go over and over ways to poke holes into their stupid argument about how the time travel in the Terminator series could totally work until you fall asleep. And then wake up, refreshed, and armed with an arsenal of new insults that emerged from your subconscious the night before.