Yesterday was my anniversary. Coincidentally, it was my wife’s anniversary as well. Ha ha, I’m so funny.
We’ve been married 8 years now, and ever since we said “I do”, I’ve learned a lot about marriage. I’m not saying I’m an expert or anything, but we’ve made it to the median duration of marriage in the United States (according to the Census Bureau), so that’s something.
Anyway, here’s what I’ve learned.
- Marriage takes time. I didn’t realize how much time I was going to spend with my wife. I mean, sure, I knew we were going to live together, but when we aren’t working, we spend almost all of the rest of our time together too. And the thing that surprised me is that I love it. I mean, going from using all of your single-person time however you choose to being a married person who needs to consider another person’s time-related needs is an adjustment, but it is one that is totally worth it.
- Let the person who handles money best do the checkbook. Some people see the finances as the man’s job, but that’s a load of excrement. My wife is way better at saving money and paying bills on time than me.
- Decisions are made best when made together. Even the small decisions, like which toppings to get on the pizza, are best made when everyone’s input is involved. When everyone has a say, everyone feels equally important.
- Always build each other up. Whether we are with other people or not, my wife makes a point to always build me up. She never tears me down, never bad mouths me to anyone else, whether I deserve it or not. I can’t tell you how loved that makes me feel.
- When I don’t know what to say, it is probably best to say nothing and just listen. Our first year of marriage, my wife had a boss who made her feel worthless. And for the longest time, whenever she would tell me about her day, I would tell her, step-by-step, exactly how to fix it. After all, men are great fixers, right? But no, my wife did not want me to tell her how to fix it. She just wanted me to listen, to hug her, to tell her that I love her. The same rules still apply today, and I’m still working on fighting that “fix it” impulse.
- The task of cooking falls to the one with the most time. For now, that’s me. You know what’s great? Anyone can cook. Thanks to recipes, all you need is the ability to read and you are all set.
- Marriage takes sacrifice. Writing time? Best done when my wife is sleeping or unavailable. Spending willy-nilly on Lego sets (for me) or knee-length socks (for her)? Nope, we should probably use that money to pay the gas bill. Living with a man who smells bad frequently? My wife does it everyday and never complains.
- Have fun. Every weekend, my wife and I give each other a secret word. The secret word results in a specific action. For example, my secret word may be “potato”, and when I say it, my wife is obligated to tell me three things that she likes about me, or whatever action I chose the word to mean when the word was given. In turn, my wife has a word that obligates me to do a specific action. And yes, we have a lot of fun with our little word games.
And that’s just after eight years. I’m sure I have a lot more to learn. And I can’t wait to be married long enough to learn it all.
PS – I know that I will never be married long enough to learn it all.