Sadie and Reese are friends of mine who recently got married. I took their wedding pictures. While at the wedding, I thought about giving them advice on how to sustain a long and happy marriage, but reconsidered, thinking it might be inappropriate to give them my counsel as they exchanged rings or ate wedding cake.
But now that the ceremony is over, Sadie and Reese, I hereby and forthwith give you my Five Tips on Surviving Marriage:
1. Reese: It is YOUR job to mow the yard. Yes, you may be tempted to let her push the lawnmower or ride the tractor around the yard after you’ve come home from a hard day at work, and we (and by we, I mean your man brothers), we may look at you with admiration for conning your wife into doing it for you – but it’s a trap. Let her mow the yard once, and she’ll use it against you until she lays you in your grave. And maybe even longer.
“What do you mean you don’t have time to pick up the milk,” she’ll say. “Don’t you remember how I mowed the yard for you three years ago, without any help? And you don’t have time to pick up a lousy carton of milk? My mother warned me this would happen.”
Sadie: It is your job to mow the yard as often as possible, thus giving you tremendous amounts of leverage against him. If he beats you to the lawnmower, at least bring him a glass of iced tea while he’s mowing. You can use that as leverage, too.
2. Reese: Two phrases you must get used to saying are, “Yes, dear,” and “No, it was my fault.” Don’t be ashamed to utter them in places private or public. We’ve all been there. We feel your pain.
Sadie: When he does say “Yes, dear,” or “No, it was my fault,” don’t forget to pat him on the head, thus reconfirming who’s boss. A cookie every now and then helps cement the relationship.
3. Reese: There are no more “Nights Out With The Boys.” Oh, she’ll tell you to go ahead and have a good time, but she doesn’t mean it. Women say a LOT of things they don’t mean. You must learn how to tell when a woman means something and when she doesn’t. But don’t look at us (your man brothers) for help. We’re still trying to figure out the same thing.
Sadie: Let your husband spend only one night out with the boys, then when he returns, grill him until he tells you exactly what “the boys” did. Make him account for every second. It will keep him on his toes. Womenfolk have been performing mini “Spanish Inquisitions” for eons. No need for you to break with tradition. (FYI – Waterboarding is not considered torture when performed inside the safety of your own home.)
4. Reese: Before you were married, you were very intelligent. You could drive with no problem, balance a checkbook with ease, and make decisions without consulting a single living soul. Sorry, dude, but we neglected to tell you that the price of marriage comes with relinquishing half your brain – if you’re lucky. Some wives take it all.
Sadie: Soon after the honeymoon, you will notice that your husband is missing quite a few IQ points. You’ll ask yourself how in the world he was ever able to survive without you. But don’t be too rough on him at first. Give him time to adjust. If you don’t see improvements in about, say, three days, then drop the hammer on him.
5. Reese: “Until death do you part” doesn’t mean until next Tuesday. Live it. Breathe it. Hold on to it. Be thankful that somebody, ANYBODY, had pity upon you to marry you and not let you become the male equivalent of an old maid.
Sadie: “Until death do you part” just means that if it takes longer than three days for him to shape up, you have every right to “make some changes.”
Sadie and Reese, thanks for letting me be a part of your wedding, and I hope you live a long and fruitful life. If you need any more advice from me, you know where to reach me!