What I’ve Learned in Six Years of Marriage

Y’all, Sunday was a special day. It marked the sixth anniversary of the day I said “I do!” to my husband (and he said it back). We had a “unique” start to our marriage. We both came into the marriage with a failed one under our belts, little 3-year-old Bella along for the ride, and I was pregnant with the unsuspecting man-sized baby Roman. The odds haven’t always been in our favor and there have been moments for both of us when we questioned what we’re doing. We don’t always get along. There are some fundamental differences we will always have. But I know I have a loyal partner and devoted dad. He is my best friend and my greatest supporter. Hopefully he feels the same way about me. I’ve learned a lot along the way. Most of the things I’ve learned would have made my marriage easier had I learned them sooner. So, if you’re contemplating marriage, even if you’ve done it before, read these lessons as a heads-up for what might be coming your way. For those veterans out there, let me know what I’ve missed.

Here are the four biggest things I’ve learned throughout my six years of marriage:

  1. Marriage is work. And one person can’t do it all. It takes both people fully committed to the marriage at all times. Even when you’re mad or sad or deflated or exhausted or sleeping or trying to sleep but you can’t cuz “someone” snores like a garbage disposal swallowing a metal spoon so you’re mad, sad, frustrated, and exhausted all at once and you start replaying that episode of Snapped where the woman got away with it, unless you fully expect to tell your kids “I left because I couldn’t take the snoring”, you still have to be committed… all the way to the sleep apnea doctor. I don’t think I really understood this and accepted it until well into our marriage. I was quick to say, “I think you should go.” Unfortunately I didn’t complete that sentence with “to the shooting range” or “buy yourself a TV”. He would have appreciated that more.  Know your boundaries and communicate them. Part of being committed 100% is communication. Say what you mean and mean what you say. You don’t have to say it mean but sometimes that helps 😉 Knowing your boundaries allows you to know when to give in and when to dig in your spiked stiletto heels.
  2. Marriage with babies is exhausting. Know this going in. Now, there’s no way for you to fully comprehend the level of exhaustion that you’ll experience until you are already in it. But know that it’s exhaustion like you can’t fathom. And in that state of exhaustion you have to take care of a little human being who doesn’t give a shat how exhausted you are. Or how sick you are. Or how busy you are. Or what your deadlines are for work. So now we have exhaustion, a demanding little person who can’t communicated in any other way than with super-sonic boom cries at 2:00 am, 2:15 am, 3 am, 3:12 am, 3:30 am, 3:31 am, 3:33 am, 4 am, 5 am… ALARM CLOCK!!! Time to get ready for work! Are you ready? Who’s ready? Oh, and after you work a full day, pick your baby up from daycare, feed the baby, bathe the baby, feed the baby again, put the baby to bed for the 1 hour you’ll get before the next crying sesh, you need to make purposeful time to spend with your partner. Um… what? All I want to do is watch reality TV to make me feel better about myself, drink a glass of wine, and kill some dark chocolate before I fall asleep on the couch in the middle of chewing my food. The trick is to keep it fun. Find a show to binge watch together and have a standing date on the couch. And let him be your face’s pillow when you pass out.
  3. Marriage with toddlers is war. Every minute is a battle. If you aren’t fighting your little person with newly found independence, you’re probably fighting with your spouse over something to do with parenting. Or something to do with how your routine has unexpectedly changed. “Why has the same load of laundry been drying for 3 days?” Well, maybe it’s because I keep forgetting the clothes are there and I have to wash them over again. Six times. Believe me, it’s not optimal for either of us. Know that it’s ok to fight. It’s healthy. And (this one was very important for me to learn) every fight doesn’t mean the end of the relationship. In fact, it can mean the strength of your relationship increases.
  4. Marriage with kids is a rollercoaster. Your kids are finally old enough to communicate when they’re sick, sad, hungry, thirsty, heartbroken, mad at you.  But when your kids crawl into your lap without warning and hug you and tell you how much they love you or when you take them somewhere fun and you hear them say, “THIS IS THE BEST. DAY. EVER!!!!” that’s your reward for passing stages one and two, grabbing the flagpole at the VERY TOP and saving the princess twice without losing any lives. This is the stage when you are probably more aligned strategically with your spouse. It’s probably more often a “parents vs. kids” situation where kids frequently say, “you’re mean! No one here even likes me!” If you hear this at least once a day, you’re probably doing this parenting thing perfectly and should consider writing a book. Also, date nights for us have happened more frequently at this stage than before because 1) it’s much easier to leave them when they’re yelling at you because you said ‘no’ to 3 brownies and 2) they’re vocal enough that you can trust them to tell you anything you may need to know, i.e. a bad babysitter. Marriage, parenting, life can all be scary. And that’s ok.

So I still don’t have it all figured out. Life is uncharted waters. But it’s nice to know I have a sailing partner. Hopefully we’ll still be just as committed to each other and our marriage in 50 years as we are right now. That’s right, I have him til he’s 91. What’s your best marriage advice?

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8 Things to Buy Your Snarky Wife for Valentine’s Day that won’t get you laughed at or punched

What to Buy Your Snarky Wife for Valentine’s Day

The target audience for this post is a bit different than usual, ok a LOT. As in opposite. So, ladies, read this through and if it applies to you, feel free to forward to your Valentine. I’ll drop the not-so-subtle hints for you.

Cynical, snarky, jaded, sarcastic, whatever adjectives apply to your wife, for whatever the reason, she’s not into sappy, lovey-dovey bull shat. And that can make your job very difficult this Valentine’s Day. As a man, I’m fairly certain that you haven’t put much thought into this fabricated holiday of love. If history is any indication of your behavior in a week’s time, you’ll saunter into the closest convenience store and grab whatever they forcefully suggest you purchase your “One True Love” this Valentine’s Day. Because NOTHING says immortal love like a 4-inch plush animal unnaturally dyed red, a box of poor-quality chocolates wrapped and glued shut in cellophane, one rose with a poo-shaped chocolate where the petals should be, and a card with 2 beautiful people on the front, sitting by the ocean, with words you could never think of on your own, much less write down, on the inside.

I understand her because I AM her. Just because she’s jaded DOESN’T (I repeat, DOESN’T) mean she wants you to ignore this pretend holiday. She still wants to be shown you love her, just not in a conventional way and she definitely doesn’t want a bunch of shat she has no use for. That’ll piss her off. And that’s what you’re trying to AVOID. Roses and a sweet, sentimental card will NOT get her to take off her clothes and beg you to “love her long time”. It will get you an eye-roll, a punch in the arm for being “weird”, or even made fun of. (Again, we want to AVOID this.)

“SO WHAT DO I DO, E??”

  1. First up: the card. The card must meet her where she is. If you are the sappy type, get a sappy card but write in funny things to break up the weirdness. Make fun of your own sappy card in a way that tells her you love her AND her snarkiness. She’ll love your originality and authenticity.
  2. Make her a card. Come on, it’s not that hard. Go to Wal-Mart or Michael’s and get some construction paper. Or just raid your daughter’s stash. A piece of construction paper with a heart drawn on the front, folded in half, with a hand-written “I Love You and Your Snarky Ways” inside will go much further than something you would never say.
  3. One option for the main gift (yes, MAIN- as in “there should be MULTIPLE”… trust me. I have lady parts) is something to give her time alone, especially if she’s a mom. I highly recommend a gift card to a blow-out bar or a day spa if she enjoys getting pampered. If she’s not the pampered type, give her a gift card to her favorite store and keep the kids busy while she takes care of bid-naz.
  4. If you’re tight on money, don’t worry. In the words of Wanda from In Living Color, “I GOTCHU”. Look around the house for a basket. Go to Target or another store that has a beauty aisle and pick up the $1 face masks, some bubble bath, maybe a loofa. Purchase said items and place them in the basket with some other fun stuff. (Notice you just read “fun”, not shat). Take the kids for a WHOLE day. Plan a fun day away with them and let her be her at home. Bam. Insta-love.
  5. Plan a day away with her. Create sappy memories instead of crappy, sappy items that mean nothing to her. Where did you go on your first date? How about the first time you said, “I HEART YOU”? Anywhere she’s been dying to go? Here’s a hint: If she’s mentioned it out loud to you EVER, she’s been dying to go. Snarky, cynical women don’t reveal too much unless they’ve been thinking about it for a while. By the time it leaves our lips we’ve made up our minds that we wanna do it. (That’s what she said.)
  6. Unless it’s against her religion and she’s uber devout or she’s allergic (how tragic), alcohol will ALWAYS be a good option. But make it unique. Don’t go to Trader Joe’s and hand her the cheapo Chardonnay. Likely, it will end up broken. After she smashes it with your head. Let’s keep that from happening. Go online or to a wine store and ask. Always ask.
  7. Ghost Tour!!!!! If she likes that sort of thing, that is. But it’s such a different, fun thing to do. It’s quirky, dramatic, and she’ll snuggle in real close when that ghost comes running for you!
  8. Yes, I made fun of the BAD chocolate. However, Godiva = Heaven. If she likes chocolate, she’ll prolly have some mad love in her heart for a $50 box of crack. Trust me.
  9. Bonus: Ok, so I mentioned that she should receive multiple gifts. That doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. If you have one large gift, have some fun “extras” ready. Her favorite wine chilled, her favorite candy on the counter when she gets home, something special that only you know to do.

I know this is a lot to take in (that’s what he said), but just try it out. Even if you just take half of my advice. Or 1/4th of my advice. But please, PLEASE no stupid, sappy cards, plush animals or grocery store chocolates. Happy VD! Ladies, did I miss anything??

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