What I know I know about marriage

So, today’s my anniversary.  Well, I guess it’s not just my anniversary, but our anniversary.  The Puddinette’s and mine, that is.  Eleven years ago today, we pledged ourselves to each other through thick and thin, sickness, health, blah, blah, blah.

Look, I’m going to be completely candid with you.  Last year, I wrote a post on our 10th Anniversary, and there’s some discussion out there that it might be the best single post I’ve ever committed to the web.  While I’m not sure about all that, I will admit that every single word of it still rings true, and that I feel exactly the same way today that I felt when I wrote it 365 days ago.  So, even though it’s apparently our steel anniversary rather than our tin/aluminum one, I’m sticking with last year’s post.

I’m not sure how I’d follow that one up, anyway.

And, by the way, what the hell is this business?  So, ten years is tin/aluminum, but a decade plus one is suddenly steel?  How does that work, exactly?  If you ask me, tin/aluminum seems pretty weak/lame as in indicator that someone’s been putting up with the kind of nonsense I’ve been churning out for the last 10 years.  I mean, I can put a finger through tin/aluminum without even trying.  But then, just one year later, now we’re talking steel?  Steel is hardcore.  Solid.  Your house is probably reinforced with it.  I think they make like dump trucks and tanks out of it.  You’d think steel would be used for, I dunno, the 25th anniversary or something.  One of those “holy crap” milestones where you have a party and your guests are mildly incredulous that in all that time, your wife never suffocated you in your sleep just to stop the incessant, uncontrolled, freight-train-like snoring that the US Geological survey has repeatedly scored a 3.7 on Richter scale, with an epicenter near your face.

Ahem.  Maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, so, yes, we’ve been married eleven years now.  Coincidentally, the past few weekends have been great lead-ins to today.  Two Saturdays ago, we attended the wedding of a very good friend of mine, and last weekend we had a lot of fun at the Puddinette’s aunt and uncle’s 50th Anniversary party.  So it’s been like a non-stop celebration of nuptials, old and new, up in here.  Knowing, of course, that our own big day was coming up, too, got me to thinking a little bit about marriage.  Well, about how not to screw the pooch and end up making a thousand dollars worth of phone calls to the legal firm of “That’s Mine, This is Yours” while going eighteen rounds over a stupid wagon wheel coffee table*.

Admittedly, I’m typically not the kind of guy to attempt dispensing advice to anyone, about much of anything.  I mean, I might suggest a beer for you or tell you the best way to chop an onion or what computer equipment might match your life best.  But really, other than being that obnoxious know-it-all that nobody likes at parties, that’s it.  I’m certainly not given to doling out half-cent, half-baked words of wisdom to anyone on how to live his or her life.  For Pete’s sake, I tend to believe that I’m typically stumbling drunkenly near the cliff myself when it comes to the potential for making idiotic mistakes.

In other words, I’ve got no right to give advice to my dog about where to do her business, let along anything important.

Not that I’ll let that stop me, of course.  Puddintopia isn’t where I go with my good ideas.

So, then, if I had one, and only one, piece of advice for people newly married or planning to get hitched sometime in the not-so-distant future, what would it be?  What’s Puddin’s One Rule to make a marriage work?

Put simply (and a slight variation of Wheaton’s Law): Don’t be a selfish dick.

What I mean to say is that if you want your marriage to work, you’re going to have to put yourself and your own wants aside if/when they conflict with your partner.  Always put your spouse first, especially when it’s over inconsequential nonsense.  And, let’s be honest, when you get right down to it, it’s mostly all kind of inconsequential.

So, you want that new iPhone 4S or you won’t “be complete”, right?  But your significant other is whining about the bathroom tile and kitchen counter?  The phone will wait; a hour with a happy spouse is worth more than a week spent with Angry Birds, and trust me, there’s no app for that.  And when you’re drooling over that new Harley but your better half is looking at the price tag like a squirrel just gnawed his/her neither regions, let it go.

Well, unless you want to be riding it alone, I guess.  But I’ve been there; it’s not as fun as it sounds.

But, Puddin, you say, that’s craziness!  If I give him/her the Whopper treatment, letting them have it their way, life will be little but a never-ending sequence of getting pushed, prodded, and/or manipulated.  No one wants to be Charlie Brown staring down the barrel of a lifetime hitched to Lucy van Pelt.  That’s just going to lead to plain old misery; no one will be happy.

Well, if you married someone that was looking for servant, I guess that’s true.  So, you know, don’t do that.  The thing here is simple: it doesn’t work if only you do it.  A relationship has two parts, theoretically acting as one.  For anyone’s husband/wife/partner/Star-Trek-esque-extra-terrestrial-fling to be the right one, they need to be just as concerned about your happiness as you are their joy in life.

In other words, a successful marriage is a two-way street.

The point in all this is, basically, that I’m a lucky bastard.  The Puddinette keeps me focused on stuff that matters, feeds me the occasional brownie, and lets me play sometimes, like the perpetual 10 year-old I am, whether that be on ice, over a word processer, in the kitchen, or with some crazy beer you’ve never heard of.  In return, I rub her feet, tuck her in when she falls asleep in front of America’s Next Top Model, and try not to set the place on fire.

wedding kiss

She wants me to be happy.  More than anything else, I want her to be happy.

Neither of us tends to be a selfish dick.

And if you want a marriage to last, that’s all you need to do.

Everything else is just noise.

Feliz aniversario, Querida, otra vez. Te amo con todo mi corazon. Te amo mas que tango las palabras.


*Bonus points for the first comment to correctly identify the (slightly modified) reference

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