Monday, August 25, 2014

Advice for the (About to Be) Newly Married Man

Congrats on your engagement.  

Marriage is a good thing.

I've been married for the better portion of my life - longer than I was single.  If fact, given how I lived my life as a single man, I'm sure I would be dead now if not for marriage.

So, by all means, go get married.

Getting married, however, is a major league, expensive, pain in the butt, so I suggest you get that part of the process over with as quickly, cheaply, and painlessly as possible.  

But, if she's like most women, that is not going happen… So, my further advice to you is to let your bride make all the wedding decisions, even down to the groomsman’s presents.  Seriously, don’t bother arguing about any of it. Let her have it her way.  Smile and nod. A lot.  It's her day.  You're stage dressing at this point.  Consider it a practice round.

In order to make the marriage stick, you need to accept some truths as self-evident.  

Truth #1: The minute you popped the question, you gave up your right to vote.  Marriage is not a democracy.  

No matter how it looks on the surface, your wife-to-be already knows she is firmly in charge.  You – sucker – are in love with her, and you just told her so.  At that moment, on your knees begging, you lost all your negotiating leverage.  

And, if you're smart, you won't ever try to get it back.

Oh, she will humor you, and ask your opinion about the new paint color for the living room, but don’t actually fool yourself into thinking you can buck her about the Sea Foam Green; she's already got three gallons of Sea Foam paint and a stack of paint rollers in the trunk of the car.  Have a nice weekend.

In public, she will pretend you are in charge, letting you act all important and tough in front of the new car dealer, but you both know better.  No matter what happens in the showroom, you’re buying her the damn car.  

At home, in private, she calls the shots, and you both better know it. 

There is much truth to the saying, "Happy Wife, Happy Life"  

This is not actually as bad as it may sound on the surface to a young man.  You'll get used to it, like a frog gets used to the temperature rising in a boiling pot, or the Lion gets used to his cage at the zoo. 

I have seen many marriages fail over the years, for many reasons, but there is one constant in every bad marriage I've ever known (whether they eventually divorced or not) – the guy actually believed he was in charge.  

Do not be that guy.  

Truth #2: The secret to a truly happy marriage is the word 'OK' 

A dear friend taught me this secret when I was already well into my marriage, but I wish someone had shared it earlier.

Tattoo the word 'OK' on the back of your eyelids.  'OK' is your new best friend forever.  

'OK' is a happy husband’s ubiquitous, all powerful response to any question.  

When she asks you what you think(about anything), you say, 'OK'.

When she suggests a restaurant, you say, "OK"  

When she suggests a child’s name, you say, "OK" 

Take out the garbage? OK.  Get a haircut? OK.  Change a light bulb? OK.  Change your shirt? OK. Vacation destination? OK.  New car? OK.  New house? OK.  Her mother wants to move in with you? er…

There are two important exceptions to the OK rule. 1) If she ever asks you how she looks, always, no matter what, you say, “Absolutely Beautiful”, and 2) If she ever asks you anything about looking fat, you always say, no matter what, “Are you kidding? You look more beautiful (or hotter, take your pick) than the day I met you.) 

You will quickly learn that, no matter how annoying it may seem, there is no way to fight with someone who just keeps saying, “OK”  Luckily, she will never use this trick on you.

If you get bored, try it with some inflections – oKAAY, Ooh Kay,  OHH Kay.  

When you are really feeling it, throw in a few Oki Doki’s for good measure.

Good luck and long life to both of you.  See you at the wedding.

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