Sunday, March 5, 2006

A Marriage Guide for Men

As a 30-something male who has been married for 16 years, and who is feeling magnanimous, I have decided to share my learning with younger men considering embarking upon a similar journey of marital bliss. Women, please click here now. Men, for your general edification the following may be duly classified as “lessons learned and duly conferred”:

On Property:
The wedding ceremony seals her entitlement to your assets. When you were single and bought her whimsical gifts, it was your money. Now, when you buy her flowers or a little something, you are “wasting” money. What’s hers is hers and what’s yours is “ours.” Discretionary income spent on your hobbies and pastimes is considered to be of marginal utility to the “family” and will soon become a source of tension. Sorry. At some point she may even tell you not to send her flowers on Valentine’s Day because it’s a waste of money. She is lying. If that delivery man doesn’t show up at her office with a bouquet you are toast. And toast sleeps on the couch.

On Buying a House:
Your opinions on absolutely everything will be sought (the size of closets, width of hallways, number of cupboards, etc.) endlessly. Should your opinions differ from hers, they will be re-solicited until such time as they change to conform to her already settled opinions. It is required that you take an active interest in all such matters, and appear to retain a perfect, photographic recollection of every detail of every house you have ever seen. When asked “Honey, do you remember the cute split-level we saw with the burber carpet?” the only acceptable response is “Of course I do snookims.” You will purchase the house she wants, and assume all responsibility for negotiating the price she is willing to pay. The fact that she exclaimed “This is PERFECT honey – we can DEFINITELY afford this house now that you got your big bonus!” in the presence of the vendor’s agent must not be used as an excuse for failing to negotiate a more advantageous closing price. Ever.

On Arguments:
Remember all those courses you took on logical reasoning, dialectics and the Socratic Method? Excellent. Now forget them. There is no greater screw up in a marriage than winning an argument with your wife. You could back a truckload of evidence up to the door and get the Supreme Court to rule in your favour, and it would only nail your coffin shut that much more. End all arguments with “You’ve really given me something to think about” or “You’re right; I hadn’t thought of it like that before. Sorry.”

On Other Women:
For reasons never fully explained, your wife will occasionally solicit your opinions on the physical qualities of other women. This usually occurs immediately following her own offering of sometimes indiscreet opinions, so as to set an atmosphere of trust and to facilitate an equally erudite response from you. Do not EVER engage in this type of exchange. If your wife exclaims “Did you see what Sue was wearing at the beach party today!” and the Sue in question was a 42DD in a mesh tube top at a volleyball game, the answer is “Sorry honey, no, Bob and I were talking about the game.” Experience has shown that the following observations in particular are to be studiously avoided:

“You're right honey; your sister’s breasts are kind of perky I guess – just like yours used to be!”

“Yeah, she is kind of attractive, isn’t she?”

“Hey honey, remember when you used to wear a dress like that?”

On Sex:
I know – you got married in part so that you could have disease-free, guilt-free sex with the woman you love anytime you want. Sucker. You will have as much sex as your wife wants; which is fine, so long as she wants the same amount and kind of sex you do. Which she probably will – for about a couple of years or kids – whichever comes first. After that, I’m afraid it’s going to be a lot harder. Yes, that was a double entendre.

The first thing you need to understand is the term “bad sex.” This is difficult, I know, because for men there is no such thing – it’s all good. Having bad sex is physically impossible for a man, barring a thumb tack accident or lockjaw. For a woman, however, bad sex is all too common. To avoid making sex something she’d rather avoid, it is necessary to listen very closely to what she says. This will not be easy. Listening when we just want to get laid is very hard (that was a pun, not a double entendre). So, whatever else you may screw up (pun again), be sure to LISTEN to what she says about things like relaxing, candles, back rubs, foot rubs, getting the housework and kids homework done so she can relax and a lot of other things that seem wholly disconnected from sex, but are not. I know it’s hard to make the connection between vacuuming and sex, but trust me – it’s there.

The following tips are also worth their weight in gold:

You know that old quilt that’s been in her family for four generations? Not a good wet spot cushion. Nuff said.

It’s not necessarily over just because you’re done. Really. Unless it’s a quickie, in which case the rule is get in, and get out. Sometimes, she really is just doing it for you. Be OK with that.

If you are ever asked about sexual experiences prior your relationship with her, there are a thousand wrong answers and one acceptable one – “That was sex, this is love making and I’ll never go back.” A transparent dodge? Maybe. But it is kind of true, isn’t it?

A few final thoughts: marriage is tricky, and it has a lot of ups and downs. Truthfully, a good marriage is one where you keep falling in love with each other over and over again. Until you die.

And that’s it.

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