I don't mean to brag, but I'm kind
of a marriage expert.
Of course by "expert," I
just mean I have a lot of experience. And by "experience," I mean
I've failed miserably at marriage, I've tried to learn from my mistakes and
I've enjoyed the benefits of a happy second marriage (five years so far — FINGERS CROSSED)!
The bulk of marital disagreements
seem to stem from a few core issues, and disagreements in general tend to stem
from a lack of compromise. Since I'm pretty well-versed at what works — and
what really, really doesn't work — I figured I'd share a few essential
ground rules all couples should agree on concerning these core issues, before
one of you decides that the next time you find a dirty sock on the floor right next to the #$@% hamper you're going to pack your bags and burn the house
down behind you.
You think I'm joking (and I am!)
(sort of), but resentment can build quickly in a relationship if you're not
careful. So let's sort out these major sources of sore feelings before anyone
gets all arson-y over it.
1. Driving Disputes
Arguments about who controls the car
keys are pretty common. Despite popular belief, the person who spends the most
time behind the wheel shouldn't be the best driver — it should be the worst
passenger. Based on a hunch and exactly zero scientific research, far more
accidents (and fights) are caused by nervous or bossy passengers than by crappy
2. TP Placement
A surprising amount of conflict comes
from something as simple as toilet paper — specifically, which way the roll
should face. I suggest that whoever goes to the trouble of changing the roll
should get the final word on which way it goes; it's nice to associate a perk
with that particular chore, since the fear of ending up in a TP-less bathroom
later rarely manages to motivate anyone to replace it for some reason.
3. Décor Decisions
If your and your spouse's style
sensibilities match about as well as paisley and stripes, you might try taking
turns making decorating choices. Then, after he hangs up a singing novelty fish
and she counters with a hot pink zebra-striped settee, you'll both quickly
learn to be content with your old dorm furniture. Problem solved!
4. Closet Compromise
If you've ever watched "House
Hunters," you know that a recurring theme between co-habitating couples is
that women typically hog all the closet space. However, real-life recurring
arguments between co-habitating couples arise because men typically leave their
clothes lying all over the damn place. This one just comes down to simple math: If closet space is split 80/20 in your favor, you have to expect several pairs
of his pants to be hanging over the end of the bed at all times. Sorry. On the
plus side, ALL THAT CLOSET SPACE.
5. Dish Duty
I once heard (or saw on Pinterest,
whatever) that you can either ask someone to do something, or tell them how to
do it — not both. I guess what I'm saying is, if you have really strong
feelings about how the dishwasher should be loaded, then DO IT. If someone else
was kind enough to do the dishes, you do not — and I really can't stress this
enough — do NOT get to complain about how they did it. Unless they put a huge
pan on the top rack. That's just stupid.
6. Remote Responsibility
"He who clicks first, clicks best."
A lot of guys believe it's their
right to control the remote control based solely on their gender. NOT TRUE.
Actually, that honor goes to whoever can mute and/or fast forward through the
ads faster. "He who clicks first, clicks best." You can crochet that
on a pillow.