Marriage Advice for the Newlyweds

Marriage Advice for the Newlyweds

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2010

My little brother is finally getting married at the ripe old age of 29. And as his older brother — someone who got married when he was a 12-year-old punk — I have several pearls of wisdom that I can offer after nearly 17 years of wedded bliss.

I also owe him some advice, since at my wedding, when the videographer asked if he had any advice for his older brother, stared at the camera for a few seconds, like a deer in the headlights, and then said, "don't fart."

So here is my advice for Andrew and his new bride, Michelle. They apply to equally to both (except #4. That's all for him.)

1. Never let the sun set on your anger. That is, don't go to bed mad at each other. Stay up late and play Ghost Recon on Xbox instead. This way, you can nurse a good long grudge, going over every nuance of the other person's argument, before finally coming up with that one stunner that will prove you're right, only to find your spouse is asleep. Drink all their orange juice out of petty revenge. I suppose you could also "discuss things" like most relationship experts suggest, but this is more fun. Better yet, challenge your spouse to a game of Ghost Recon. Winner of the game wins the argument.

2. Remember, that everything you learned in all your years of growing up will influence what you bring to the marriage, but will not be at all helpful. Your families have done things completely differently, and if they were neighbors, they probably would have hated each other enough that each Halloween would have been punctuated by at least one flaming bag of dog poo. This is the baggage you are bringing with you to your new lives together. Enjoy.

3. All of your valuable collectibles will turn into junk the second you say "I do." All of her junk will turn into valuable collectibles her great-great-grandmother owned and has been passed to every girl in the family. This will be true of the director's cut of her "Hope Floats" DVD too.

4. What's yours is hers. What's hers is, well, hers. Except your cardboard cutout of The Rock and your "Inglorious Basterds" movie poster. Those are the garbage man's. If you want to keep certain items like baseball cards, your Boy Scout hunting knife, or your tie dye t-shirt from college (don't ask) safe from her clutch—I mean, attention, stick them in a cardboard box, tape it heavily, and label it "Grandma's china and ashes."

5. If you want to get out of doing certain household chores, do them badly, and you will be forbidden from doing them. When we first got married, my wife cleaned the kitchen floor by getting on her hands and knees and scrubbed it with a sponge. When she asked me to do it, I used my foot. I have not been allowed to mop the floor the entire time we've been married. Similarly, she is not allowed to mow the lawn. Be careful to only do this selectively though, rather than for every single task set before you. Your spouse will either think you're lazy or totally incompetent.

6. Don't get hung up on the whole lid up/lid down thing. Whoever perpetuated the "always put the lid down" rule has ignored the needs of men. Rather, leave the lid in the opposite state of how you found it, so the next person can use it. If it's down when the woman gets there, she can leave it up. And when the man arrives, he'll put it back down when he's finished. Better yet, close the lid completely before you flush. Scientists have found that the spray from the toilet flush will travel up to six feet away — about two feet farther than your toothbrushes.

7. Take this whole marriage seriously. You're only ever going to do this three or four times in your life. Although if you want to make this your only one, ignore everything I've just said. Except number 5. That's a keeper.

8. Lastly, take this in the spirit that it's intended. Don't fart.

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