I was just at my cousin’s wedding this weekend, and at their guest book they had a spot reserved for “Words of Wisdom”. I looked at it, and although I really wanted to add something, at that moment I was hungry, hot and my feet were too sore to think of anything more eloquent than "Don't be pregnant over summer".
But, when we were driving, what felt like half way to Australia, I had some time to reflect on marriage, relationships, and yes, maybe a few words of wisdom. While I am a relative rookie, with only 6 years of wedded bliss under my belt, Mike and I have spent 14 years together, so it's hard not to have already learned some lessons. Plus I've seen some REAL trainwrecks, and they say you learn a lot by watching other people's mistakes.
Now I know plagiarizing is generally frowned upon in most literary circles, but I`m pretty confident the big guy upstairs won`t mind my play on words.
Brittany`s Ten Commandments of Wedded Bliss
Original, huh?? Oh yes and for credibility reasons, this list is only including, but not limited to the first six years of marriage. Ok, let`s get on with it…
1) Thou shalt inhabit thy own sanitary facilities.
I`m not kidding. People underestimate the benefits of not sharing those sorts of things. It`s gross, and while I get it that everyone does it, does THAT ever need to be done in front of anyone else? Ick.
2) Thou shalt share all accounts, in particular financial ones.
Ok, I’m going against the Mighty O on this one. I’m pretty sure she said to always have your own account. My question.. if you ever are in a situation where you think it might be wise to get your own account away from your spouse’s watchful eye, you have much bigger problems. Since we were married we put everything together, and we both have access to everything. The only downside?? He can see how much I spend at Starbucks, and I can see how much he spends at Tim's. (FYI He wins the argument everytime... stupid Venti Skinny Vanilla Zen Tea Latte's...)
3) You shall have no other friends above me.
We all need friends outside of our spouse, this is obvious. Girls love to go out in large groups and drink copious amounts of wine and laugh loudly enough for other tables to complain. Men like to hit the golf course in organized foursomes and drink copious amounts of beer and swear loudly enough for other golfers to complain. This need not change. But, there should be no friendship, or relationship, that supersedes that with your partner. Life will assuredly throw horrible curveballs, and so far what I’ve noticed is that the only couples that seem to make it lean on each other first and foremost.
4) Thou shalt not take thy partners name in vain… in public anyways.
Oh please we ALL get annoyed at our spouse. Hockey til 2 am on a Thursday night when I, or um, some other lovely, doting wife, has to work the next morning is just rude. And while a bit of venting to your favorite girlfriend is permitted, let us limit our negative assertions about our spouses to just that, harmless venting to a good friend. We’ve all been there when someone gets a little TOO detailed about their personal problems at work, which forces you to inconspicuously slide a list of local marriage counsellors onto their desk when no one is around. Let’s all make a pact not to tear down someone we promised to love and cherish in front of quasi-strangers. And please, please please, especially NOT in front of your kids.
5) Thou shalt laugh.
Oh my goodness, there have been so many points already in our marriage where I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Because of my embarrassing tendency to laugh in stressful situations you can imagine that I generally laugh, or I go into the ugliest of all reactions, the laugh into sobbing cry. Either way, I don’t think anyone would ever look back at that moment and regret that they laughed, or saw humor even at some inopportune time. Things often seem so much more terrible in the moment than they do even a day later, so when you can find the silver lining, embrace it. Finding out you’re pregnant 4 months after major back surgery, while specifically intending to NOT have a baby, especially knowing that it took you months of trying to have your last child… well that’s comedy folks.
6) Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7) Thou shalt raise offspring equally.
How many men swear they will never change a dirty diaper?? I’ll tell you how many, the same amount that have incredibly unhappy wives. Everyone wants to have a baby, and cuddle the baby, and dress him or her up in cute clothes, and take ridiculous photos, and think they will one day be in the NHL or a University of Kentucky Cheerleader (wait, that’s just me??). But, no one wants to get up all night with a sick baby, change gross diapers, or clean up the carnage of a toddler with the flu. But that’s what parenting really is, and unless both spouses take equal claim to the crappy parts (and I mean this literally), no relationship can really enjoy the amazing parts.
8) Thou shalt not kill… the fun.
Who says being married with kids needs to be boring?? The best couples I’ve seen are the ones who certainly have “Joie de Vivre”. They experience life together, take on adventures together, and become each other’s greatest fans. Do I find the annual RCMP hockey tournament to be a testament to the greatest athletes around? Not exactly. Do I find it incredibly entertaining to watch grown men try to regain the glory they had as young bucks when ‘they could have made it to the show… stupid torn ACL”. Absolutely. Does Mike get a thrill from watching horses go around and around in a circle. Um.. no. Does he appreciate how hard I work to keep said horse going around and around in a circle… well maybe not either. But importantly, he shows up, gives me a big hug afterwards and pretends to understand why I do it.
9) Thou shall not believe your neighbour.
Because people lie. All the time. About how much money they have, how great their lives are, how together they have all their crap. NO one is that awesome. And if they are, perhaps they can write their own darn set of commandments. If your ‘friends’ never have money issues, never have mental/health issues, never have crappy days or have to work out to maintain their incredible physique, they are big, apparently not so fat, liars. We all break down, we all screw up and we all spend too much time thinking everyone else is doing better.
10) Thou shalt love one another above all others.
Ok, are you ready.. even above your kids. “WHAT DID SHE JUST WRITE!!!” “Oh my goodness she hates her children”. This is akin to what a woman on Oprah got told after making a statement much like this. But I totally agree. If your relationship with your spouse falls below anything else in your life, even below your relationship with your children, it will be irrevocably broken. There is a saying that there is no greater gift you can give your children than to love their mother/father. So far, in my six years of marital bliss, I find this to be true.