April 13, 2005

Rules for a happy marriage

For some reason I started coming up with this list of "rules" after a particularly noticeable exercise by Rudder of Rule #1. (He avoided volunteering me to race a double with someone in May, even though she's pretty good, just in case I didn't want to race.) It started me thinking of the other rules we follow. SOme of these came naturally to us, some we had to learn.

  • Never volunteer your spouse for anything unless they've specifically told you to.

  • Don't marry anyone you don't respect. Otherwise you'll have to spend the rest of your life pretending you do, which is far too much work. (Don't marry anyone you don't love, either, but I'd hope that's obvious.)

  • Never call your spouse an idiot. Don't treat him or her like one, either.

  • Don't swear at your spouse. You can swear at a situation, but not at a person. (And of course, anyone who swears at (as opposed to in front of) their children - I don't mean, "Damn it!", I mean "You little bastards!" -- is a scum who doesn't deserve to have kids anyway. I used to have a neighbor who would shriek the latter at her kids, at a volume loud enough to be heard halfway down the street. Aside from the pure evilness of it, I always wondered at the logic of calling her own children illegitimate. Maybe they were, who knows.)

  • Never talk work in bed. Management-speak words like "paradigm" shold not be used in any context when horizontal.

  • Pick your battles. In some cases the winner should be the one who cares more about the issue, not the one who's right.

  • Try to notice how people treat not just you, but also your spouse. Men, especially, are likely to endear themselves to female spouses by refusing to play along in blatant sexism (as when a sales person assumes it must be the man who is buying a car). I assume the converse would be true also, for sexism directed against men.

  • You're going to disagree sometimes or to have to ask them to stop doing something that bothers you, so learn what works for you and your spouse in making it a productive, non-defensive discussion. sometimes those techniques you see in articles on how to argue actually work (like saying, "It really bothers me when you ____," instead of "You always ____").

  • Ignore tips in articles or lists like this unless they work for you, personally. Every happy family is not alike.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something critical here.

Posted by dichroic at April 13, 2005 12:03 PM

Very nice list. I think I shall share it with my partner, for the future. :)

Posted by: megan at April 13, 2005 02:24 PM

Nicely put !

Posted by: Denver doug at April 13, 2005 08:00 PM
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