Thursday, March 3, 2011

And then she renamed the blog "Dear Abby".....

(He's not blind & I'm not leading him! It just appears that way in this photo.)

The other night, I was telling Chuck that I'm not entirely sure what unintentionally misleading image I have been projecting on Facebook & my blog, but some of my disciples , followers , OK, FRIENDS, have sent me messages asking my advice on being happily married. Yes, apparently, Chuck & I are the Ward & June Cleaver of the internet. HA! Chuck's response was "Did you tell them to marry someone who gets paid well so you don't have to work & carry all that additional stress into our lives & someone who also doesn't mind folding laundry while their spouse lies in bed eating fried cheese & reading autobiographies of washed-up rock musicians?" And I said, "No. Do we know someone who does that? And, uh, do you know how to get ketchup stains out of these nice, percale sheets?"

Seriously, though, when I look all around me I see people whose marriages are under a tremendous amount of strain or they're coming apart at the seams & we seem to be plugging right along. It is NOT always easy, so please don't think our life is stress-free. The fact that Chuck made it through the winter without throwing up his hands in surrender or chugging whiskey at the Town Pump is a miracle in & of itself. On top of that, the boy bought me diamonds, but life ain't always a party over here at Chaos Central. If you could rewrite Randy Houser's "Thank God He Made A Woman Love A Man Like Me" to be from the opposite perspective, it would be "our song" because not a day passes that I don't stop & think I'm REALLY lucky that he puts up with some of my crap. But at the end of the day, we seem to be a good fit.

I'm not so sure we hold any secret to being happy & it might best be summed up as "ignorance is bliss" but I'll give it my best shot to be of some help to those few of you who were curious. I accept no liability if you end up in divorce court after taking this advice, but I'll be happy to direct you to my friends who are attorneys & need the cash.

1) LAUGHTER & LETTING IT GO: We laugh off A LOT. We don't take ourselves too seriously EVER. And we're pretty good at finding the humor in most any situation. I have a friend that called me once near tears because she & her significant other were lost & had unknowingly booked a hotel in the bad part of the city they were visiting. They were at each other's throats & about to let it ruin the entire vacation & all I could think was how Chuck & I would be laughing hysterically & viewing it as an adventure. Another friend was telling me something she was arguing about with her husband the other day & I said, "You know what? That wouldn't even be an issue in our marriage because it's just too insignificant to get angry over." So laugh, people. And don't sweat the small stuff.

2) TRUST: Simple, really. We trust each other. I've never looked at his e-mail or nosed through his phone because I don't need to. Jealousy & possessiveness have no place in a marriage & it's just not something either of us makes the other deal with. That's not to say that we're naive enough to think the other one doesn't notice someone else now & then (if you say you don't you are soooo lying!) but we know our limits & we know where our loyalties lie. I can fawn over Tom Brady. He can fawn over Pam Anderson & Jennifer Garner (strange taste in women, the man has!). He knows if I walk into the pool & he's surrounded by my girlfriends, I don't care. I've come home from the grocery store & said, "Oh, I saw the 1st runner-up to Mrs. Chuck Buttry (who I know he thinks is hot). Glad I've been able to fulfill my duties so she doesn't have to step in!" Jealousy is a waste, my friends. A waste. And I realize that some very trusting people have been burned, but really, what would being jealous have changed? NOTHING. It's not a sin to look (unless you're Jimmy Carter) but it is a sin to act on it. And generally if you're jealous & possessive, it's your own insecurities talking.

3) SEX: Oh, God no. She's going THERE. Yes, yes she is..... Have sex with your spouse, people. Early and often. Or late in the evening. Doesn't matter. Just do it. That's why you got married. Unless you married for money & then I guarantee you'll get more of that if you have more sex. With your spouse, of course. (My Dad just said, "Oh my God. I can't believe she wrote that. What have I raised?" Word for word. Guarantee it.) A friend gave me advice a few years after our first child was born. It was during that period where you'd rather your husband come at you with a machete than any part of his body. She said, "If your husband gets some 3 x a week, your life will change & he'll overlook a lot more. Especially the checkbook." You know, SHE WAS RIGHT. I had never thought of it in that manner, but the mood change is amazing. The way to a man's heart is NOT through his stomach. Keep him happy. (You may now get off the floor, Dad.)

4) SPEND TIME ALONE TOGETHER: You can be in a hotel room across town or on an island in the Caribbean. Doesn't matter. We try to leave town 2 x a year, at least overnight. This year, in fact, Chuck & I decided to get smart and send the kids away on trips for spring break & stay home by ourselves to get some things done around the house. (This could backfire on us since we're taking on household projects!) You can also go to lunch together, dinner together, a movie, out with another couple - just somewhere away from the kids and the daily grind. Your relationship needs this. And try not to talk about work or kids. And if you do happen to be in a hotel room, refer to #3.

5)LIVE BENEATH YOUR MEANS: When Chuck & I first got married we fell into the same trap most young marrieds do, thinking we had to have two new cars, nice apartment, leather couch, ugly graphic china that we eventually sold at a garage sale, you know, all the trappings of the early 90's....We don't think that way anymore. Chuck has driven the same car for 15 years & we still live in the small, allegedly 1700 sq. ft. house that we bought when Ryder was two & our only child. It's three bedrooms and we have three kids, which means two of them share a room. Sometimes that's fun. Fun in the same manner that having a tooth extracted is fun, or perhaps, getting your pinkie caught in a meat grinder. Would we like a bigger home? Oh, yes, Noelle would. One with a big pool & a closet for her shoes too, just like you see in magazines! But not if it keeps us from being able to go to the beach, put our kids in the schools we choose, or forces me to go back to work outside the home. Or splurge on the occasional Lilly dress. My point is, we've learned what our priorities are & "living big" is not one of them. We've seen too many friends/acquaintances split up soon after moving up to the big giant house & 2 SUV's in the driveway. Don't get me wrong. Some can afford it. But if you can't do it comfortably, don't do it at all. And certainly don't do it to impress anyone. Your marriage will suffer from the strain.

6) Find someone who likes to fold laundry while you lie in bed eating fried cheese & reading autobiographies of washed-up rock musicians. Couldn't hurt. Might help.

I probably just cursed myself & will be divorced in a year! Time will tell.


  1. We blogged on the same day. Again.

    Seriously, though, thanks for sharing your tips to wedded bliss. You have some great ones!! For some reason, I've been eating up advice from married friends lately. Wonder why?! ;)

  2. Mary Ross McColloughMarch 3, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    great advice, some of the same things that Mike and I have incorporated in our lives. We have only been married 7 years but it seems like a few days and forever(in a good way) at the same time. Our marriage just keeps getting better.