How To Stay Married: Secrets of a Married Man

I’ve been married for almost 25 years.  That’s almost half my life.  Arguably, marriage has consumed the best half of my life.  That said, I’ve had a long, happy marriage.

People often ask me:  What is the key to a successful marriage?  Okay, that’s a lie.  No one asks me that.  Ever.  Not once.  I wonder why.  People ask me about other things.  What’s it like to be a lawyer?  How are your kids?  What’s wrong with you?  I’ve answered these and many other questions, usually truthfully.

I’ve always believed that the most annoying advice is the kind you don’t want.  Maybe marriage is like that.  Folks just don’t want to hear about it.  It’s probably because they are either happy themselves and need no advice or they are miserable and hate people who aren’t.  Surely, young, single people want advice.  I doubt it.  When I was young and single, I knew most everything, especially when it came to the opposite sex.  What could some old guy tell me? He doesn’t know that I’m in love and that’s all that matters.  Fools.

People write books about marriage.  I’ve seen them, but I’ve never read one.  There are marriage counselors. Marriage therapists. If you belong to church, you can talk to your minister about your marriage.  Even Catholic priests–who have vowed to God never to marry–counsel couples before and after they marry.  Yes, there is much advice.  Add me to the list of experts.  The difference is that I have a quarter century of inexplicable success backing me up.

Much advice is useless.   A chimp could tell you–if he could talk–that things such as infidelity, violence and disappearing for days at a time can break any marriage.  Those things set the bar far too low.  Marriage requires many more subtle precautions to flourish.

MARRY UP

This is also known as “out-kicking your coverage.”  Marry a woman who is more attractive than you.  Of course, what I mean is that she is more appealing to the opposite sex than you are.  Why?  Isn’t the conventional wisdom that an ugly woman is likely to be more faithful?  I call B.S. on that one.

At some point in your marriage (probably a day or two into it), patience will be important.  Very important.  If you are about to say or do something untoward, one look at your ridiculously beautiful wife will make you pause and think: “Whoa!  I need to be careful.  There’s no way I can duplicate this deal.”  Those pauses are one of the key components of staying married.

Let’s say you look like Brad Pitt.  It’s almost certain you are prettier than every woman you’ve ever met. Not only are you irresistible to women, most men find you attractive, too.  The first time your wife does something stupid–like lose the remote–you are likely to explode, thinking:  “Why did I marry this hag?  She can’t even keep track of the remote!”  I’m certain that’s why Brad and Jennifer Aniston split.  As beautiful as she is–and she IS, by God–can anyone, male or female, honestly say that he or she is prettier than Brad?  I guarantee you Brad doesn’t think so.  Nor should he.

Personally, I married WAY up.  My wife has even become prettier over the years, while I’ve simply aged.  I’m a troll compared to her.  When I introduce her to people for the first time, the typical response is:  “This is your wife?”  I once overheard someone talking about me, and she said:  “Have seen his wife?  She is really pretty.  Really.”  Shocking.

Conversely, when she introduces me to people, they get a look of pity on their faces, as though they just met that kid from the movie, Mask.  They all assume I am incredibly wealthy, but I’m not.

This works well in our marriage.  Sometimes, I’ll be about to say something about the remote or her cooking and then I’ll catch a glimpse of her.  I’ll still say something, but I try to take the edge off it.  I’m simply not going to be able to duplicate my success.

I’m not suggesting that marrying up is easy.  Few worthwhile things are.  It takes work, and–in my case–alcohol.  Attractive women are no different from ALL men.  They often exercise poor judgment under the influence of strong drink.  Use this to your advantage.  Of course, you may be incredibly wealthy.  If so, this is no problem.

You may think that an attractive woman married to a physically repellant man is more likely to stray.  I guess that’s possible, but it beats the hell out of looking at an ugly woman all the time.  Also, remember that it is all relative.  If you are an extremely ugly man, you can marry up by marrying a plain or even homely woman.  The point is–aim high.  It works.

THINK FIRST

As noted above, a brief pause before speaking can make the difference between a long marriage and an annulment on your honeymoon.  Here are examples:

WIFE:  Let’s go see my parents tomorrow.

HUSBAND: For God’s sake, we just saw them two days ago!  My parents are dead, but yours are some kind of immortals!  I don’t get it.  Maybe it’s because they are Hell beasts….

By responding immediately, this man has made a critical mistake.  He has spoken his mind on a subject of great sensitivity.  The better, more reasoned response goes like this:

HUSBAND:  It seems like forever since we’ve seen Mom and Dad.  Let’s go today.  We should cherish our time with them.

By pausing just for a moment, this husband’s ludicrous response has prevented marital discord. This type of answer has the added benefit of possibly preventing the visit.  How, you ask?  Simple.  When the wife sees the husband enthusiastically embrace this suggestion, she is likely to cancel the visit altogether and focus on a request the husband may dislike, such as yard work.  Even if you can’t muster such an impressive response, you can always choke out a simple:  “Yes, dear” or “Whatever you say.”  These responses, while not preferable, are always good in pinch.

BRING ON THE NOISE

I have a White Noise app for my phone.  It’s great.  I go to bed before everyone in my house, but this doesn’t stop the other residents from being quite loud.  This app allows me to turn on “white noise” to drown out the mad cacophony.

You can do the same thing with your wife.  Once you’ve been married for a while, you may hear the same things over and over.  For instance, you may leave towels in the floor or be incapable of properly folding them.  If so, you are likely to hear about these shortcomings many, many times.  One approach is to say something like:  “For the love of God, would you just shut the hell up about those [expletive deleted] towels?!?!  Honest to God, I can’t take it anymore!”  Honesty, despite its value in general, is definitely not the best policy.

With practice, you can turn up the white noise in your own brain to filter out such offending exchanges.  Personally, I am unable to properly use a sink.  I splatter water on the fixtures or even the mirror.  No matter how I try or how much I wipe it up, it’s still no good.  I have trained my brain to deal with it.  If am asked this question:  “Did you use the sink in hall?”  all I hear after that is the soothing buzz of white noise.

Men have a well-deserved reputation of being poor listeners.  You will be reminded of this.  DO NOT FALL INTO THIS TRAP.  If you become a better listener, it is a recipe for disaster, for you will then listen to the very things which threaten marital harmony.  It is better to properly condemned for one flaw than to pay heed to many things best left unsaid.

YOUR OLD LIFE WAS A WASTE

Sure, your enjoyed your single days.  You lived as you wished.  You had friends.  It was a good time.

Think again.  Your old life was useless.  When you get married, get rid of every piece of furniture you owned as a single man.  If you don’t, your wife will begin a systematic purging.  Just get it over with.  Same goes for your clothes.

You will be asked about girls you dated.  You hated them.  All of them.  They were horrible people.  Unattractive, too.  They may have been sluts.  I don’t care if you dated Kate Upton, never even hint to your wife that she was the least bit appealing.  It is best to humbly express regret for your poor judgment.

Your friends were idiots.  Your wife may actually like some of them, so you can still like those few.  The rest of them are fools.  Plain and simple.  Stay away from them. Your wife is now your best friend.  If not, she’s likely to be your only friend after a while.

What does it say about you that you dated worthless women and your friends were all idiots?  Nothing good, my friend.  Your wife saved you.  You should appreciate that.

When you took your marital vows, you abandoned your old life.  Keep it that way.

KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON

This one is simple.  Stay married, unless you just can’t do it anymore.  That’s what we’ve done.  I can assure that I annoy my wife.  I know that I enrage her on occasion.  I’m sure she does all the same things I suggested above.  If not, she should (Expect the marry up part.  She’s screwed on that one).  My best advice would be to marry my wife, but you can’t.

I hope this has been helpful.  If not, hey, I’m no expert on any marriage but mine.

When I told my wife that I was starting a blog, she responded by saying “One of those things full of trivial [expletive deleted] that no one wants to read?”  Thus, I think it is unlikely that she’ll read this.  On the off chance she does, please read the following important disclaimer:

The foregoing is meant only as general advice and any reliance upon it is at your own peril, as I do not know your wife nor do I know if you are a jackass or anything.  More importantly, any resemblance between the above scenarios and my own wife’s behavior are mere coincidences.  She would never do anything of the sort described.  Plus, I listen to everything she says, because she is always right.  And she really is very pretty.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2013

Raising Cane’s Courts Controversy

In a stunning development, this reporter has learned that Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers has become embroiled (or emfried) in its own marriage controversy.  Raising Cane’s reclusive President, Kane (possibly pictured below), has been investing in several well-known anti-straight marriage organizations for a number of years now.  These groups include Ashley Madison.com, the NFL Network, Playboy Magazine and Ted Haggard Ministries.  When reached for comment, Kane stated:  “Guilty as charged!  Heterosexuals present the greatest threat on Earth to the sanctity of marriage.  I’m proud to say that I stand by my principles in opposing these hellish unions.”

Kane notes that “One day you wake up and your spouse looks like me. Who in their right mind wouldn’t oppose that?”

This foray into such controversy might be a PR mine field, but Kane disagrees:  “Half of all married people get divorced anyway.  I’m certain that the other half want to.  That makes everyone on the planet welcome at our restaurants.”  When asked if his open prejudice applied to same-sex marriage, Kane responded:  “Not yet, but give it some time.  They haven’t had enough time to make a mockery of their wedding vows.  I’m confident that they will.”

When reached for comment, Herman Cain said: “I don’t have anything to do with that place, but they might be on to something!”

Raising Cane’s actually derives its name from the original Cane whose parents were, according to many, the first married couple.  Kane notes that he–and everyone else–is a direct descendant of the murderous offspring of Adam and Eve.  “Look at the facts.  The first married couple and–BOOM!–they produce a homicidal maniac. Let’s face it.  It’s gone downhill from there.  Paul said it was better to marry than to burn.  All I can say is that that sounds like something you’d say if you’d never been married.”

There are over two million marriages a year in the United States.  Raising Cane’s would seem to be courting trouble, but Kane is steadfast.  “We’re inviting God’s judgment on us with every one of those marriages.  Better or worse; richer or poorer; sick and in health–give me a break!  There’s only one thing for certain:  People like fried chicken.  That’s it.”

Dr. Timothy Vanderboosen of a well-known think-tank believes that such prejudice is more widespread than the public realizes.  “Okay. Half of the married people get divorced, right?  Then, they get married again.  I’d call that crazy. My own wife is a complete pain in the ass.  She gained about 50 pounds within 5 years of our wedding and just lies around the house all day watching Oprah.  Oh, and she has a goddamn mustache, too.  I mean, she’d have to do that on purpose, don’t you think? You’d think I could get a decent meal every now and then, but noooo…I’m sorry, what was your question?”

Famed Muppets Ernie and his long-time companion Bert are encouraged by Cane’s stance.  “We may not be welcome at Chik Fil A, but we can still gorge ourselves at Raising Cane’s.  Bert and I don’t give a shit if they’re heterophobic.”  For his part, Kane said:  “Hey, those two little fruit baskets are always welcome at our restaurant.”

Several anti-straight marriage groups have already rallied to support Cane’s.  Rumors are rampant that the thrice-married Newt Gingrich and four-times-married Rush Limbaugh are organizing a “Support Raising Cane’s Day” encouraging everyone who hates marriage to patronize the restaurant.  As part of a promotion, Cane’s is considering giving a house to a lucky male customer for him to give to a woman who hates him.

(Disclaimer:  This is a work of fiction.  Any resemblance between the characters and story and any person living or dead is purely coincidental, except for Kane and Herman Cain, because I used their real pictures. This doesn’t mean that Kane  or Cain said any of things attributed them, which they didn’t as far as I know.  Kane, in particular, should take no offense.  I saw him in a movie called See No Evil where he tore out people’s eyes, which I don’t want to happen to me.  Kane is not really the President of Raising Cane’s nor does Raising Cane’s engage in any such outlandish behavior.  That doesn’t keep me from wishing it were all true.)

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012

The Gaiety of Marriage

I’ve been married for 24 years to a woman.  Wow.  Congratulations to me.  It’s pretty surprising to think that someone married me.  More surprising is that I don’t recall anyone asking me about my views of marriage until recently. Oddly, though, it’s never about my marriage or how I could convince someone to marry me or stay married to me for so long.  No, people want to know what I think about gay people marrying.  I’m not gay, so I’m not really an expert on that.  So be it.

Several folks have asked me about my views of gay marriage.  Now, I’m a fairly conservative sort, and I expect that my response is supposed to be some form of outrage.  Instead, I say:  “I don’t care.  People can marry whomever they want.  It doesn’t affect me.”  Then, I’m likely to be lectured on the Bible, societal collapse and sundry other topics of limited interest to me.    The gist of the response is “HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT??”

Here’s how:  It’s not that big a deal to me personally, but it is to the folks who would like their relationships legally recognized.  When I say I’ve been married 24 years, no one really cares all that much.  Oh, they’ll congratulate me and say “that’s great” or some other lukewarm response.  But, the truth is it’s really only important to me–and my wife (I hope).

If your hands are now poised over the keyboard to explain the Bible to me, stop.  I’ve read the Bible, and I know that it doesn’t speak highly of homosexual relationships.  Speaks poorly of tattoos, too.  And women.  It also says that I should stone my kids to death if they are disrespectful.  Maybe I’ll do that one day.  In the meantime, I’m not one who thinks we should build our laws around the Bible.  Just like the more radical Muslim countries adopt Sharia law, some would have us do the same.  Not me.  By the way, traditional Islam condemns homosexuality, too, so there may be some common ground there with our Muslim brothers.

If you want to belong to a church that won’t ordain a gay marriage, go ahead.  Again, I don’t care.  That’s your business. Now, if YOU are gay and want to get married in a church, I’d suggest changing churches, but again that’s not my business.  Just don’t expect an entire denomination to change its ways to suit you.

That’s church, not the government.  Those are two separate entities, as they are constitutionally required to be.  Our government, which is supposed to provide equal protection under the law, isn’t a church.  The government can–and should in some instances–recognize rights where a church may not.   Some churches don’t approve of dancing.  Yes, that’s right–dancing.  That doesn’t mean we outlaw dancing.  Same goes for drinking and gambling.  Serious vices when taken to extremes, to be sure, but down right Hell fire sinful even in moderation to some folks.  Hey, don’t do it if it’s sinful to you.  If you think a man marrying a man is sinful, then don’t marry a man, unless of course you’re a woman.

What about the collapse of society?  Here’s a secret I’ll share with you:  There have always been homosexuals.  Always.  Society has not yet been crushed under the weight of this fact.  I grew up in just about as conservative an area as one could.  We had gay people.  We knew who they were.  Some were prominent people in our county.  It didn’t seem to affect anyone.

What about destroying marriage and the family?  PUH-LEASE!  I know a guy who’s been married three times who told me that gay marriage would destroy marriage.  Maybe a dude married and divorced that many times is destroying it.  He sure helped destroy three marriages.  I’m not sure how this is supposed to happen.  Will hoards of gay couples come to our house and convince us that we shouldn’t be married?  In my case, I figure if two DUDES can be married surely my beautiful wife and I can handle it.  Maybe we’re supposed to be tempted to marry someone of the same sex if it’s legal.  I pretty comfortable that I won’t do that.

But, what of the Gay Agenda, you say?  I used to know a guy who often spoke of the Gay Agenda.  He never really explained it to me, but from what I could gather it was some type of conspiracy to turn us all gay.  I think I can resist, especially since I’ve known a lot of gay people who people tried to make straight.  That didn’t work either.  Plus, I’ve always been attracted to women.  That’s not because someone made a persuasive argument to me about it or because I weighed the pros and cons of it.  It’s just kinda the way it is.

There are some things the law will allow that churches frown upon and vice versa.  In some states, you can marry your first cousin.  Some churches allow polygamy.    (Polygamy, of course, is a sign of madness since it’s always the men taking more than one wife, but that’s for another post).

One thing that seems to be lost on everyone is that just because the President or Vice-President or former Vice-President say they think gay marriage is okay doesn’t make it legal.  As matters now stand, each state can make its own laws and many have banned it.  Perhaps they’ll ban divorce one day, too.  Some churches do.

If you are genuinely tormented by the prospect of gay people marrying each other, relax. It’s likely that half of them will get divorced if they’re anything like their hetero counterparts.  Hell, they may be no better at it than we are.  If you really don’t like gay folks, think about this:  Half of them will end up divorced, fighting in court over alimony and child support.  That’ll teach them.

I’m not suggesting that you turn gay or that you attend a gay wedding.  I’m not even suggesting that you like gay people. Personally, the vast majority of crap I’ve taken in my life has been from straight people.  Gay people can’t be any worse.  The gay people I know are like the rest of us.  Some are alright.  Some aren’t.

We’re Americans.  We’re free to disapprove of everyone.  You’re entitled to think what you think and believe what you believe.  Just think about giving everyone else a break.

©thetrivialtroll.wordpress.com 2012