Thursday, May 14, 2009

Maise's Guide to Surviving Marriage--Lesson #1

Hi, everyone!

You know, I feel like in the midst of all the brouhaha, I've really come to terms with Trent's impending marriage. I know that many of our newer readers have not, so keep in mind that *all* personal attacks on the happy couple or Iris and me will be swiftly deleted. (sigh)

Anyway...

So Trent is 11 years older than me, and he has a lot more life experience than me. He knows a lot more about music and world travel and fame and what it's like to have a few million dollars. But one thing that I do know more about is marriage, having participated in the institution for nearly nine years now. So my engagement gift to Trent is to pass on some of the wisdom that I have gained all this time through trial and error.

Today I will pass on the first and foremost and most critical lesson for anyone getting married: LEARN WHEN TO KEEP YOUR FUCKING MOUTH SHUT.

This, I think, is the most difficult of all intimate relationship skills to master, but it is also the most valuable. Learning when to keep your fucking mouth shut can prevent bitter arguments or at least keep arguments from escalating. Now, some couples enjoy having blow-out fights on a regular basis, but I am not one of those. So learning when to keep my fucking mouth shut has really helped to keep the peace between Mr. Maise and me.

Some examples:

One of the things that drives me nuts about Mr. Maise is when he has a temper tantrum related to inanimate objects. (You hear me on this, Mariqueen?) Mr. Maise starts to get all shouty about home improvement projects or video games, and my blood pressure just skyrockets. My natural impulse at these times is to say something like, "Well, if the video game is stressing you out that fucking much, maybe you should turn it off for a while!" But that's when his anger at inanimate objects turns into anger at me, and then we both start shouting at each other, and doors slam, and we have to seethe silently for a while, then eventually someone will say something innocuous to try to make up. And these spats are occasionally inevitable, but if I just keep my fucking mouth shut at these times, his anger at inanimate objects passes more quickly than would his anger at me, so we don't have to waste a nice evening pouting.

Last night was the perfect example of when to keep one's fucking mouth shut. I was tidying up the kitchen while Mr. Maise was cooking. When Mr. Maise started to scrutinize my dishwasher-loading technique, I responded with severe aggravation, "Fine! God!" Then he snapped, "What?!" Then I shouted, "STOP MICROMANAGING ME!!!!" Then we had a few moments of annoyed silence, and the fight was over. But that was because Mr. Maise wisely kept his fucking mouth shut at that moment. Later, when we were both feeling more amiable, he chuckled to himself and admitted that at the moment I exclaimed, "STOP MICROMANAGING ME!" he wanted to reply, "But you're not doing it right!" If he had said that at that precise moment, this could all have ended in a stabbing. Instead, we had a good laugh about how a long marriage teaches you to censor yourself at critical moments.

Now, keeping your fucking mouth shut is not a panacea for all of a relationship's challenges. There are times when it's actually very important to open your fucking mouth about something. Like with sex complaints. Or if your spouse is about to be run over in the street by a runaway semi. It's knowing WHEN to speak that's the trickiest part...and the most important.

I'm sure there will be more installments in this series...does anyone else have any constructive relationship tips?

14 comments:

Isabel said...

Good choice. How about don't get drunk and insult members of your other half's family?

maise said...

Oh, that is a good one! It reminds me of the time that Mr. Maise got a little tipsy and told me, "Your mom stresses me out. She's like you x 10." I can't believe he survived that evening...lol

Isabel said...

Well you know what they say about us turning into our mothers

Isabel said...

Since you're billing this as advice to the happy couple I think the boat has sailed on either of them taking heed of your #1

D:ANGEL said...

The trick I'm still trying to learn (angelwoman and I have been married for like 5 minutes but been together and lived together for like 7 years) is to STOP and THINK about WHY the other person may be getting upset. This is not easy, and I myself struggle to follow this advice. But if you can take a second to see why they might be upset it can at least lead to a discussion rather than a "fight"

maise said...

Ah, but it's never too late! It took me nine years of marriage to figure out that it's just best to keep one's fucking mouth shut most of the time.

JR said...

Surprise, surprise, I disagree.

You should TOTALLY fight, provided both of you can handle the blunt truth. If you are both free to tell the other one exactly what you're thinking, it just alleviates so many problems in advance. In this scenario, though, it's not really fighting, more like clearing the air/getting to the bottom of things.

Isabel said...

I love it when couples engage in insane catfights in the street in public and then get annoyed when somebody tries to tell them to shut up saying it's none of your business. Well you just made it everyone's business by fighting IN OUR FACES

maise said...

I'm not completely opposed to fighting in all situations, but I think when you're cohabitating with a person for a really, really long time, there are going to be certain things that annoy you about the other person that you're just going to have to accept. Because you just wind up having the same fights over and over again. Mr. Maise will always yell at his screwdrivers and video games; I will always load the dishwasher in some incorrect way. We both theoretically know that we annoy each other in those ways, but it's not going to change us. Why yell about it constantly? Learn to accept, shut the fuck up, and let it pass...

Isabel said...

We have a thing where my husband is incredibly clumsy and he is always dropping things and he just gets so stressed and shouty by really little things - yet when I inadvertently set fire to the kitchen he calmly moves in and throws a towel over the flames to put them out.

Isabel said...

My husband just chipped in with the old chestnut, if you are a man realise that you are always wrong (this applies much much more when the woman is pregnant - she can do no wrong)

Iris said...

Oh I feel you on this subject matter whole heartedly. There is no other video game in. the. world. I hate more than Halo 3. The 7th grade smack talk, the constant "this is BULLSHIT! this game is CHEATING!", the stomping of the feet, and the squeezing of the controller near it's breaking point (they're not supposed to creak like that, honey). Yes, I loathe and dispise that game. But do I say anything to him while he's acting like a child? No. I do the sensible thing and bitch at Maise via IM until he's chilled the fuck out, then I launch the nag attack.

Speaking of nagging, that's probably some other solid advice for the new couple. Trent, don't nag at he that she hasn't properly folded your black socks or that she miswashed your sparklepants. And Mariqueen don't nag him when he pays more attention to the dogs or spills his protein shake mix on the counter for the umptenth time. And especially don't nag at him in front of the guys. To them he's still supposed to resemble the big boss man.

Ugh! I'm having major computer issues this evening. Worked on it some earlier but to no avail. Still pissed so I'm taking the evening off. Brilliant post though, Maise.

D:ANGEL said...

^^^Why I don't play or have ANY video games. Plus I think those games are time-sucking wastes.

Robin said...

Advice for TR regarding marriage: Remember your longtime crafted image must put away when you enter the bat cave. Also, there are hormone pills for what TR is going through.