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)
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.
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?