I have a friend getting married this year. I’m sure she’s getting an overwhelming amount of advice, and half she will forget by the time she says ‘I Do’, but I still want to pass a little something on.
Let me start by saying, I regret my wedding vows. Oh, settle down. I’m still in love with my husband and he still loves me. We have a fantastic marriage. Our kid’s are cool. Our house is almost paid for (only 16 more years! Whooo!). Things are fine. But, I’ve come to realize, the vows I made so many years ago don’t really apply now. I mean sorta…but…not really.
See, when you get engaged, everything is smiley, happy, golden, lovey and dovey. (And if it’s not, you should really reconsider that engagement!) So you write your vows for that smiley, happy, golden, lovey dovey time. You will love him forever no matter what. He is a part of you. You share one soul. You are best-friends and the burning heat of your love could start a forest fire. In sickness. In health. Till the only thing that could possibly break that bond is your DEATH. Because that is how you feel at that moment. Before you’re actually married. And living with him every day.
Then, after a few years, a few kids, you’re a little less of all of that. A little less golden. Maybe a tiny bit tarnished. You love your best-friend, but you hate the way he eats spaghetti. And you don’t mind burning down the forest from time to time, but why does it always have to be during Project Runway! And why is it your job to take care of him when he’s sick, but he can’t return the favor!?!? Then, you begin to want your own fucking soul! DO WE HAVE TO SHARE EVERYTHING!?!? CRIMANY!
So what does one do when the original vows no longer really matter? Keep’em, but amend!
For example, one thing we never realized before we got married is we don’t work well together. When you’re engaged you don’t spend a lot of time painting walls and laying carpet and organizing closets. Your biggest issue is the actual wedding and most men are super fine with letting his lady handle that one. Then one day, post nuptials, you have to clean the house. That’s when you realize what sort of freak you’ve tied yourself to forever more. See, with Steven and I, every single time we take on a task together we end up screaming the most unholy horrific things at each other. I won’t repeat them now. You’re too precious to me, dear Reader.
Neither of us is doing it perfectly, just in our own way. Like, I’m a ‘directive’ worker.
“Our directive is to get the house cleaned up for a birthday party.” To me, this means kitchen cleaned. Bathroom scrubbed. Floors swept. Tables Dusted. Let’s get in there and get it done.
Steven is a detail-oriented
pain in the ass person. When I announce our directive he hears, “So Rachel wants me to take 6 hours getting the edges of the carpet swept and then start dusting super tall things that no one sees.”
Obviously, this causes some friction. And let me tell you, I used to like it. I used to think he was a saint for taking on those tedious, thankless jobs. But now, it irritates the shit outta me!
So, a new vow might be, “I will never leave you for being an anal retentive SOB.” and he could say, “and I will never leave you for screaming like a psychopath when we have 4 hours till people start showing up.”
Isn’t that nice?
And don’t think you can only add amendments for the big things like fights and family. Sometimes, we’ll create amendments every day of the week!
“I promise to love you wholly and completely as long as you never buy a pair of skinny jeans. They are stupid. And if you buy a pair of colored skinny jeans, you give me permission to have an affair with a stereo-typical manly-man who beats up guys who wear pink skinny jeans. I think that’s only fair.”
And his might be…
“I will live all the rest of my days with you as long as I don’t have to live a single one of those nights sleeping on the couch just because you’re pissed over something stupid you thought I said even though I didn’t mean it the way you took it.”
See, these are the things you don’t think of when you’re in love. A few others…
“I promise to never hire a pretty secretary. Or even an ugly one.”
“I promise not to have a male best-friend unless he’s very very very very very very gay…but not so gay that he makes you uncomfortable.”
“I promise to love our kids, but I promise you won’t be the only bad guy. They’ll hate me as much as they hate you.”
“I promise to try really hard to not roll my eyes when you start talking about your dumb cars.”
“I promise to still love you after you roll your eyes because I’m talking about cars.”
I even write vows for if things go really really bad.
“I promise if you ever leave me for a 20-year-old blond bimbo I won’t burn your ugly-ass recliner during a maniacal bonfire in the front yard.”
“I promise if you ever cheat me with another man, I won’t spend my time with the kids telling them what a super slut you are. I’ll just whisper it under my breath.”
But don’t let your bad-amendments out-weigh the good ones. Just because things change doesn’t mean they change for the worse! You can still keep the lovey dovey crap!
“I promise to hold your hand through everything. And if you lose your hand, I promise to hold your stump!”
“I promise to keep trying to make you laugh, even after you’ve lost all your teeth.”
So, to keep this long story from getting longer, my advice is don’t forget that everything must change. Make sure the change in your marriage is that it gets better!
My name is Rachel. I am not a licensed marriage counselor, but I am happily married.
Thanks for reading!