How to Survive Marriage

DW and I are coming up on 13 years of marriage in July. I know that’s not long in the whole scope of things. However, when the 15 years we’ve known each other is held up to other relationships we’ve been in, the others pale in comparison. Each of us were in 4 year relationships before. The one we’re in now is over three times as long!

Being a member of male species meant I had a lot to learn. While I didn’t necessarily learn it quickly or even on the first try for that matter, I did learn some valuable lessons on how to keep a marriage strong, healthy, and fun.

In the beginning, I wasn’t too good at many of these. Marriage has a learning curve, after all. Eventually, we learned how to be married and it has made all difference.

A simple “thanks” goes a long way…

Was supper cooked and it was edible? Perhaps it was even delicious. Thank them for for their time and effort to keep you alive. It lets them know you appreciate it and perhaps they’ll do it again tomorrow. They washed your dirty clothes? Perhaps they even put them away for you. Thank them for it so you won’t have to go naked, or worse, wear stinky filthy clothes in public.

Kiss your spouse before you leave for work…

efe8349c478ff927a07e7d5a226ba67d-romance-quotes-lds-quotesIt’s a proven scientific fact that spouse who kiss each other goodbye live longer.

A study conducted during the 1980’s found that men who kiss their wives before leaving for work live longer, get into fewer car accidents, and have a higher income than married men who don’t.

~Joshua Foer NY Times

While getting married certainly isn’t a get rich quick scheme and having kids a certainly a get poor quick scheme, it will help you live longer. I suppose it gives us a reason to come home. If home is where the kisses (and suppers) are, I’m coming home every day. Perhaps it has something to do with wives not killing husbands for being ignored in the morning.

Scare the living shit out of each other…

Jump scares are hilarious. However, be cautious because this has a negative effect on the kisses that lengthen your life. At least once in the marriage scare your spouse while they’re in the shower. Or while they’re drying their hair. From my experience, only attempt this once. Kisses and life are important; a second attempt could put you in the intensive care ward. Also, be prepared for immediate retaliation. While my mom was drying her hair my dad sneaked up behind her with a wooden spoon and a pot.

I’ve never seen anyone in an electric chair, but I now know what it looks like.

~My Dad

Keep the competition alive…

Board games. Video games. Games with friends. Made up games. Fitness challenges. It keeps the competition alive and when the two of you are trying to best each other you are also besting yourself. By competing against each other you make yourself better, too. Be that at Scrabble, Cards Against Humanity, Fitbit, The Punch Buggy game or whatever challenge floats your boat. And if you lose, suck it up. It’s just a game. Shake hands, kiss and try again next time.

Know how to argue…

3ced7bd022f37b98722151a3c50f8df2-funny-marriage-quotes-bride-quotes There’s no need for screaming matches. The kids provide enough of that for everyone. Besides, once you’ve started screaming, the arguing has ended. And just because you’re right doesn’t mean you get to rub in. Unless it was just a playful argument for the sake of arguing. Then you get say “I told you so”. Also, using past offenses is illegal unless it directly applies to the current argument. Someone once said that DW and I likely never argue, that we’re THAT couple. While we may not argue any more, we do have some lively discussions. Like that one about what that student’s last name was. Turns out she was right. Again.

 Find the time, the humor, and the love…

80304cf07cbf6487e62ade438132ea5e--quotes-about-husbands-marriage-marriage-quotes-funny-married-lifeA couple who can laugh with each other and at each each will be a happy couple. You’ve got to find the humor, even if it’s just in the little things like the way I dance like a dizzy June bug and sing like a drunk donkey. Find the time for each other, too. Find yourself without the kids for an hour? Go to lunch or for coffee or a climbing wall. Make it date, even it’s just to school for a parent/teacher conference. Find the time to be married. Find the time where you don’t have be Mom and Dad, but husband and wife. Give head scratches or back scratches or ear rubs or whatever it is to help your bed buddy fall asleep. Give kisses on the forehead, too. Kiss them good bye. Kiss them hello. Kiss them good night. Kiss them good morning. And grab their butt and call them beautiful.

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Motivation

I started writing this post earlier this week and it started getting long. I looked at from afar and thought “if someone else posted this to read I wouldn’t read it because it’s too long” so I scrapped it. I was attempting to compared how running (which I love doing) is like being a dad (which I love being). I had 5 reasons listed with explanations to boot.

It was too much. Fun to write, tedious to read. However, I realized something as I was laying with Bang in bed tonight watching him silently drift off to sleep thinking about the run I wasn’t going to do tonight. Those 5 lengthy (yet true) reasons running and daddy-ing are alike can be boiled down, concentrated and simplified to just one.

MOTIVATION

Sometimes I can’t wait to get out for my run: time to myself, being healthy, endorphins. Sometimes I can’t wait to be with my kids: take them to the library, go geocaching, build snowman or igloo or play with toys in the basement. Sometimes I’d be just as happy to have my shoes bronzed and never go again. I’d regret that though, because that feeling only last a day or two. Sometimes I just want my kids bronzed to go quietly entertain themselves, leave me alone so I can do something mundane like today’s crossword puzzle or read my book or watch last night’s Tonight Show, or eat in peace without being summoned a hundred times. And like the lack of motivation to run, the lack of motivation to be a dad only lasts a couple days hours, max.

My usual runs are 8 miles and take me about an hour. Sometimes I’ll do a 10k as fast as I can. I was down to 44:03 the last time I did that. When I’m motivated I can watch my times drop over a period of a few weeks.

When I’m being a dad things seem to go much smoother. The kids don’t bicker and argue over who’s looking at who. Bang learns to read while Crash learns to comprehend. There’s less sitting and more doing. Today they asked to go to the “parking lot”. There, Crash can ride his scooter and Bang can ride his tricycle without getting squished by a car (ironic, eh?). I didn’t want to go. But I knew if we didn’t, we’d be back inside watching tv or eating or annoying mom each other. So we went. And while they rode I threw snowballs at them. They laughed when I missed (which was most of the time). I’d laugh if I actually got them. We had fun. Running is like that. Most times when I’m not MOTIVATED to go I’ll lace up and go anyway because I know after the first 2-3 miles I’ll be feeling good and after the 6th I’ll be great. 

But sometimes I just need a vacation; a place to hide to eat my ice cream without sharing and a few days to give my tired shoes a rest. 

Lastly, this was a song for Nanny Sharon, but I give it to you… enjoy! http://youtu.be/i0yF_ycK-sY


 

Alpacas, Water Slides and a Lost Hat

This all took place last July of 2013 on Prince Edward Island. It was a life experience for the kids and one they will never forget.

We joined my brother-in-law’s family (wife and 4 kids) and rented a cabin at a campground for 3 nights. That in itself was a great experience. Cousins, campfires, smores, junk food, bar-b-ques and 10:00 bedtimes. The campground was great. It had a playground and kids entertainment and evening hayrides. It also had a giant bouncy “pillow”. It must have been 30 feet long and 15 feet wide and it inflated to a dome and you could bounce on it like a trampoline. At one point there were probably 20 kids on this thing… it was a blast (I loved it, too.)(Of course). Anyway, a bonus to the campground was it’s proximity to a water park. It was 36C (97F) on the day we arrived. We were cookin’ hot. So off to the water park we went.

It was an interesting layout they had the water park. The entrance was at the back while all the water park stuff was at the front. Or at least what I’d call the back and front in relation to the road. Anyway, as we’re walking through the park to get to the water slides we come across a small petting zoo. Thinking the 2 year old would like see the animals we carry him into the small barn. There was a low wall inside and we went over to see what was behind it. At that same moment, the alpaca that was laying down decided to pick his head up to see who coming to see him. Bang lost his mind. Wanted no part of being in that barn any more. Not to see the miniature horses or the donkeys or the guinea pigs. Even mention the word alpaca and he’d start crying. That was the end of the petting zoo. Six months later he still talks about being afraid of alpacas.

The water made it all better. They had a kids’ area with a small wading pool and a bunch of kiddie size slides. I had fun on them too, naturally. The 2 year old learned to float and dunk his head. No alpacas in this water, so it was all good. He was a little otter by they end of the day. Beside the wading pool were the big, giant water slides that required you sit in inner tubes. I took the 6 year old on one. We climbed about 50 feet up and it was our turn to go down. The attendant at the top then told we couldn’t wear our hats or Crocs. She told us to just toss them over the side and pick them up at the bottom. I tossed our Crocs down and they landed in the grass. No problem. I toss his hat down and a gust of wind decides to blow. The hat landed on top of the next water slide down! Stuck. We made several trips back to that slide in hopes that if the wind could blow it onto the slide, it could blow it back off again. No such luck.

We went back to the water park the next day, though it wasn’t nearly as warm. We went over the paddle boats this time. The kids loved that they were shaped like pirate ships. Afterward we decided to go through a fun maze. Or at least we thought it would be fun. It looked fun. Some ropes to climb through, steps to climb and a slide to come down. The 2 year old loves slides as much he loves water, so why not take him down? Because, as I’m carrying a 2 year old, that half way up a skeleton will pop up like a rabid gopher, hydraulics will hissssss like air brakes heard at close range and that 2 year old I’m carrying  will jump out of his skin screaming and crying. Fortunately, there was a slide for us immediately after that so that sort of made it all better – like a band-aid on a boo boo. So now he’s scared of alpacas and skeletons that say “pssss”.