12 1/2 Rules For Having A Happy Marriage

Guess what, you guys? We did it! We made it all the way to two entire years of marriage, which is like 17 for people who aren’t naturally as irritable and annoying as Mr. and Mrs. Meanopause are!

And because, as everyone knows, 17 is the “List Anniversary,” I have decided to share with you all this special present I made for Mr. M (who I’m sure is frantically busy coming up with an Anniversary List of his very own, unless he screwed up and bought me something I actually need or want, like a necklace or a bag of Candy Corn).

As the old saying goes, no truly useless internet list has ever been compiled without the help of a committee, so I must give credit to the three thousand Rules for Having a Happy Marriage lists I found while trolling for material to steal inspiration, and to Mr. Meano, whom I may or may not be directly quoting in places, as well as to the precocious and uncanny wisdom of the only child left in the house after the rest of them selfishly decided to go to college and leave their poor mother to stand around asking for advice from a bunch of people this last one, whoever she is, isn’t, until I finally arrive at her name, whatever that might actually be. She cut her hair, so I have no goddamn idea.

Thus, here is a list of the 12 1/2 most important rules you need to observe in order to have the very best Meanopause Marriage that ever was or will be. I’ve listed them in order of importance, but I’ve already forgotten whether that was from most to least or vice versa (or maybe I put the really important stuff in the middle where no one will read it, because then Mr. M and I win! Ha Ha, Jk! Kk, time for beddie-by!).

  1. Never Go To Bed Sober.

This is not just good advice for a healthy marriage, but an excellent life strategy in general. Because, let’s face it: you are that much nicer a person when you are the teensiest, tiniest bit sloshed.

Also way smarter, and full of useful information about how the PSAT/NMSQT program worked thirty years ago, as well as an excellent strategist and anagrammammer.

Anagrammammist.

Arranger of words in games played on mobile devices.

  1. Never Go To Bed Angry.

This is not usually a problem if you carefully and religiously observe Rule #1. But in the rare event that you happen to be a really mean drunk, or you’ve run out of vodka, or you have a pesky medical test for insurance purposes in the morning, you should try not to go to bed feeling angry at your spouse.

This is because you are much better at fighting in writing than you are in person, and you will most likely get out of bed to draft a strongly worded email at some point in the night, and then you will remember that there is a nearly full bag of Candy Corn in the desk drawer just below your computer.

2.5. Never Go To Bed After Eating A Nearly Full Bag of Candy Corn.

I mean, maybe you should walk around the house for a while, or watch some Netflix on the treadmill?

  1. Always Tell The Truth To One Another.

Unless lying will make you more popular.

And definitely don’t tell the truth about telling the truth to the cop at the DUI stop just outside the airport in Albuquerque that you drank a Bloody Mary on the plane 7 hours earlier, because your husband and his family will make fun of you throughout the rest of your sister-in-law’s wedding weekend, and here you’d had this dream of bonding with them by making fun of someone else.

  1. Keep It Interesting.

And by “it,” I mean, of course, the story about the podcast you heard on the drive home from work.

  1. Always Kiss One Another Goodbye.

Especially if one or more of your many children is standing nearby.

In which case, remember to be audible. Say “Smoochie-smoochie!” as you kiss, loudly and with feeling, because it is important to set a good example in case they ever decide to have children of their own to gross out.

  1. Agree To Disagree.

Because you are almost always right, and how are you ever going to watch the rest of this interminable House Of Cards episode if you keep arguing about how the PSAT/NMSQT program worked thirty years ago? Sure, you could Google, but what if it turns out that you are wrong? Better to just pat your spouse’s hand reassuringly and say, “Okay, Honey. You just go ahead and believe whatever you’d like, and remind me again who that Remy guy is really working for, because I thought he hated Frank.”

Note: if you do find yourself watching complicated television programs at bedtime, try waiting until at least halfway through the episode before you start your nightly drinking.

  1. Don’t Play Games.

Especially not Words With Friends.

Because you are not friends, dummy. You are spouses, and every Z or blank you draw near the end of an otherwise extremely close game has a direct effect on your sex life, so think really hard about playing “zeugma” on any triple-letter/triple-word spaces on the board, and why the fuck isn’t “hrtl” an acceptable word, anyway, if a stupid made-up word like “zeugma” is?

Or “rthl”??

Come on! Not even “thrl”???

  1. No Matter What Stupid Things You Do Or Say To One Another, Remember That You Will Always Love Each Other.

Though now just a little bit less.

  1. Ha Ha, Just Kidding! See, That Is Also A Good Rule: Make Jokes. All The Time! Never Stop With The Crazy Jokes! Especially If You’re Going To Have That Stupid Rule About Always Telling The Truth! Because After A While, Who Can Tell, Amiright?
  2. Never Bring Up Mistakes of the Past.

Unless they will help you to score points in your argument.

For example, should someone decide to use the Google to find out the thing about the PSAT/NMSQT thirty years ago, you can swiftly change the topic by reminding someone that he mispronounced the word “effete” when telling you that fascinating story about the podcast he heard on the drive home.

  1. Always Admit When You’re In The Wrong.

Unless it will make you look bad.

In which case: stand your ground, while making up new rules.

  1. Never Google In Bed.

Whelp, there you have it! Here’s to another 17ish great years of marriage, my darling! Happy Anniversary to all, and to all a thrl night!

About Heather Aronson

Heather Aronson is a freelance writer and editor. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona way back in the 1980s and has put it to scant use ever since, publishing a few short stories in now-defunct magazines (including American Short Fiction) and storing a handful of novels in now-defunct boxes. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA, in a new house with some of her children, her new husband, and a bunch of old stuff that totally doesn’t go together. Especially the cow creamers.

3 responses to “12 1/2 Rules For Having A Happy Marriage”

  1. elkairys says :

    Dear Mrs. Meano,

    Since I am a rule-follower from waaaay-back, beginning with close adherence to Elizabeth Bishop and her dictum regarding “closets, closets and more closets”, and thus remaining in one for oh, nearly 38 years, I was so delighted to discover your rules for a happy marriage. (But does it matter if I am not actually, technically in a marriage? Does a relationship count, though my beloved insists that “partnership” simply does not have the same ring a ding ding as “marriage”. Perhaps there should be Rule #13: Selective Hearing, as yet one more way to ensure I endure, ahh, get to enjoy, another 4 years of partnership bliss.)

    As well as Rule 5.5: Forgetting to kiss one another goodbye… always guarantees that you will hear about it (unless you invoke Rule #13), continually, endlessly, throughout the day.

    And why not Rule 7.5: Addendum to the prohibited games-ping pong. Because it really is astonishing how forcefully a small plastic ball can be slammed across the room, if one neglects Rule #11…or if one has forgotten Rule #14-Your Spouse is (Nearly Always) Right.

    I’d love to continue by adding addendum A: Beware Advice From Children ( I really believed them when they said I was the “hip Mom”) but I have been religiously following Rule #1.

    • Heather Aronson says :

      Dear elkairys,

      I have but one thing to say to this marvelous comment: Yes, a relationship counts!! And I can’t believe I forgot Rule # 13! (I cannot, however, endorse Rule #14, because that would make me look bad.)

      And now I am going out to buy a Ping-Pong table. I’m a little worried about playing it after the observation of Rule #1, but I, like you, am deeply religious in my observances, so I guess this will just be a risk I take.

      xoxo, Mrs. Meano

  2. Elizabeth Kairys says :

    Dear Mrs. Meano,

    Since I am a rule-follower from waaaay-back, beginning with my close adherence to Elizabeth Bishop and her dictum regarding “closets, closets and more closets”, and thus remaining in one for oh, nearly 38 years, I was so delighted to discover your rules for a happy marriage. But does it matter if I am not actually, technically in a marriage? Does a relationship count? (I could use an emphatic “It sure does!!!” from a marriage expert such as yourself since my beloved is of the school of thought that “partnership” simply does not have the same ring a ding ding as “marriage”? Perhaps there should be Rule #13: “Practice Selective Hearing”, as yet one more way to ensure I endure, ahh, get to enjoy, another 4 years of partnership bliss.)

    And let’s add Rule 5.5: “Forgetting to kiss one another goodbye… always guarantees that you will hear about it (unless you invoke Rule #13), continually, endlessly, throughout the day.”

    Why not a clarifying Rule 7.5: “Addendum to the prohibited games-ping pong”. For it really is astonishing how forcefully a small plastic ball can be slammed across the room if one neglects Rule #11…or if one has forgotten Rule #14-“Your Spouse is (Nearly Always) Right”.

    I’d love to continue by adding addendum A: “Beware Compliments From Children” (I believed them when they said I was the “hip Mom”) but I have been religiously following Rule #1.

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