Subscriber Services Weather

Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Saturday, June 24, 2006

365 Days and Counting

To all the hater, doubters, ex-girlfriends, buddies, ex-buddies, etc., who were skeptical of me getting married, you can all bite me!

Today, my friends, is my one-year wedding anniversary. I have survived one year at this. More importantly, my wife has survived one year at this.

And guys, I can tell you some truths and some myths that I have learned in this first 12 months of the rest of my life.

Women, you pay attention too in case your husbands are actually trying and you just don't realize it.

So guys,
  • all the cartoonish stories you heard from dad and granddad about her being "always right?" Myth. Unless you are the biggest screw-up on the planet, she will be wrong sometimes. And the worst thing you can do is lose your spine and concede E-VER-Y-THING to her. It won't make her think you're sweet and cuddly. It will just make her think that you are weak and can't take a stand....Unless, of course, she's evil and sadistic. Then she will want you to be spineless and take blame for everything.
  • The stories from dad and granddad about not sweating the small stuff? Truth. Trust me, she will sweat enough small stuff for both of you. And if you're not sweating your own small stuff, then when something is upsetting her that you just don't get - like how a hair is out of place, or an outfit that looks terrific to you doesn't feel quite right to her, or a squirrel in your front yard looks malnourished so she wants to catch it and nurse it back to health - it's a perfect opportunity for you to show you care by expressing concern. But your little things? Seriously, don't sweat 'em. In the grand scheme, most of your little things are your own creations and involve you screwing up at work, forgetting to pick something up or drop something off for her, or glancing for 15/16ths of a second too long at the woman walking past you on the sidewalk. So, in theory, if you improve your memory you'll eliminate your little things and can focus soley on hers.
  • The logic from your buddies that she knows she's the only girl for you? Myth. She knows nothing! That's not a knock on her. It's a testament to the fact that so many guys have been weasels in years past that many savvy women just don't feel they can just take it as a given that we are loyal to them. We must demonstrate to our women how we feel about them guys. I'm not talking about public kinkiness. I'm talking acts of affection. For example, when you're standing on the sidewalk in South Beach and a super model walks by - an entirely believable scenario, BTW - a clueless guy might take his allotted peek and then turn back to his woman. That guy is a dummy, because I guarantee you that her back may be turned, but through the eyes in the back of her head your woman also saw that super model. The smart guy will grasp his woman's hand even tighter, or pull her in for a hug. That does more than words for her. It tells her that you feel something big and special for her and that even if you are surrounded by Miss America contestants she's the hottest woman around.
  • The logic from your buddies that she knows how you feel about her? Myth. This may sound like the last point. But it's not. That your wife is pretty may be a given. That she dresses well may be a given. That she cooked a great meal may be a given. But if you don't tell her each of those things she'll wonder how you feel and may even assume that you don't have positive feelings. So tell her often that she is pretty and looks great in whatever she's wearing. Tell her often she smells nice (or she will assume her scent is no sweeter than your dingy musk). Tell her the meal was delicious (or she'll assume you hate it).
  • The logic from your old thrice divorced alky uncle that you should always stand your ground, no matter what? Myth. Humble yourself sometimes. There are times she'll know she's wrong about something but she'll feel so overwhelmed about whatever that she can't bring herself to admit it to you. You could press her on it and declare some sort of moral victory. But if you do, you're gonna create an awkward cloud in the room, and you'll inadvertently lengthen the "healing" period. Or you could brush it off, laugh it off, give her a hug or a kind word and tell her it's no big deal. And that will demonstrate to her that you're not a control freak. And, unless she is a sadist, she will appreciate the gesture and the awkwardness will dissipate sooner, and the healing period will be over instantly.
  • The logic from your colleagues that she doesn't want to hear about your day at work? Truth and myth. She doesn't want to hear you describe every widget you assembled or every TPS report that you filled out. That stuff is tedious, and will either put her to sleep, cause her to look at you in a new light, a bored light, or make her think that you believe your job is the be all and end all. She does, however, want you to tell her how your day was and about special things at work - a promotion, a compliment from the boss, a funny incident. It makes her feel like she's an insider, a part of the team.
  • The logic from your sister that your woman needs you to pay attention? Truth. Sleeping on the floor or the couch will become habit for you if your wife or girlfriend asks if she looks "fat in this dress" and you nod yes, because you were reading the paper and not paying attention. BTW, if she ever really asks that question, it's because women have been conditioned in this society to believe they are too big unless they look like coke-snorting models. So, guys, the answer to that question is always NO! Even if you are not literally telling the truth (and in my wife's case I would be ;>), you are showing her moral support. No matter the circumstance, she looks great - even when she has stomach flu, and is wearing pajamas and no makeup.
  • Finally, if ever you feel you can't tell the truth about something she asks involving her appearance, new art she purchased for your house, or some food she made, then do not try to be a diplomat. To her a neutral answer may as well be a negative answer. So to be safe, do like the guy in the Snickers commercial and stuff your mouth so full that she can't make out your answer. She will take your smile to mean that whatever garbled nonsense came out of your mouth was complimentary.

So those are a few of the things I've learned in year one. Trust me guys. I tested all these theories, even the bad ones, and sometimes inadvertently. But I tested 'em. And I know I write the truth here.

Peace and hair grease till tomorrow.



  • Good advice, James!

    By Blogger SpookyRach, at 8:44 PM  

  • For a one-year anniversary celebrant you are remarkably wise.
    Keep it up and you, too, can make it to 25 and beyond.
    I loved this post. It applies to newly married or oldly married. Seriously.
    And always let her buy shoes. We honestly don't care what you think about those. Unless it's the price. Even then, piffle.

    The Frothmistress

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:37 PM  

  • Good words indeed! & well done for sticking at it.

    I've heard that the first year is the hardest. Mind you, the next twenty-four can be pretty tough at times too. But it can be done.

    Congratulations to you both.

    By Anonymous Bronchitikat, at 11:04 AM  

  • Congratulations!

    And great relationship advice ... married or not!

    Truth is the one thing that can kill any relationship is lack of courtesy, consideration and respect.

    And yes, The Frothmistress makes a very good point! Shoes fix all! :-)

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 1:50 PM  

  • Congrats! That is some great advice there. One thing I would add is not to be afraid of a fight. I don't mean Jerry Springer throwdown, but just a simple argument. When couples brag about going 'so long' without a fight, it's like saying that they don't get passionate about issues or have strong feelings to even take offense, or stand up for their convictions. To me, it seems, the biggest test of a couple is how you recover from a fight. Me and my better half have been married for almost 3 years. We have our fights, rarely, learn about each other, improve our communication to keep it from happening again and move on.

    By Anonymous ChrisA, at 9:28 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home