Recently my wife and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. It is a milestone that we celebrated by a few small presents, a nice meal I prepared and then she watched “The Gilmore Girls” on Netflix while I punched up some screenplays on the laptop next to her. I know. We know how to fricking party. While this might sound dull to some people I think a large portion of married folks out there would agree that it sounds pretty awesome. It will especially sound good when you factor two kids into the mix. A bit of quiet alone time. You can’t beat it. I have picked up a lot of tips and tricks over my years of marriage which I will want to share with you. The problem with doing that is that you are not really going to listen. I know you are reading this with the best intentions and I’m not faulting your ability to “listen to your elders” but I was also once you. It doesn’t matter the topic. The topic could be marriage, career, or parenthood and you would be reading the experiences and thinking “sure that happened to you, but that won’t happen to The Kid!” I then imagine you doing pistol fingers and walking like a cowboy around your house. I’m not sure why I imagine that, I can only assume because that’s exactly what I would do when I was younger. Today “The Kid” is “The Man” and he wants to do two things; share with you the top three things he has learned in marriage and stop talking about himself in the third person.
Tip 1: it’s okay to go to bed angry.
This tip is pretty controversial because a lot of “experts” say that the conflict needs to be resolved so that resentment doesn’t take its place. It really depends on the type of argument that has been started. Most arguments that ignite in any domestic relationship are usually pretty trivial. This doesn’t have to be with a spouse, it can be a family member, a friend, anyone that you live with. You live with someone long enough and something they do will annoy you. If you ever meet someone that says they never argue with someone they live with you might want to check their freezer and backyard because they are a serial killer and there are bodies somewhere. Most of the time the igniting factor of the anger is usually your own personality trait and it’s only when you sleep on it that you realize it isn’t a big deal and you can move on. If you get angry then do some exercise, have a shower, and go to bed. If you wake up and whatever it was is still an issue then discuss it. The sleep probably help organize your thoughts anyway and will allow you to be calmer in the discussion.
Tip 2: have your own space.
Having your own space is necessity. I was lucky enough that when my wife and I bought our house there was an undeveloped space in the basement that I was free to fix up and decorate anyway I wanted. Before the house we lived in a small apartment but I still managed to have a little corner of the dining room to just have a writing corner. You need a place that feels 100% yours. Now, I’m not saying that the other person can’t use it but it’s good to have something that is just yours.
Tip 3: it’s 100% okay to sleep in separate beds.
I would not only suggest this but I hope it becomes a thing. If you ever watch classic sitcoms couple had separate beds in the same room and it was a romantic thing to “push them together”. I’m here to tell you that not only will sleeping in separate beds mean a better sleep but it could save your relationship. How many times have they kicked you in their sleep? Stuck their cold hands or feet on you? Breathed in your face or even hogged the middle of the bed? It’s infuriating. This isn’t a problem in separate beds. Again I know I’m fortunate that in our house we actually have separate rooms. I can feel the judgement but I can assure you our relationship is amazing. I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way. It saves her from my snoring, it saves me from random arm twitches that wake me up in the middle of the night. While we are talking about it, and if it’s not to frank, the nights that we “sleep over” in each other’s rooms makes it a little more exciting. I know that this isn’t for everyone. Some people can’t get to sleep without their “snookums” all close up to them. I get that. Think about this though. When they go on a business trip or a family thing and you have the bed to yourself I bet you spread out and enjoy having the whole thing to yourself. I get that every night. Just saying. In conclusion there is no “one size fits all” for relationships or marriage and the joy of every relationship is finding that common ground. Remember to enjoy it, remember that it’s ok to be outside what people consider the norm because if you are both happy then that’s what should be the norm for you.
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Scott Black is a comedian, writer, podcaster, and family man. He has written everything from screenplays, novels, and articles to hastily written jokes on drink napkins. Still trying to figure out what “Milk Carton Golf Bag” means from on of those napkins. Normal Is Not The Norm Click To Tweet