Love Month: The Doctor is In

February 10, 2010

My wife and I didn’t go to pre-marital counseling.

In a time when tons of people end their marriages, that may surprise some people.  We just didn’t make time for it.  That’s our fault.  Everyone thinks that people who are about to get married need a ton of advice.  When there’s an engaged couple in the room, every married couple is suddenly licensed in relationship counseling.  Heck, half the reason I got married was to give advice to more people who didn’t ask for it.

Most soon-to-be’s get lots of advice from many different people.  There’s the pre-marital stuff that tries to get the nuts and bolts of relationships.  Then you get the surly, salty “advice” about how relationships “really work” from the couple who’ve been married for twenty years…somehow.  On the wedding day, the preacher usually tries to make sure the couple knows marriages are “hard work.”  Then you get a bit of intoxicated sagely advice from the best man at the reception.

And yet, for all the wise counsel, it is inevitable that newlyweds will still find surprises.  So today, in continuing my big syrupy series of blog posts on love, and all that gag-worthy nonsense, I’m busting four big marriage myths. You, or your kids, or your best friend need to hear this before walking down the aisle.  Maybe we should’ve made counseling a priority.  You decide…

Four Huge Marriage Myths

Myth #1:  Slumber Parties
Many newlyweds, intoxicated by delirious visions of romantic comedies and mattress commercials, eagerly run to bed like two children in their PJs on the night before Christmas, to blissfully fall into each others’ arms and drift away to sleep, cradled in gentle embrace…

…Only to find out that this is one of the biggest lies the world has told them.  Sleeping isn’t a team sport.
Sleeping is an activity best done alone.  This will come as a terrible shock to many young newlyweds.  They will attempt to defy the laws of nature, and contort themselves in unnatural ways into some comfortable position in which to sleep right next to one another.  Of course, if they are successful at actually falling asleep, they will awaken to the feeling that their limbs have been forcibly removed due the lack of blood circulation.  Thus, they will feel betrayed and insecure about their prowess in bed.
Observe Exhibit A to the left.  This “couple” is not asleep.  They are acting.  What on earth is her arm doing?  Is it broken?  No one does that.  And where is his arm?  Either he has no arm, or it is being crushed under her weight, or it’s wedged awkwardly between them.  SLEEP FAIL.

This myth needs to be brought out in pre-marital counseling.  Fiances need to understand that they are not marrying new pillows.  They are marrying people made of arms and elbows and other sharp points, which produce intolerable amounts of heat, and are heavily insulated under piles of blankets.

If you want to snuggle with something cuddly, try a bag of power tools.

Myth #2:  Gang Showers
Around Christmas, my wife and I were gathered with three other couples, married four years (us), three years, one year and six months.  We’re all longtime friends.  All of a sudden, one of the girls poses a question for the rest of us to consider:

“Does anyone really take showers together?” 

There was a hint of disappointment in her voice.  The rest of us thought a moment.  I spoke up and said, “No.  It doesn’t work.”

Everyone, relieved that someone else had spoken up first, agreed.  Somehow, probably through Herbal Essence commercials, we had all gotten it into our newlywed heads that this would be just a terrific idea.  (I think this is one of those things that is tame enough for the Christian marriage books to suggest.)  And for everyone, it was epic fail.  And then, everyone seemed to think that they were alone in their shame.  The idea that two adults will be able to share a shower is a terrible myth that fiances need to come to grips with. 

Here’s why:  Guys, it is in a woman’s low-temperature nature to hog all the hot water and not leave any for you.  Sharing baths is likely an activity you last did with a sibling when you were in kindergarten.  It’s best that way.

Myth #3:  “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is a Good Movie
This should be self-evident, but apparently, it needs to be said.

Myth #4:  Best Day Ever
Most eager fiances are certain that their wedding day will be the “best day ever.”  That’s why people spend tons of Dad’s cash and stuff themselves into uncomfortable dresses, and dance their butts off: because it’s the “best day ever,” and you’ve never been more in love than on this day!  Yea!  That’s pretty much the premise of shows like Bridezillas: girls who are convinced that their “best day ever” is being ruined.  But then, they aren’t interested in being married, they’re interested in having a wedding.

Sure, weddings are great.  But if your wedding day is the best day of your marriage, then you have nothing to look forward to.

My wife and I were really blessed by something one of her friends wrote to us.  She said, “May your wedding day be the day you love each other the least.”  It took a bit for that to sink in for us.

When I look at two geriatrics in a nursing home, hunched over on walkers together, who’ve been married for 80 years, I am convinced that I don’t know one blasted thing about love.

There.  You just completed Dr. Matt’s marriage counseling.  What advice, anecdotes, or myths can you share?  Do you think pre-marital counseling is mandatory?  For the singles, what can you advise us about friendships, or being good at being single?