Several of you notified me of this Huffington Post article written by a married woman titled “36 Things I Know After 36 Years of Marriage.”
Let’s examine what she says based on facts and reality instead of feels. This should be fun.
1. If you think marriage would have been much easier with somebody else, you’re probably wrong.
If you’re talking about TMM, traditional monogamous marriage, where there is no legal separation of finances and absolute and forever sexual monogamy is expected by both partners, then yes, that’s right, the marriage won’t be easy with anyone else since humans were never designed to function that way for longer than about 2-3 years.
Any time you attempt do so something diametrically opposed to your core biology, it’s going to be very hard no matter what you do. (Try not going to the bathroom at all for 24 hours and you’ll see what I mean.) It doesn’t matter which other human you attempt it with.
Now, if you’re talking about a type of long-term pair-bonding that is much more congruent towards actual human biology (like OLTR Marriage), then no, it actually does make a difference regarding who you pair-bond with. If I had married a Dominant, high-drama bitch instead of a happy sweetheart like Pink Firefly, my marriage would be extremely hard.
2. Most marital problems are fixable. Really. Even the tough ones.
Incorrect. If your husband really wants to fuck someone else, that’s not “fixable.” Biology again. Ether you need to go let him get some pussy on the side (which I’m sure you won’t allow), or he’ll grit his teeth and suffer for the rest of his life (and then eventually and statistically cheat on you behind your back). Not fixable, unless you completely redefine what is allowed in your marriage (which means it isn’t traditional nor monogamous anymore).
As a matter of fact, the really tough problems are often the ones that have no fix. The fixable problems in a marriage are almost always the little things, like who sits where at the dining room table.
3. The D word (divorce) is a dangerous weapon. I suggest the F word instead: frustrated. Nobody’s heart will be broken if you say, “I’m so FRUSTRATED I could scream!”
Disagree completely. Both parties need to know that the other person can and will end the marriage if happiness can’t be achieved. Otherwise, the other person has zero motivation to play nice. A woman is pleasant and sexual to the degree to which she knows you can and will leave her. This applies to men as well, so I’m being fair here.
4. The term wedded bliss should be stricken from every couple’s vocabulary. Marriage is wonderful in many ways, but expecting bliss makes the inevitable rough times seem like a problem when they’re simply part of the deal.
Obviously I agree. But if your marriage is hard, particularly over a prolonged period of time, then you’re with the wrong person and need to get divorced immediately. (Then ask yourself some very hard questions about why you were so wrong about picking that person as a long-term partner. Remember, everything in your life is your fault.)
5. That bit about how your partner won’t change: Wrong. My husband and I met in our early 20s. If we’d both stayed just as we were, we’d still be two naïve kids, stubbornly insisting we have to have things our way, thinking marriage shouldn’t be as challenging as it is.
People don’t change… but the exception to that is that people can change if given many decades. I believe you when you say your husband has changed over the last 36 years. 36 years is a very long time. That’s older than many guys reading these words have been alive.
The problem is when people get married expecting the other person to change soon, like as soon as they move in or as soon as a baby comes or whatever. Sorry, dumbass. They won’t.
They either won’t change ever (in any large way), or will change but it will take 30 or 40 friggin’ years. The problem is that statistically your marriage won’t last that long, making this entire argument moot.
6. Marriage doesn’t get good or stay good all on its own.
Factually incorrect. If it’s a traditional, monogamous marriage, at around the three year-mark, the marriage will (statistically) start getting worse, even if just a little, all on its own, even if you’re doing everything right and you’re the perfect spouse. Biology again. Sorry.
If you don’t believe me just try it and you’ll see. Move in with a woman in a monogamous relationship (legally married or not isn’t relevant), and wait at least three years. You’ll be surprised at what happens.
But I won’t.
7. Every one of us is, in our own way, difficult to live with. Beginning to work on even one of your own problem behaviors will make a big difference in the quality of your marriage. Added bonus: your spouse will greatly appreciate it!
Correct. (Seven items in and we finally found one that’s actually accurate to the real world. Let’s see how the rest go…)
I’m certainly not easy to live with and I even warned Pink Firefly about this prior to her moving in. (She is easier to live with than me.) Much of this kind of conflict can be avoided by certain living logistics, like having separate blankets in bed, separate bathrooms, separate closets, even separate kitchens (I’m still working on that last one).
8. People who are unhappily married sometimes think marriage is the problem — that marriage is unnatural or outdated or impossible to do well. There’s not a third entity called marriage. Everything that goes on between you is your creation. Each of you playing your part. Why not create something worthwhile?
Absolutely meaningless Disney horseshit. Yes, there is indeed a third entity called “marriage” that was invented by authoritarian Christians during the Dark Ages. And yes, it is the problem.
9. Marriage is a “learn on the job” proposition. None of us comes into it with all the skills we need for success. When the going gets rough it’s most often a sign that we need some new skills — not a sign that we need a new spouse.
True. But there are times you do need a new spouse. That was certainly the case the first time I was married; I was a young idiot and married someone I was not compatible with, under a structure that was never designed to work long-term (traditional, monogamous marriage).
There are also times where you shouldn’t be married at all. There are indeed some men and women who should never live with another human in a romantic context, ever.
10. Struggle in marriage is not only inevitable, it’s necessary. None of us can grow a strong and healthy relationship without having to face and resolve difficult issues.
Partially true. This only applies to the initial first few months, perhaps year or so, when you’re still getting accustomed to A) living with another human being if you’ve never done it before and B) living with someone you’re in love with, sexual with, and with whom you’ve made commitments, which is very different than living with a roommate.
After this adjustment phase, there is never a “need” for “difficult times.” That’s Disney bullshit again.
Problems in a relationship don’t make you stronger. They just piss you off.
11. Even the best marriage can’t make up for the difficulties we faced growing up. We all come with childhood injuries. Thinking your spouse can make you feel safe and secure when you’re wobbly inside is too much to ask. The sooner (and more effectively) you deal with your “stuff,” the healthier and more satisfying your marriage will be.
Very true. Perhaps the truest thing she’s said.
12. Love grows as much from the challenges we face and surmount together as from the delights that we share.
This is a partial repeat of number ten and it’s total bullshit. Drama and problems in a serious relationship do not make love grow. They actually damage both love and trust.
13. Marriage is a long negotiation about how two people are going to run things. Money. Intimacy. Parenting. Chores. You can battle, or you can collaborate. Collaboration is a lot more rewarding.
No, it’s not a long negotiation; it’s a very short one. Again, the negotiation only needs to take place during the initial phase of the live-in portion of the relationship. That’s it. If you’re still arguing/negotiating with your spouse about chores after you’ve been living together for four years, then you’re both either idiots or drama queens.
14. Even the most stubborn among us can learn how to yield. Trust me on this one.
Correct, that’s why Alpha Males who go monogamous become beta males after a few years. I’ve seen it happen scores of times, including with my own father.
She thinks this is a good thing. It’s actually a dreadful thing, and one of the biggest causes of divorce and marital unhappiness.
15. Most of your spouse’s upsets and frustrations aren’t about you — but some are. The sooner you figure out which is which, the better off you’ll be.
16. During hard times, commitment may be your saving grace. The fact that, way back when, you said “‘till death do us part” may be the only reason you keep two feet in long enough to fix what’s not going well. And that’s reason enough.
That only applies to pussies, beta males, and high-drama men. I love Pink Firefly more than I have ever loved a woman, and I want to stay with her the rest of my life, and I’ve made some commitments to her, but if she ever strikes me physically in anger, or if she ever demands I stop having sex with other women, or if she ever demands I work less hours or compromise on my Mission in any way, then, poof! Our marriage is over, perhaps immediately. It doesn’t matter how much I love her nor what my long-term objectives for the relationship were or are. My goal is long-term consistent happiness, not to be chained to a shitty or even mediocre marriage for the rest of my life.
The goal is not to be married forever. The goal is to be married as long as possible (possibly forever) while you’re both still happy.
17. Marriage can make you a better person or a worse person. It’s your choice.
True. Just remember that TMM isn’t compatible with human biology, regardless of your intentions.
18. Complaints and criticisms aren’t the same thing as requests for change.
If you want to be long-term happy in a marriage, you’ve got two choices:
1. If you dislike something regarding the other person and it’s causing a real problem, come to that person in a calm tone of voice and in the spirit of collaboration between two mature adults and work it out, knowing you may not get 100% of what you want and accepting that as best you can.
2. Suck it up and keep your fucking complaints to yourself.
Complaining is unacceptable. So are demands for the other person to change.
19. Discouragement is one of the greatest threats to marriage. I’ve seen struggling couples give up on marriages that could quite likely be saved had they been given the proper guidance and encouragement to hang in there and fix things.
I agree in general, but again, the goal is not to maintain a shitty or mediocre marriage. Maintaining a marriage is not the objective. Happiness is.
20. Thinking you have a 50-50 chance of ending up divorced makes it seem like a coin toss. It’s not. There are some behaviors that nearly guarantee failure. We all know what they are. It’s a good idea to not do them.
Incorrect! You can not control the actions, behaviors, and desires of the other person. You can only control yourself (and even that is difficult). So even if you are the perfect spouse forever (and you’re not and you won’t be), your odds of divorce are still sky-high, because you’re reliant on that other person, whom you can’t control, to play nice for the next 50+ years straight.
Good fucking luck.
21. Being nice helps.
I think she’s running out of ideas to make her list of 36 items.
22. Saying thank-you does, too.
Confirmed, she’s running out of ideas.
23. The happier I am about my own life, the less irritated I am about my husband’s irritating behaviors.
Very true. That is exactly why happiness must always be the goal. If you have a great marriage to a great woman and you still dislike your life, your marriage won’t work. If you’re the perfect husband in every way but married to a woman who is unhappy with the rest of her life, your marriage won’t work.
HAPPINESS FIRST. MARRIAGE SECOND. Societal Programming teaches the opposite.
24. A good marriage will have its share of conflict, frustration, boredom, unresolvable arguments, slammed doors and nights where one person sleeps on the couch. The key is to have enough good things to balance them out.
Wrong. A marriage that involves these things on a regular basis is not a good marriage and should be terminated immediately.
Now, yes, everyone can have a bad day every once in a while. If your wife is a bitch two or three times a year, then okay, fine, be a man and suck it up. You can be a dick sometimes too. But if she’s a bitch all the time? No. Time to end it.
25. It’s not always easy to keep your heart open.
Very true. I’ve had this problem myself. Even tough, asshole INTJs need to chill out sometimes and just feel.
26. Love matters. While love doesn’t heal all, even (especially) during hard times, love is a touchstone, a reminder of why you got together in the first place.
More Disney BS.
Love is not the answer. Happiness is. Nothing justifies unhappiness, including love. More than once in my life have I had to end a relationship with someone I loved because she was not making me happy. HAPPINESS FIRST. MARRIAGE SECOND.
27. Marriage is not an antidote for loneliness. While marriage provides companionship, closeness and connection are not a constant. Sometimes we’re in sync. Sometimes we’re not. It’s important to be able to soothe and comfort yourself when need be.
Correct. Everyone must first have the ability to be alone and be happy while alone before attempting any serious, long-term, live-in relationship. I talk about this in my primary book.
28. It’s easy to get into a rut when you’re with the same person, year after year. Sex. Vacations. Dinner. How you spend Saturday night. Change things. Add some spice.
THAT’S EXACTLY WHY YOUR MARRIAGE SHOULD NOT BE MONOGAMOUS. I get all the “spice” I want in my marriage; it’s called having three or four hot, young FBs on the side at all times. It works great.
I am 100% convinced that if all marriages allowed both parties to go get a little discreet, condomed, meaningless but enjoyable sex on the side when needed, the overall divorce rate would go down, not up.
Too bad society is too needy and stuck up their own asses to give it a try on a mass scale.
Oh well. Not that I care.
29. Most good marriages have one person who plays the role of the relationship “guardian”: The person who brings up difficult subjects. The person who stays hopeful in hard times. The person who acts as a steadying influence when one or both of you are getting worked-up. In an ideal world, that role would be shared. In the real world it only takes one.
Yeah, this is more or less true in most marriages, including mine (I am this person).
30. One of the best things to do in the midst of a fight is to stop fighting. Take a break. Cool down. Come back to it later. Hotheads are terrible problem solvers.
Correct, very much so. The problem is this is very hard to do for most women and Alpha Male 1.0s, both of whom have a tendency towards drama instead of away from it.
31. Some conflicts cannot be resolved by compromise. (We can’t have half a child or buy half a vacation home). When there’s no such thing as “meeting halfway,” the solution becomes a matter of generosity, where one person says “yes” to their second choice and the other acknowledges that as a gift.
This is accurate. Now here’s how to handle it:
When the issue is a small one (where you have dinner that night), then just give it to her and move on. Who gives a fuck? Focus on the big things, not the little ones. You’ll be a happier man that way.
When the issue is a large one (“Stop having sex with other women!”), stand your ground. Be nice, be flexible, but never give in. Example: “I’m always going to have sex with other women, for the rest of my life, period, end of story, and if that’s going to make you really angry, you need to divorce me immediately because this isn’t going to work. But that being said, I love you and I’m willing to be flexible about this and work with you on it. Is there anything I can do regarding sex on the side that would make you more comfortable?”
32. Fights are never about content. Where we store the dish soap, whether it’s quicker to take the frontage road or the freeway, whether it’s horribly rude not to answer a text — none of these are worth getting ourselves all in a twist. Our upsets are about the larger meaning we make of that unanswered text, that resistance to influence, that refusal to take seriously the things we request. It’s really helpful to accurately name what’s setting you off.
Absolutely correct. It’s up to YOU to be outcome independent so these things won’t bother you. Read my book on how to do this.
33. There’s a big difference between being happily married and living happily ever after. None of us are happy 24/7. Thank goodness we don’t need to be.
I already addressed this above. Unusual, reasonably rare unhappiness in a marriage is fine. Regular unhappiness in a marriage is unacceptable and you should just get divorced if that problem can’t be resolved.
34. When you think to yourself, I really shouldn’t say this, you’re probably right.
Correct. This is particularly true for blunt, outcome independent Alpha Male 2.0 types like yours truly.
35. Learning how to make up is essential since you’ll never, ever, get to a point where neither one of you screws up.
Okay, but the goal is to not have to make up very often because drama or conflict in your marriage is so rare.
36. One of you has to go first. Apologize first. Be vulnerable first. Yield first. Forgive first. Why not let that person be you?
I generally agree. If you’re at fault (and many times you will be), apologize and do so quickly. If you’re not at fault but the issue is a minor one (and almost always it will be), just blow it off and move on. Real arguments should be saved for big, giant, important issues, which again, should be very, very rare.
So on the overall, she had a few accurate observations mixed in with a shitload of Disney bullshit and “drama is healthy / being unhappy a lot is okay” Societal Programming.
About what I expected.