I’m thinking of opening my own marriage counseling service. My wife and I have been married for close to three decades. Now I would need to tell anyone who came to me that my wife is the brains of the outfit. Outside of that, what qualifications do I bring to the job? Oh, absolutely none.
But, I’ve walked into an enough fights and have seen enough people fighting to know that if you communicate and find a way to compromise on a few topics, you, at least increase of your chances of surviving the day. If you keep at it, then you increase your chances of surviving the week, month, year and eventually making your marriage work. If you don’t avoid these few areas, then all bets are off, you’re looking for trouble. Here we go:
Newlyweds: Divvying up the chores? Who washes the dishes, who tackles the laundry? Who makes the bed, who dusts the bedroom? Mess up this one and you’ll come home one night, find your bags packed, and find yourself sleeping in the doghouse.
New parents: Who changed the last diaper and who’s going to get up with the baby in the middle of the night? Tired from a long day, it doesn’t matter. You better be prepared or you could be on permanent diaper duty! (Trust me on this one: you don’t want permanent diaper duty. It’s not a fun job.)
Five to ten years of marriage: Danger zone, danger zone, danger zone. We all need a red flashing danger zone light to warn us from looking too long at the sun. We need the same type of warning in relationships when dealing with questions like where to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas and other holidays? Or even better yet, asking your spouse what they talked about with someone from the opposite sex:
- What were you talking about with that hunky guy at the convenience store?
- Why were you talking with that cute receptionist at the doctor’s office?
Ten to 20 years of marriage: Forgetting a birthday or anniversary. If you forget a birthday in the first few years of dating or marriage, it’s bad, it’s not a good thing, but it’s not the end of the world, you can make it up. When you’ve been together for awhile though, you could be looking at something worse than the doghouse: you could be looking at the silent treatment.
Empty nesters: The house is quiet. You don’t have the little pitter patter of children running afoot anymore, but that doesn’t mean that you’re off scott-free. You face the toughest question in the world: Where do you want to go out to eat? You start to tell your spouse to pick, but she comes back with “No, you pick!” You think okay, I’ll make a choice. You remember that you’ve been hungry for Beef Fried Rice or even Kung Pao Chicken, so you pick Chinese. You think you’re home free, then your spouse says, “No, not Chinese again. How could you make such an awful choice.”
Good grief, you’re in trouble again.
Like walking in a field of land mines, you have to be careful where you step. One more troublesome spot to watch out for: never, ever, forget to say I love you when you start and end your day.
Yea, but what do I know about marriage counseling, I’m just a guy trying to avoid the doghouse. Ha, ha. Good luck.