It's been 12 years now, 12 years of marriage. I decided to give it another couple years (not the marriage, this review) just in case. I mean, it happens all the time. You've had something for years, works great, then as soon as the extended warranty expires, that thing you've enjoyed flawlessly suddenly explodes and starts emitting nuclear radiation. Even if there wasn't a speck of nuclear material in the silly thing to begin with.
So, yeah, I wanted to place a thorough consumer review out there in the off chance that it could help a myriad of troubled souls out there, wondering feverishly if they too should bite the bullet and follow in my footsteps.
But I really felt I should wait the extra 2 years. 10 years (the normal span for a marriage warranty) is actually a pretty good run, especially by today's standards, but you just never know.
So, without further adoooooo, for others out there thinking of getting one, here is...
An Objective Review of My Spouse!
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Now, because I forgot to close my office door and my wife saw that last line, I will now be continuing this review from the comfort of a hospital ER waiting room chair.
So, let's get on with it, shall we? I'm not quite certain how long my spleen will hold out, so here we go.
I always knew I'd get married. I was the fortunate by-product of a healthy, happy union between my Maw and Paw, so getting hitched always seemed like a good way to go.
And so, like a conscientious consumer, I began my languid search for a long-term mate like a teenager kicking tires at the neighborhood car lot.
"Eh, she's pretty, but low on ambition. She'd be fun for a summer but that's about it, methinks."
"How's the quality regarding the leather? I need to know she'd be okay getting dirty with a landscaping shovel."
"She doesn't like the mountains and wants to live in a big city?! No thanks, not looking for a project girl."
In my youth, I went on a few dates with a couple girls, a dinner here, a movie there, but nothing amounted to much more than a nice time out.
And then we moved.
The parental units thought it was high time we moved to a smaller, cleaner community, closer to the natural areas we loved to play in during the weekends. At first, I was apprehensive, as any socially awkward high school teenager would be. I would be leaving my old neighborhood and friends, trying to make a new life in a strange community, all during my final high school years. That's a lot of adjustment for a young lad trying to figure himself out.
And then I saw some of the houses the folks were thinking of moving into, which, really, made our old place look like a pile of nutty crap.
"Holy Hell! Nuts to childhood memories, we're moving into this muthuh right now! Where're the keys to the moving truck? I'm driving. Let's go, Ma!"
And it turns out, that move was the best thing that's ever happened to me. Because, just a couple weeks into our new home, I met my future wife.
She wasn't in the home, or anything, like a squatter or weird transient or something, hiding by the fireplace. I just meant, well, you know what I meant.
It was at a church youth group that we met. I know, I know, I'm such a good boy. But to be honest, it was my folks who kind of pushed me to go, and everything changed for me after that.
With subsequent group outings and a few warm summer evenings spent comfortably in each other's company, I soon fell completely in love with a one of a kind girl.
Olive skin, bright eyes, an entrancing smile and infectious laugh, I was downright smitten with her. She was adventurous, compassionate, and she was so refreshingly down to earth that she could have been the fifth element.
And that was it. Before long, I knew I'd found my soulmate, and I couldn't imagine not being with her.
Now, I think of myself as a conscientious consumer, and I tend to be as diligent and thorough as I can before I finalize any agreement, purchase or acquisition.
And that's why YOU'RE here too, am I right? You're not interested in all the silly, fluffy details about how some shnook fell hopelessly in love. You can't measure that stuff. Love is subjective, so it doesn't mean a heck of a whole lot to someone trying to make a sound life decision. You want quantifiable data, something you could stick in a bar graph and say "Well, that is something to consider... As a wife or husband's inclination for collecting Beanie Babies goes up, there seems to be a reverse trend for them wanting to attend monster truck rallies. How curious…"
So here it is, O' shrewd marital investor. An objective and measurable account of my experience with a spouse and whether or not it's a good relationship move. Just don't let your significant other read this if you can help it. Hospital beds ain't that comfortable, trust me.
Disclaimer: Although this review focuses on my experience with a traditional spouse, a full-fledge married-by-the-book type-o-wife, it can easily be applied to any other relationship permutation, whether married, common-law, polyamorous, partner (loving or cowboy; see"podnuh") or Stockholm syndrome hostageness. In short, if at some point in the relationship there exists the possibility of accidentally using someone else's toothbrush, then this applies.
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The first thing I had to figure out was What kind of mate do I want? That question helped me determine where I should concentrate my search efforts.
For example, if I wanted to find someone who was athletic, sporty, or at least didn’t get winded getting off the couch, I might want to skip scouting the electronics store. If I had any kind of artistic ability -or even artistic interest for that matter- and I wanted a lovely lady with whom I could sneer at fancy paintings through condescension usually reserved for the French (it's okay, I can say stuff like that, I once ate a croissant) then I might sign up for a pottery class or something and try the old "Oh fiddlesticks, I just can't seem to get this" routine so that I might be able to re-enact that classic scene in Ghost. Or, if I were interested in meeting a female human whose goal in life was to stop deforestation, I'm sure I could have gone to any controversial clear cutting operation and I'd be sure to find all sorts of people out there tied to trees in protest. I would bet there's no better place to spark up a meaningful conversation then when two idealistic goobers are strapped to a tree together.
Anyway, targeted mate-finding would have been the way to go but, like I said, I did none of that. I was "gently coerced" into going someplace where serendipity saw to it that I would find my future wife, and it all worked out.
So get out there, you studs and stud-ettes. Go mingle, get to know people who do what you do, and bring them home to meet the folks. And if that just sounds like too much work, you can always try PretendingtobeChristiantofindsomecleannookie.net or PlentyofSiphilous.com. (Did you just try clicking that? You did, you sly dog, you. Don't lie.)
So, long before I even had to pretend studying for my senior high school exams, I had me a lovely young lady by my side to help fill my afternoons and weekends, and maybe only sometimes in the pursuit of learning anatomy.
She was a fine girlfriend indeed, with promise of eventually becoming a beautiful bride, mother, and responsible taxpayer. She was fun, adventurous, practical and affordable, all qualities you'd want in a fine woman (or even a personal vehicle.)
And I can’t stress this enough: affordability is a big one, boys and girls. You want to find yourself a good ol' fashioned down-to earth kinda life partner, one who won't break the bank every time they step outside in the pursuit of impressing fellow idiots. Quick rule: If the person you are courting insists on dressing their labradoodle in designer pet ware, guard your wallet like a mother badger would her young, and RUN AWAY! In fact, it is your civic duty to make sure those kinds of human parasites do not reproduce in the first place. And be sure to pepper spray them as you flee for good measure.
Now, sometimes society- and in most cases, religion- tend to influence people's next step in a relationship after dating someone for a respectable amount of time. I'm talking about the hallowed tradition of merging belongings with one another and finding discreet methods of destroying the ugliest of them without getting blamed. This is also known as the classic act of “moving in together”.
Some people (mostly religious types) would argue that living together should never take place before marriage. And though I’m somewhat religious (and will undoubtedly ramp up my piousness to full-bore zealot when I’m sliding into my deathbed), I would be the first to say nay-nay. Open toilet seats, frayed toothbrushes, piles of hair stuck to the shower walls, smooth peanut butter, country music, the dog-earing of paperbacks; you just can't get that kind of insight into a person's troubled soul by merely asking questions. You need to experience that shit first hand.
And because it's far easier to make up my own facts to support my claims, 98% of divorces are a direct result of people not spending enough time together pre-nuptually and learning some hard truths that only living in close quarters for an irritating amount of time can adequately provide. The other 2% divorce rate is due to asparagus spears.
So, think of "living in sin" as a trial period where you get to "try out" your potential mate for life before you even have to worry about putting a deposit on a banquet hall. You don't even need to be engaged to enjoy this little preview of what life would be like together! Just start shoving some of your stuff into their place and hide their ugly crap in the closet for "safekeeping" 'cause, hey, that ain't the image you're trying to maintain here.
Now, I know I might come off like a big-shot know-it-all with all the right answers to couples' psychology with a "real enough" printed-off-the-Interweb certificate to back it all up with. Aaaand that I should be paid handsomely for all this high-quality mentoring I'm doing here. Feel free to do so, by the way, I won't stop you.
But the truth is, this is all just from personal experience. And isn't that how it works nowadays? Experts are overrated anyway. Once someone has experienced something even just a single time, they become perfectly qualified to throw the hefty weight of that singular experience wherever they please.
"Ayup. Definitely the fuel injectors, that there's yer problem. I had them go on me one day in a completely unrelatable circumstance."
"My transmission fell out. It's laying on the highway...hmm, right there."
"Myeah...never know, I guess. Still... I'd bet fuel injectors. Or the air filter."
My point is, I'm an expert in marriage, so listen up.
But enough with methodology. You want to know if it's worth it. So here's the skinny.
Having a partner by your side in this crazy, mixed up world is by far the greatest thing you could ever have in life. To be so intimately known by a person you love and trust, well, there's just nothing better.
Someone who knows how you like your coffee and steak done (both bloody), someone who shares your opinions concerning the important stuff (like how to mess with the kids), and someone who will give you a foot rub without being asked (and only if you've earned it,) is a rare gift indeed.
But it's not all rainbows and minnows, of course. Good relationships take work. And sometimes things change, because people change as they grow older, and on more levels than you'd find on Donkey Kong.
Tune in next week for PART 2 of my Spouse Review! There we’ll get into the meat of things, including the tough parts about relationships and the ointments you can use to avoid disappointment! Thanks for reading, hope this helps on your quest for mutuality.