I’m in a wedding in a few weeks — an untraditional one. The ceremony consists of a play co-written by and starring the bride and groom and featuring 22 of their closest friends.
The affianced couple recently asked me to read something about love and marriage at their engagement party. Initially, I was stymied. I write about parenting. And beer. Then I remembered that I’ve been married for almost 13 years, which is longer than I’ve been parenting, but not as long as I’ve been drinking beer.
Therefore, I do have a few things to say about the institution of marriage. So here’s what I wrote. Imagine I’m reading this to you:
To my mind, there are two reasons to get married. One, it saves money. Typically. You get a tax break, which rocks.
Two, marriage legitimizes any offspring you might have. Not that legitimizing offspring matters as much as it once did, but given how many other rude names your kids are going to be called on the playground, giving them a break from “bastard” is kind of a nice thing you can do for them.
Then, there’s a third reason to get married. Weddings are really fun. Except when they’re not. Which doesn’t happen very often.
In honor of Chall and Lucia’s impending fun-as-hell nuptials, I gathered a few telling quotations about marriage. I typically try not to give unsolicited advice, but every once in a while I just can’t hold back. Like when someone gives me a microphone after they’ve given me beer.
First quote. Someone said, “Marriage does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.”
In my marriage, I’ve found we spend most of our time looking together at weird rashes on our children’s bodies. We also spend an inordinate amount of time looking together at dirty laundry.
My advice — don’t ever look at Google images of weird kid rashes together. You’ll regret it.
Here’s another quote about marriage I like: “Forget couples’ therapy: Hire someone to help clean your home.” The person who can give the correct attribution of that quotation wins a big smooch from me. Actually, I wrote that in a column a couple years ago.
Therapists say that couples mostly fight about money, sex, and how to raise their kids. But in my experience, the biggest fights are about cleaning the damn house. I think the best use of any extra money you might have as a couple, particularly after you have a kid, is to pay for cleaning help. Then you have a clean house to hang out in while you fight about all that other stuff.
Here’s another quote I like, from someone I’ve never heard of, named Rita Rudner: “I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
That, to me, is the essence of marriage. You get to learn just how to annoy that special person, just how to push their buttons, and you get to do it whenever you want. There’s something so lovable about having that one person who knows you so, so well. When my daughter complains about how annoying her brother is, I remind her he’s the only brother she has. Of course, you may have more than one marriage, but usually you don’t go into it thinking it’ll be a repeat performance. That would kind of negate the reason for doing it in the first place.
So, Chall and Lucia, I’m glad you’ve found that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your lives. Have fun on your big adventure. Remember not to Google kid rashes, to pay for home cleaning help, but mostly to enjoy annoying the hell out of each other. Best wishes for a long and fruitful union.
Anne Fitten "Edgy Mama" Glenn writes about a number of subjects, including parenting, at www.edgymama.com.
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