9 Ways to Screw up your Marriage
Thanks to glowing feedback from my sister’s last story, ‘Dating in the Middle Ages’, she’s back with some blunt advice for men (and a few guaranteed giggles for women). If you want to fast-track your way to the divorce courts, I couldn’t think of a more concise and effective DON’T-DO list than this!
Disclaimer: I am a woman, divorced three times, so this piece is written solely from my point of view, gleaned from personal experience. Judge me not. This was my life.
Treat your wife as you treated your long-suffering mother.
After the first night we spent together as a couple, I found my third husband’s dirty clothes in a pile by the bed. I asked him why they were there. He laughed and said his mother always made his bed, took away his dirty clothes and dishes and cleaned his room.
I laughed and told him to put his dirty clothes in the laundry. Took him a while to get used to the idea of picking up after himself like an adult, and he didn’t like it, but even my seven-year-old son knew that dirty clothes go in the dirty clothes basket.
Be rigid about role assignments.
Let’s face it: probably both of you work, either full-time or part-time, and there will likely be the added bonus of children’s lives to juggle. So don’t expect your partner to fulfil an ancient ‘traditional’ role of cleaning, cooking, washing and the like.
My second husband worked in a city office complete with office lunches and an easy ride to and from work.
I was pregnant with my first child, suffering from high blood pressure but ‘temping’ in city offices as a legal secretary. I would get home, feet swollen and very tired, longing to put my feet up and rest. But I knew that if the dinner wasn’t ready, washing started and house tidy, I would but be subjected to massive guilt treatment.
No wonder I ended up in the hospital with Pre-eclampsia for a month before my son’s arrival.
Whether your partner works or raises the children at home, be fair and even. You have no idea how many times I wished I could come home, slump into an armchair and wait for my dinner to magically arrive…
Ask for sex without preparing for it.
You’ve had an excellent dinner, crafted by the woman you love. The day is done; you are comfortable and replete. Hmm…would be nice to have a bit of a tumble right now, right?
But where’s your partner? Well, he’s doing the dishes, probably. Or preparing school lunches for tomorrow, sending the kids back to bed for the fifth time, and likely feeling frazzled and exhausted.
Here’s a tip. Take those kids to bed. Read a couple of stories. Fetch a glass of water. Accompany junior to the toilet for his third pee.
Then head back to the kitchen, remove your partner from the kitchen sink and steer her to the couch. Make and deliver her favourite beverage and finish the dishes. How are your chances now? Gone up by a massive amount.
Be lazy with your appearance but remind your wife she’s ‘getting fat’.
My bestie and I used to have a giggle at the dating websites.
Overweight middle-aged men enticed us in with details of their ‘fishing, hunting, four-wheel-driving’ lifestyles, complete with a picture of a pot-bellied man holding up his latest catch; while listing his ideal partner as ‘slim, ladylike, twenty-something, preferably blonde’.
Seriously, guys. Unless you’re a gazillionaire, no pretty twenty-something gal is going to look sideways at your lazy arse.
I remember my father saying that mum was looking a bit chubby. Immediately, she’d be on a diet, down to 900 calories per day. And then he’d come home with chocolates for her. Weird.
I don’t mind fattish men. I don’t mind a bit of a soft pillow to rest my weary head on. But I do object to men being unforgiving about extra weight on their partner. Be realistic.
Act like you’re still single.
Out to the pub with the boys two nights a week, rolling home drunk in the wee hours; boys’ weekends away, flirting with sundry ladies (even with the missus present), spending your wages on yourself and leaving the bills and daily financial management to your partner (‘she’s working, why not!’).
Look, we all like to chill from time to time. It’s good to catch up with your mates and keep in touch. A strong network of friends can be a boon in stressful times, and that goes for both partners. Time out from each other, with close friends, works well to keep a good relationship harmonious.
But don’t go overboard. It’s disrespectful to expect your partner to cope with early morning vomit when she’s exhausted from her week, too.
Work together on money matters and strike a fair deal for both of you. Grow up.
Do I really need to explain this? No, I didn’t think so.
Leave all the hard parenting to your partner.
You come home late from work, and the kids are all over you. Dad’s home! Your partner comes out looking for the one that’s meant to be drying the dishes, and the younger one that was put to bed half an hour ago. ‘Oh, let them stay up’, you say, smiling at the love of your children, while your wife glares over their heads at you.
She goes back to finish the dishes, knowing that as soon as the tired one starts whining, you’ll be at her to put that one to bed.
Don’t leave your partner to supervise all the chores. Don’t let the kids get away with stuff that your partner has already said no to. The best thing you can do for your children is to support your partner, show respect for her decisions, back her up to the hilt and share the hard parts of parenting.
Your reward will be a grateful partner and well-raised independent adults who will eventually leave home. Yay!
Leave all decisions to your partner to make.
My third husband would announce that he’d like to take us all for a drive. ‘Excellent’, I’d say, ‘where would you like to go?’ And that was the wrong response.
Within five minutes, he’d leave in a sulky stomp, yelling why couldn’t I just make up my mind where to go? And it was the same for any decision, big or small.
Sometimes the worst thing I could say was, ‘What do you fancy for dinner tonight?’ He expected me to make all decisions about which bills to pay, what to eat, where to travel, when to pick up the kids, etc., but reserved the right to question or ridicule any decisions I made.
It was almost like he wanted to remain a child under a parent’s care, having to go with whatever they planned, but with full intentions of whining about it every step of the way.
Refuse to take direction.
I’m pretty good at directing with a map. Can’t get the hang of this new-fangled GPS on phones thingy, though. But back in the day, this was the way we did it. Man — drive. Woman — navigate.
But it rarely ends well, does it? Time and time again, I would be yelled at because I said left and he went right, and so I was obviously directing poorly. Once I said, ‘Take the next right,’ and he did. Straight into a park. And that apparently was my fault, because I didn’t say, ‘Take the next right into an actual street.” And THAT response would have been ‘points off’ for thinly veiled sarcasm.
Look, here’s the bloody map — work it out yourself. I have better things to do.
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Originally published at Midlife Tribe — Midlife Mastery for Trailblazers.