5 Things I’ve Learned in 5 Years of Marriage

Yep, that’s our wedding.

After five years of marriage, I’m a different person. Mainly because I’m still 10 lbs. over my wedding weight. But I’ve definitely changed…mostly for the better.

As awesome as marriage is, it’s a lot of friggin’ work. Love is kind of high-maintenance like that. It changes your whole world in a blink of an eye, then spends the rest of your days demanding work, evolution, intention, and years of continuous pursuit in order to stay. Basically, love is like Macaulay Culkin — instant success overnight packing endless potential, but a barren wasteland if left unattended over time.

Maybe that’s a bad example.

What I’m trying to say is, I’ve learned a lot throughout my marriage. My life doesn’t look anything like I thought it would, though I wouldn’t change it either. Marrying Marissa was not only what I most wanted, it’s the smartest decision I’ve made — that and, laying off energy drinks (kidney stones, bad times).

After five years of marriage, I’m still grateful she made me work for it; I’m still grateful she loves me so naturally; I’m still grateful she chose me; I’m still grateful she supports my tattoo collecting and movie watching. And I still marvel over our ability to stay connected thru the turbulent life-trajectory we seem to be on.

Now that we’ve hit a classic milestone, I’m kinda sorta considered a more legit wanna-be expert. That said, here are a few things I’ve learned after five years of marriage:

1. Laughter is Better Than Sex

Quite possibly the most profound life lesson anyone will learn. Seriously!

Now, I’m not diminishing the importance or enjoyment of being sexually compatible with your life-partner. That’s a big deal, and — quite frankly — super awesome. But it’s not what breathes life into your relationship.

My favorite sound in the whole world — besides my daughter’s coo — is Marissa’s laugh. It’s a contagious whole-body-experience that unleashes her stunning smile and equally hysterical shortness of breath. And that woman triggers my inappropriately loud cackle more than I can count.

The sex is great. But the laughter is transcendent.

I started dating her because she seemed like the most fun person in the room, and all her friends had the best random stories and inside jokes. That’s the best decision I could’ve made — married someone that thrives off laughter.

2. We’re in an Open-Marriage…with Netflix

If it were possible to be a professional binge-watcher, Marissa would be an All-Star. And that’s one of the best super-simple and super-not-so-glamorous aspects of our marriage, streaming our stories.

In all seriousness, nothing has fueled snuggles, impromptu Sunday naps, hilarious pillow-talk, late night discoveries, and fun kitchen snack adventures in our relationship more than Netflix.

Thank you, Netflix!
You’ve managed to make marriage better. You’re the best mistress anyone’s ever had.

3. You’ll Always Argue Over Folding Towels

After five years of marriage and hundreds of laundry loads, we still can’t compromise on a philosophy of folding and storing towels. I’ve made peace with the fact that this will never change. It’s our marriage’s white whale of sorts.

It’s my belief Marissa should join an, “Obsessive Towel Folding” support group. And it’s her contention that I should care more about this “super important” aspect of everyday living.

This happens to everyone, right?

4. Saturday Breakfast Dates > Friday Night Shenanigans

This one make a lot more sense with Netflix serving as our live-in-mistress.

Call it early training for our golden years, but for us the perfect weekend starts like this:

Step 1 — Friday night, in bed by 9 p.m. (Bonus points for 8:30)
Step 2 — Binge on Netflix
Step 3 — Wake-up Saturday morning, make an epic breakfast or venture to a greasy-spoon dive.
Step 4 — Snuggle/Nap briefly before getting other stuff done.

That’s it. The recipe for kicking off a weekend of epic proportions. We may be millennials, but we’re baby-boomers at heart.

5. Go to the Ballpark

Marissa is a Yankees fan, and I a proud member of Red Sox Nation. Don’t ask me how our marriage survives; that’s beyond the laws of physics and the human mind’s capacity. My theory is the Guardian Angel of Baseball hovers our home spitting supernatural sunflower seeds at the horrendous rivalry demons attempting to rip us a part. But I haven’t gathered any conclusive evidence yet. What I do know is, Marissa & I love don’t just love baseball— we love baseball together.

As random as it sounds, baseball is a huge catalyst for joy in our lives. And that’s the key, ladies and gentlemen: Discover your one thing. Find that thing you both love doing, and commit to making it a pillar of your relationship experience.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Marissa’s first Valentine’s Day gift to me were Red Sox tickets.
  • While dating, the last thing we did before I left the country for 5 months (long story) was attend three ballgames in three nights.
  • Baseball was our rehearsal dinner theme.
  • In my wedding vows, I promised to take Marissa to at least one baseball game a year. (No joke)
  • Our honeymoon was spent at Fenway Park for Yankees v Red Sox.
  • We flew to New York just to watch Jeter’s second-to-last home game.
  • First night out without the baby was spent at the ballpark.
  • Watching a game at every MLB stadium is #1 on our joint bucket-list.

There’s not much in this world I love more than going to the ballpark with my wife. That hasn’t changed in five years of marriage. Some of our best memories were born over stadium hot dogs and the crack of the bat.

— —

Five years. Wow.

To be honest, I still don’t know what I’m doing, and becoming a parent hasn’t helped with that either. Basically, I’m a fumbling wacko trying to piece together a life that embodies my goal of sucking less and loving more.

The good news is, I’m in love with a wildly talented, hysterically fun, and fiercely independent woman who’s smile still rocks my world. I even managed to convince her that strapping into life’s roller-coaster with me was a good idea. It’s safe to say I came out ahead.

Here’s to 72.5 more years of laughter, Netflix, breakfast dates, laundry squabbles, and baseball. I can drink to that!