Friday, December 20, 2013

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What I Should’ve Known Before Marriage

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A message to my younger self.

Sex will not happen every night.

One day you will be folding laundry and your wife will mention that you don’t fold her underwear properly. You will become offended because of your naïve assumption that simply folding the laundry made you a hero. This laundry fight will linger for one year, and end once you understand what it means to pick your battles.

It will take you nine years of marriage to realize that the sexiest thing you can do is wash the dishes.

About seven years into your marriage you will look at the curves in your wife’s hips, maturity of her eyes, compassion on her hands, confidence in her stride, and realize that, somehow, she has grown more beautiful with age. 

This will be the most frustrating stalemate in your marriage: Dates lead to intimacy. Intimacy leads to dates. 

You will never understand why your wife is attracted to you.

Your wife will convince you to take huge leaps forward in your life through a combination of compassion, withholding sex, the silent treatment, and moments where she just stares at you, her soft eyes never blinking, her face a mix of irritation and understanding that seems to say, I will break you. It will be a clever mix that works every time. 

The person you married will change. And you will change too. For example: a few years into your marriage you will tell your wife that instead of becoming a power lineman, you are going to get an English degree. She will nervously support you. And a few years after that, your wife will tell you that she has decided to become a vegetarian. You will reluctantly support her.

Your wife is not your mother.

One night your wife will be away at a family reunion. In her absence, the bed will feel like a massive void, scary, big, and cold. You will sprawl out to fill the absence, but it will not work. You will be lonely and unable to sleep until you pack her side of the bed with pillows.

If you enjoyed this, you would also enjoy, Confessions of a Stay at Home Dad

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Clint Edwards is a tutor coordinator at Oregon State University. He is also the former co-host of the Weekly Reader on KMSU and a graduate of the MFA program at Minnesota State University. His writing has been listed as notable by Best American Essays, and has been published in The Baltimore Review, and through The University of North Dakota, Boston College, Emerson College, The University of South Carolina, and Minnesota State University.