“The Snark Serial” is a snark-filled take on life from one of the team’s bitterest writers. Alexandria Mansfield will offer sarcastic remarks, seething reviews and snide satire to more digest life’s bumps and hiccups – and the occasional win. She will also suggest a weekly snack pairing to munch on while reading. (Warning: Not all snack recommendations may be edible.)
Thursday will mark my third wedding anniversary. It both feels like that number snuck up on me so quickly and also that it should be much higher by now. Mostly the latter.
As May 27 nears, it’s been fun for me to reflect on what joys and trials these last three years have brought us as a couple. Including the four years before we got hitched, but mostly the last three.
Three years ago, I was going through a lot. My dad had recently died. I had graduated from college about two weeks before getting married and I was searching for a job. It was a difficult time, but it was also a special one. It was the last time all of my closest friends and family were in one place together.
I’ve been feeling particularly sappy toward many of them lately. I’m guessing it’s because we’ve gone so long without seeing anyone because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, while I’ve been thinking about the great food and company we shared at my wedding in 2018, I’ve also been thinking about how difficult that first year of marriage was and what I’ve learned in the years since. Here is a list of my three biggest takeaways, one for each year, as a newlywed, which I still consider myself to be.
1.) Take alone time – usually by force. I’m sure most people with kids have, at some point, locked themselves in a separate room away from their children. I’m not asking for a show of hands here. Nor am I going to judge anyone on it, but come on, admit it to yourself. Consequently, this seems to be a trait one could learn to utilize early on in marriage.
Sometimes you want to be alone, and you don’t want to have to say you want to be alone, you just want to be alone. I’ve found that locking all of the doors and windows around the house is a good way to achieve this goal.
First, it sends a strong message without having to say anything at all. Second, there is no compromising because you’ve already got what you want. Third, when there is nothing on TV, it can be pretty entertaining to listen to your pleading spouse begging to “just come in to use the bathroom.”
For those of you whose spouses keep their house keys close at hand, I recommend installing a security system for which only you have the passcode. This is a more expensive fix, but it gets the job done. Unexpected costs associated with this method of alone time could include having to bail your spouse out of jail a day or two later when you realize the dishes are really starting to pile up.
Double the Fun
2.) Double everything sounds fun at first but is actually difficult to manage. You may think, Wow! Double the income! I’m going to be rich. That is very, very wrong. You will not be rich. You will be paying twice as much for nearly everything.
Do you love to travel? I hope you like paying for two tickets, two seats, two checked bags and two carry-ons. Maybe you like to travel light, keep it cheap. Well, your whiny spouse needs that $10 bag of four mini pretzels and needs to bring four pairs of giant’s shoes in case he changes his mind about which outfit he wants to wear. Forget about that time you couch-surfed your way around Europe when you have an extra 285 pounds for which you need to find lodging.
We won’t even talk about the laundry. And the dishes. And the toothpaste tube that’s always empty. “Sharing is great,” said no one ever. Kids who don’t share their toys on the playground have the right idea: establish dominance early.
Realities of Marriage
3.) The things that you do that are gross but an acceptable kind of gross are 110 percent more disgusting when another person does them. I’m talking about picking flaking, dry skin off and letting it drop on the floor. Clipping your toenails — which are much larger on a 6-foot-5-inch man than on my tiny feet — and leaving the remnants on the carpet to be stepped on later.
I don’t even want to touch on the stuff that happens when you’re alone in the bathroom. The evidence of which can be found later. We all know it, we all do it. Those secret, disgusting little human things that no one wants to admit. They are so much easier to hide when dating and now suddenly on full display when married. Even something simple like asking your spouse “How was your day?” can turn into a test of your gag reflex when the response is “Well, I found a rash on my buttcheeks. Can you check it for me?”
That’s marriage, though. It’s not always sexy and sweet. Sometimes it’s body functions and cleaning up after each other. It’s a judgment-free zone of support. Well, sometimes there’s a little judgment, but more like “I can’t believe I’m married to this person” judgment, not “I no longer wish to be married to this person.” Though both are certainly valid.
Well, now that I have alluded to divorce while talking about my third wedding anniversary, I’d say it’s time to wrap this up. I hope this look into the truths of marriage was fun for you non-married folks and didn’t scare you away from the whole institution too badly. And for those who have been married longer than we have, I hope you enjoyed reminiscing on when you also realized you married a very flawed human being – and loved them all the same for it.
Thanks for reading my sappy little love letter this month.
Suggested snack pairing: Expensive wedding cake or frozen dessert from the grocery store (there is no in-between).
For more complaints, observations and general raging, follow me on Twitter @Alexandriammans.