The key to the hub’s and my enviable marriage is actually quite simple: we agree that compromise is just two people losing. When you compromise on a restaurant, neither person is getting what they want. If you compromise on the temperature of your bath, you’re sitting in tepid filth like a leper. The only way to find true happiness is to oscillate between bliss and misery, and blame everything else on an inconsiderate third party.
Now, there is a caveat. A very, very, very important caveat. The hubs is a solid, and necessary, 36% gay. This degree of heteromosexuality is advisable for any potential eternal partner. It guarantees his aptitude at necessary tasks like trash taking out, light bulb fixing, as well as more intense jobs, like those involving power tools; however it also guarantees that I won’t come home ten minutes before a night out to find him on the couch in a Bruins jersey with one hand six inches down his crack-exposing loose fit jeans. The hubs is clean, has a hair style that he contemplates, clothing that’s more expensive than mine, shoes for every outfit, a superior design sense, and when I come home ten minutes before a night out he is dressed and ready (usually in layers), save his leather “house slippers” that he insists on wearing anytime he is in the house (in much the same way that Hefner wears that gay red silk robe).
Ultimately what it boils down to is that having a heteromosexual husband means that we don’t have to compromise; we divide. Take the apartment. There’s none of that yuppie furniture shopping and arguing over where to put the man chair and studded leather bar. We divide. I am in charge of the bedroom, kitchen, dining room, and bathroom, while the hubs gets the two main living spaces. (That would be the living room, the office, and the sitting room.) Much like he has no say in the bedroom, I’m not to peep about the furniture choices, paint colors, wall art, or rugs in his rooms. It sounds dangerous, when in fact it’s genius.
Much like the great Utopian philosophers, we’ve discovered that humanities genuine distrust of their fellowman is the driver of all human behavior. It’s not love that keeps us moving forward; its the simple fact that no one trusts anyone. We’re all a bunch of back stabbing sissies, panicked that if we don’t cover our tails, someone is out to get us. While I’m absolutely allowed to paint the Vagina Monologues on the wall of the bathroom, my fear of retribution keeps that urge in check. Should the hubs ever decide to bring Red Sox paraphernalia into our home, he would soon find a full suite of Laura Ashley bedding customized to our white wicker bedroom set. Antlers on the walls? Tampon cup in the bathroom. Laz-e-Boy in the sitting room? Two words: embroidered pillows. As Newton predicted, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Since I know you’re taking notes, I’ll continue. As I mentioned before, what cannot be divided must be blamed on a third party. (Or, in the case of laziness, the rule of “if you’re not willing to do it yourself, we’re going to do it my way” applies.) The former is the policy that we’ve adapted for handling the finances. After some rough financial years, we were all-to-familiar with why nearly every divorced couple blames their problems on money. That shit is no joke. Nothing pisses a spouse off like being told no by their significant other. Because I’m sick in the head, being told no immediately made me want to run out and charge one million dollars to our credit card and then cut all the tags off my purchases. One. By. One.
We learned in short order that fighting over money is the quick trip to D-town, or the Federal Pen serving a life sentence for first degree murder. So we got The Spreadsheet. The Spreadsheet is an evil little bastard who lives in the living room. Silent and unassuming, he is constantly telling me no. Dinner out? Sorry. The Spreadsheet says no. New shoes!? No shoes for you! The Spreadsheet says no. Gruel and generic brand Oreos? I’m sure The Spreadsheet would be happy to allow that. But that makes me want to kill myself.
The Spreadsheet is a tricky little bugger, though. Just when you think The Spreadsheet is the shittiest little fucker you’ve ever met, he does something nice. He buys you a birthday dress, or takes you to London. Sometimes The Spreadsheet even buys us dinner when I’m too tired…err…lazy to cook. Recently The Spreadsheet even loaned me money when I had too many cocktails and couldn’t pay my bill.
Now, let’s be clear. I’m not giving anyone marriage advice. The last thing I need is to tell the world (at least the 30 people in it who read this) the key to a lasting and happy marriage and then end up at the same Vegas chapel for my second quickie to a man 25 years my junior. Life is a funny and unexpected thing. The things we think we’re sure about evolve into the things we have no idea about, and the things we have no idea about become questions that lead us to finding ourselves. What I do know is this: every relationship is unique. What works for you won’t work for everybody. Relationships are not a competition, nor are they fodder for comparison. The way that two people show their love and adoration for one another is no one’s business but their own. I’ve watched the most loving couples crumble and the most dysfunctional prove that it’s what we don’t see that matters most. Start by finding someone you’re crazy about. Then start thinking about how to make it work.
I’m pretty sure you’ll find your stride. Even if you have to alienate a few spreadsheets.