Disclaimer: dark humor runs in the family. I swear, we love each other.
Today, our parents marked 28 years of marital bliss. What’s their secret, you ask? After copious investigation and a thorough examination of their patterns and behaviors, we have curated this careful, comprehensive list of suggestions:
- When debating the difference between a sphere, disc, and ovoid at the dinner table, bring out Spanish, English, Italian, and French dictionaries. Do not dismiss your children from the table until the matter is resolved in every language.
- Speaking of which, dinner time is to be treated as nothing short of a meeting with the joint chiefs during a Defcon 1 level crisis. This creates a sense of urgency and importance to the dinner proceedings, tantamount to terrorist manhunts and major natural disasters. No idle chit chat, it’s time to solve your problems. Let’s start with you.
- When disagreements arise as to the identity of the celebrity in that one commercial (Salma Hayek or Penelope Cruz?) while having lunch on vacation and there is no internet to speak of (or smartphones), continue to argue throughout the entirety of the vacation. This ensures that nobody will forget to google it the moment we have access to the internet.
- Do couple-y things like go on long bike rides together, but do not speak. This is exercise time. There is no mercy for the slow.
- Encourage your husband to seek out young secretaries and interns as girlfriends. Be vocal, and repeat this in front of your children. This is called reverse psychology. Or is it.
- When raising children, there is only one golden rule: one cannot be too involved in your child’s life. Life choices such as career path, education, and significant others are all fair game, and will be referred to the subcommittee on Our Children’s Future and negotiated in conference with the committee on You Can’t Move There, That’s Too Far Away.
- Spending time together means holding each other at arm’s length. Do not look each other in the eye. It will be perceived as a sign of aggression and fear. Approach with caution, hand held out.
- Respect your partner’s decisions by challenging them – it shows that you care. Send them upstairs to change their shirt because it’s old and stained.
- For casual conversation, use English. For arguments, use Spanish. For very serious discussions, use the language your children don’t understand, like French. This scares them.
- If your son interrupts your argument to ask that you say 3 things you like about each other, your argument is now in the realm of absurdity. This is a useful flag.
- Pick a twin. Just don’t pick the elder sibling, because she will have a chip on her shoulder regardless. Send her to Chile.
- Offer vacation destinations and ask for suggestions. Reject all of them. This creates the illusion of a collaborative space much like the ones portrayed in the standard American situational comedy. (But it’s not.)
- Driving is a team activity, and constant feedback on speed and technique is a way of expressing concern for your spouse’s well-being. Keep it simple, like, “WHY are you going so slowly!?” and “por la madre patria!” In foreign countries, keep it interesting and discuss how your spouse is violating international driving norms.
- Refuse to put a college sticker signifying “(insert university name here) Mom” or “(insert university name here) Dad” on your vehicle until all your children have been admitted to said university.
- When assigning tasks at the dinner table, oldest child first (referred to as “The Fetching Child”) until not available. Pointing to said item and grunting usually gets the job done.
- Under no circumstances is a family vacation allowed to pass without someone secretly harboring resentment towards someone else for not going to this restaurant, that hike, waking up “on the family schedule”, or driving in an adequate fashion. There must always be a fight during some point on said trip.
- When choosing friends as a couple, look for someone with the following qualities: 1) appreciation for fine wine.
- Never, ever, ever, ever say “I love you.” Oh, that’s so tacky.
Good luck! If you can get through the day and you haven’t strangled your spouse even though you want to, you have achieved all the qualities of a good marriage.