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The Backward Life

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.” —Philip Roth

Marriage According to Erin -or- 18 Years Is Not Enough Time To Learn Anything Useful About Marriage

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Today marks close to two decades of marriage for Jon and I—18 years and counting. Not to be confused with 18 Kids and Counting. 
I would love to say it’s all been peachy, but that would be a lie and a disservice to any single folks who are looking forward to marriage. Marriage is hard. It’s really hard. That’s not to say there aren't a lot of easy or fun parts, but it is work. 

To commemorate this hard-earned event I will share 18 things I have learned about marriage—one for each year. These are not listed in the order I learned them, or are even indicative of how well I have learned or implemented them. Let’s be honest—these are things I hope I have already, am currently, may one day or am semi-willing to learn about marriage:

1.  If it crows, it’s not always a rooster. (This is just a general guideline for all aspects of life.)
2.  No matter how many times you see them, your spouse’s feet can still gross you out.
3.  Just because you can have children doesn't mean you should. (I am not speaking to my own   
     marriage and children. This is just something I have observed about other people’s marriages. Who 
     said this list had to be all about my wedded bliss?)
4. The apple might not fall far from the tree, but it is often picked up by a Labrador retriever, chewed to 
    pieces and strewn around the yard until it no longer resembles an apple or the tree from whence it 
    fell. (This is not necessarily a bad thing.)
5. Once and a while it’s okay to admit you were wrong—even if you are 99.9 percent sure you aren't 
    wrong.
6. Don’t carry a grudge. Even if you lift with your knees, it will injure your back and your relationship.
7. It’s okay to say nothing. In fact, you can find out a lot more about a situation by closing your mouth  
    and using your other senses- even the sixth one.
8. Always be on your spouse’s side. You've got to have each other’s backs.
9. Make sacrifices for your relationship and family. It can often feel like these are enormous burdens, 
    but it usually turns out okay in the end.
10. Don’t let other’s beliefs about relationships, marriage, family or children dictate how you live your 
      life together. Only you can know what works for you.
11.  Being married doesn't mean being dull. Have fun and don’t be afraid to do things without your 
       spouse. Being together 24/7 is not good for anyone. (Even conjoined twins.)
12. Keep ‘em in the loop. Your spouse should be the first to know important information—not your 
      mom, dad, sister, brother, co-worker, dentist or barista.
13.   Be goofy. Don’t let life get too mundane and repetitive.
14.   Don’t feed each other in restaurants. Come to think of it, don’t feed each other anywhere. It’s just  
      weird and nobody wants to see that. (Unless they have some weird fetish and, if that’s the case,      
      they should at least pay you.)
15.   Do something to celebrate your milestones. You don’t have to throw a big party or spend a lot of 
       money, but if you make it a habit you are less prone to forgetting the date later when you get old 
       and Ginkgo Biloba is no longer effective for memory retention.
16.   Think before you speak. Counting to ten isn't always effective. You might need ten minutes or ten 
       days, but take what you need to avoid saying something you’ll regret.
17.   Learn when to say no and when to bow out. If it makes your spouse happy, is semi-reasonable 
       and won’t cause harm let it go. If it will contribute to the downfall of society (or just your house    
       because it attracts mice, termites and other pests) say no.
 18. It's just a movie, and you won't remember it 18 years from now anyway.

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