My husband and I celebrate lucky number 13 today. We will have a nice dinner, throw back a few drinks and enjoy the quiet since our daughter is with my parents, but for the most part, we’ll leave the fanfare to more newly-married couples.
We won’t reflect upon our wedding vows because, quite frankly, it’s unlikely either of us remember them. I don’t at least.
I’m sure they said something about promising to love, respect and cherish. To me, the first two were prerequisites to the wedding ceremony itself. The third makes me envision a cherub shooting arrows, which has nothing do with marriage—or maybe it actually does in the heat of battle.
It's not that we are unromantic. It's just that after 13 years of marriage that have included childbirth, the deaths of two beloved pets, two cross-country moves and three in-town moves, graduate school, unemployment and new careers, I can say that if I made vows today, they would be entirely different than those said on our wedding day.
Because I really believe that only one vow really matters for a strong marriage: “I promise to refrain from doing things that piss you off on a daily basis.”
It’s not the big things that destroy a marriage. I don’t think marriages fall apart for lack of love. They crumble because the person you married starts to annoy you every single day—then it snowballs from there into all sorts of crazy bad stuff.
Of course, on our wedding day, we may not realize how much the little things in a marriage matter. We instead make lofty pledges that are impossible to keep on a daily basis.
If I wrote my vows today, they would go something like this:
- I promise to wipe off the kitchen counter whenever I’m done preparing food. And when I wipe the counter, I won’t push the crumbs onto the floor, especially after you’ve just swept it.
- I promise I will let you finish your sentences (even if you are telling a really long-winded story and I already know how it ends because I’ve heard it ten times).
- I promise to remove my sweaty sports bra from my t-shirt before I throw it in the hamper so that it’s not a disgusting mess when you do the laundry.
- I promise to thank you for doing laundry.
- I promise that when I roll over in my sleep, I won’t take all of the covers with me, especially in the dead of winter.
- On that note, I also promise not to turn the thermostat below 70 when you are home (even though you have a million sweaters you could put on).
- I promise to sleep naked more even if that means turning the thermostat above 70 (gasp!).
- I promise I won’t ask you to do things I know you hate, like go to the movies or eat Indian food, as long as you don’t ask me to go to a car or motorcycle show.
- That said, once in a while I’ll do something I don’t particularly enjoy just because I know it’s something you would like to do—I’ll even do my best not to complain the entire time.
- I promise to keep my receipts and remember where I spent my cash so there isn’t a $37 miscellaneous charge to nowhere in Microsoft Money.
- I promise I won’t force you to have your picture taken (they never turn out anyway because you are usually scowling).
- And, of course, I promise to love, respect and cherish you.
- Oh, and I promise never to shoot you with arrows (unless they were made by Nerf).
From the woman who will drive you crazy every single day for the rest of you life.