Our beautiful (inside and out) niece, Erin, is getting married this weekend, and there are so many things I want to tell her! So here goes:
1.) You’re marrying a man. Therefore – and hold onto your hair here! – your husband thinks, speaks, and acts like a man.
2.) For your information, men do not ask for directions or any manner of assistance. Period.
3.) Men are not mind-readers. For example, it usually will not occur to a man that you want him to take out the trash simply because it’s overflowing. You have to actually say, “Honey, would you please take out the trash?” (You cannot be mad at a man for not doing something you never asked him to do…because men aren’t mind-readers.)
4.) Certain words have different meanings to men. For example, to a man, the word “clean” means “relatively presentable when compared to the homes of most of his bachelor friends”, while to you, “clean” likely means “completely germ-free, sanitized, organized, and styled perfection”. The word “party” also means something different to a man. You think table settings, place cards, entrees, and complimentary wines, while he thinks chips, dips, beer, and the largest television known to mankind.
5.) Whereas a woman has a large portion of her brain devoted to nurturing, a man has a large portion devoted to protecting. You may want to keep this in mind should your husband fail to make you chicken noodle soup when you’re sick: While it may look like he’s doing nothing, he’s actually busy plotting all the ways in which he would kill the sorry fool who ever tried to hurt you.
6.) Men don’t actively try to understand problems; they’re too busy trying to solve them. If you want understanding, talk to your girlfriends; if you want solutions, talk to your husband.
7.) But know that he will never be able to solve or understand why it takes you twice as long to get ready to go somewhere. Given enough time though, he might accept it – or at least give up on complaining about it.
8.) The wide-eyed, tender-hearted, dreamer of a boy still lives inside the man. And he needs to play. With his toys. They started as matchbox cars and then became real cars, boats, horses, golf equipment, and other extremely expensive “toys”. Both the boy and the man will be immeasurably happier if you let them have, and play with, their toys.
9.) Take turns choosing movies instead of trying to agree on one. The boy will always want to see millions of dollars worth of explosives and special effects – and doesn’t really care about dialogue – or plot. When it’s his turn to choose the movie, sit quietly, eat your popcorn, and let the boy – and his imagination – run free.
10.) Neither boys nor men play in the briar patch – and you shouldn’t either. When a man wants the new Taylormade R11 golf driver for Christmas, he doesn’t say, “Whatever you do, please don’t buy me that Taylormade R11 driver.” So, if you say something like, “Please don’t buy me jewelry,” when you really want jewelry…well, you aren’t going to get any – for thirty years or so. It takes roughly thirty years for a man to figure out the briar patch game – just ask my uncle Bob.
11.) Understanding and accepting the above mentioned things should prevent several spats. Yet there are still bound to be some. When you’re really good and angry, I suggest you excuse yourself to the bathroom. Close – and lock – the door behind you. Try some deep breathing exercises. If that doesn’t work, then clean the toilet. With his toothbrush.
On a more serious note, the best advice I can offer either of you, in any situation, is this: Think, speak, and act generously, in love, keeping in mind that the opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s selfishness.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourself, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others.”
And know that when all else fails, I am here, loving you both, and wishing you life, love, and happiness beyond your wildest dreams. Call or come on over anytime.
With high hopes, great joy, and overflowing love, I am, as ever,
Your aunt Cat