Ah, marriage



We enjoyed this little riff by Shane Watson on men’s idea of supporting their wives’ careers:

…men are hazy about the notion of “support”. They think support is listening to you rage about the fact that women do abso-bloody-lutely-everything, while wearing their sorrowful Jesuit priest expression and being careful not to glance at the TV.


These days when, tsk tsk, so many people live together before getting married, is there really anything you don’t know about your partner before getting married?

Gert is constantly surprised by the number of faults her resident male has, when she herself has none, but these are not really the sort of thing that could be discovered by cunning questioning before marriage. It has taken many years of coming up against inexplicable failures to see things as Gert does, i.e, the right way. And what’s even worse, of failing to correct this dreadful flaw when it’s pointed out. And of failing to see that it is a flaw at all.

Do other people have this problem? Is there a solution?


Image: https://www.oldbookillustrations.com/illustrations/man-holding-hat/



21 thoughts on “Ah, marriage

  1. I wonder if, periodically, each partner in a marriage needs to write a termly report about the other in the manner of a teacher giving both praise and suggestions for improvement. For example

    X has shown some interest in completing household chores this term, and engages well with guests at dinner parties. However, they need to try harder to compliment their partner at every conceivable opportunity, but not so much as to raise suspicions that they may be having a covert affair.

    Or perhaps
    Y has been very creative in their range of menus, showing variety and ingenuity with leftovers. They have also learnt to laugh genuinely convincing laughs at jokes the partner has made in company, but should try not to contradict details in the anecdotes the partner relates to friends and employers.

    Do you think this is a viably helpful suggestion to make to couples whose marriage is evolving? I’d be pleased to hear your feedback.

    1. This could be the answer, Chris. Would there be a score attached? Or perhaps medals? Could it be necessary to ask their parents to come in for a serious discussion?

      One of the questions you’d definitely have to ask before marriage, though, is whether the other person is prepared to commit to this firm but fair approach. But what if they lied and said they would when they had no intention of doing it?

      1. Simple answer: pre-nuptials. Preferably signed in blood. Before living witnesses. Much better than that silly rigmorole some UK parents do to get their precious offspring into a well-performing church school — pretending they’re all God-fearing and becoming regular attenders at services, until the hurdle is jumped and then all pretence is dropped.

        1. And of course heavy financial penalties if the contract is broken.

          Should the tinies be turfed out of the school if parents don’t show their faces at church? That could work. I remember the nuns at my school conducting a regular inquisition into whose parents hadn’t attended the fete – and it was very good for fete numbers.

          1. For non-attendance I think the pillory for the parents and the stocks for the tinies. In fact, I’d go further: I think thumbscrews are too good for them, damn’d backsliders!

  2. As for the ten questions every-woman-must-ask-potential-husband. I kept clicking on the links and they never got down to it.

      1. Hmmm – the conversation we had went something like: “What’s your great desire in life? Him: “Retire early and read books” (and that’s what has happened, and I’m fine with it). Do you leave your socks under the bed? Him: “No.” (and he does not). What foods do you dislike? Turned out that we both couldn’t abide beets or sweet potatoes, and that fact serves as one of those little binding threads.

        Agreed about the drive vs. be driven question. For us, much more important was the question of whether we could do a road trip together. The answer was yes, and that was as useful to know as who was going to make the money. To some extent, who is going to make the money has so much to do with opportunity, health, kids, and so many unknowable things that I personally feel it should be discussed, but not necessarily be a “make-or-break.”

        1. Socks under the bed would not be a deal-breaker for me, but I agree long road trips are an acid test. At the time I got married it was just assumed the man would make the money and it doesn’t seem to have changed as much as I’d like. Still rare to find a stay-at-home-with-kids husband.

          1. During most of the kids’ growing up years we both had fairly flexible jobs. I was allowed to bring my second daughter to work for a few hours a day, and Jim’s jobs gave him time to be home with the kids after school. One way and another, I was the primary breadwinner/insurance source, but we both spent a lot of time with the kids. Socks under the bed not a deal-breaker; I was mostly curious about whether he would expect me to pick them up.

      2. I had a gander at them. Some of the questions are off the wall. One question I would add is “how does he treat his mother?”.

          1. A good one for observation of your loved one and their mother rather than direct questioning.

            Yes, I was very lucky to have such a great job.

            A question that was a deal-breaker for me (but fortunately, has turned out OK in the long run) was attitude toward money– a penny-pincher, a gambler an free spender, or somewhere in-between? I nearly called the wedding off during a whine about having to spend “so much money” for a decent pair of shoes. After a candid conversation of how that wasn’t going to work, we reached a reasonable balance.

  3. Ideal arrangement. Workplaces have to change to make this more common. It would be great days for the sock industry if all men relied on their wives picking up discarded socks – huge demand for new socks!

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