My younger brother just recently got engaged (yay!), and as his older sister I am really feeling like I need to pass along to him the wisdom I’ve gained from being married for almost 10 years.
I could share with him that I’ve learned to ask myself this very important question during tense marital moments: “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?”
I could emphasize that fact that it is a really bad idea to come up behind your spouse when they are engaged in performing a chore that you do not want to do, look over their shoulder, and then say, “Hm, that‘s how you’re doing it?”
But I think the most important thing I could tell him is that, sure, premarital counseling may cover things like money, children, and in-laws, but what it doesn’t tell you is this: it really, really is the little, everyday things that have the potential to trip you up in a marriage.
For example, I remember that when we were moving into our first apartment it was VITALLY important to me that I get to arrange the silverware drawer in the order to which I was accustomed (fork, then knife, then spoon). My husband really could not have cared less about that, but he wisely took advantage of that moment to negotiate some household point for himself, which I can’t actually recall at this moment, but which I’m sure was EQUALLY as important as my silverware thing.
But no one ever talks about that kind of stuff.
Nor do they talk about what to do if, one day when he happens to be in a bad mood, your husband goes off on a rant about how nobody (translation: “you”) ever puts the new rolls of toilet paper on the actual toilet paper holder, but how everyone (again, meaning “you”) just leave them sitting there on top of it. So then for the next few years you obsessively RUN to “correctly” replace the toilet paper every time a roll runs out, until one day you notice that the person who was totally freaking out about this situation earlier is doing The Exact Same Thing that caused his freaking out to begin with, so you finally work up the courage to mention this little inconsistency to him, and he has no recollection whatsoever of that particular conversation and tells you that you need to not take things so seriously. And then you have to kill him.
Hm. On second thought, maybe I’ll just let them discover all these fun little marital treasures for themselves.