Newlywed, Newly Wise
8 Things Men Learn in the First Month of Marriage
5. She does not have an "on/off" switch like I do.
"What's the matter?" I once asked my wife after attempting to turn her on by brusquely tapping various parts of her body like the cockpit controls of an airplane. "I need to be wooed," she explained. This is going to sound strange, but hear me out: When you're married to your best friend, it's easy to forget that she is a woman and her body works differently than yours. I don't mean I literally forget she's a woman, or that I see her asexually in any way. My wife is hot. But when it seems like she's the only person who gets why I made that dumb joke and thinks it's just as funny as I do, I forget that we are not made of the same material. And her material needs foreplay.
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6. Talk about EVERYTHING. ALWAYS.
You know what's a gross word? Fester. Don't let anything in your relationship fester. Tiny things you deemed unworthy of a conversation at one time will burst out at the least opportune time (e.g. while boarding a 14-hour flight to South Africa). If my wife had a marriage mantra, it'd probably be, "Tell me what you're feeling," whereas mine would be, "Nothing a little make-up-sex can't fix!" (Hers is more productive.
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7. When you're feeling selfish, zoom out.
Since moving in with my wife, I have been dethroned as King Ethan: Lord of the Apartment, who once possessed unlimited rights to watch back-to-back episodes of That Metal Show. Compromises—like watching Game of Thrones on the couch together—are just as necessary in the home as they are in the outside world. My wife even has phrase of advice for when she thinks I'm focusing too much on narcissistic minutiae: "Zoom out." And sometimes she'll accompany said phrase with head massages and omelets, thus inadvertently exemplifying how to selflessly care for another person. Maybe that skill will come in handy when we bring kids into the world someday … (Someday.)
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8. Fandom is not love.
I think I technically learned this in sixth grade, but my wife showed me that it's not just a prepubescent theory. You do not have to be the number one fan of your husband's (or wife's) hobbies and interests to be a loving and supportive partner. My wife can be very honest with me about the improvisational hardcore band I play with from time to time. I know she's not into it. That's fine. Marriage is going to last the rest of our lives, during which, I'm positive, I will pick up other weird hobbies that will take up my Thursday nights. Can you imagine the pressure I'd put on her if she had to be at every show for me to feel loved? I'd rather she focus on being my loving wife and my supportive lover. Number one fan is not a title she needs to worry about.