Ball and Chain

Photo by Bob Doran

A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.               –Michel de Montaigne

Marriage is something I can’t seem to understand—like Sudoku, fluorescent colors coming back in style, and what Lance Armstrong hoped to accomplish in his interview with Oprah. Oh, I understand the concept “in theory”; it’s the reality of it that makes me want to repeatedly bang my head against a wall.

Now, I’m not married; I’ve never been married; I doubt I’ll ever marry. I’ve been in love, sure, but I’ve never met anyone I believed I could spend the rest of my life with. That’s A LOT of years. To be with ONE person. FOREVER. Until I DIE.

The closest I’ve ever come to marriage is with a few girlfriends of mine. I used to tell them, “If I could find the male version of you, I’d get married.” And I meant it, because these girlfriends were like my sisters, and we spent mucho time together without ever wanting to strangle one other. I thought we’d be friends always.

The fact that we’re not contributes to why I view marriage the way I do—I was as close to these girls as two people can be, minus the sex, always believed they’d be in my life, but now they’re not. Poof, gone. I’ve since learned it’s an unrealistic expectation to think two people can change together over 20, 30, 40 years to the point where they still enjoy each other’s company. For example, I adore my son, but I sure as hell don’t want to live with him for the next twenty-five years.

What astonishes me is how many folks still take the plunge. Even knowing the horrible odds involved. Let’s take having children out of the equation for a moment. What compels a man to want to get married? Especially when men are such admitted commitmentphobes. Regular sex? We all know once you’re married sex becomes as frequent as something intelligent coming out of Kim Kardashian’s mouth. Societal acceptance? Peer pressure? All you need to do is talk to your married friends to find out how miserable they are. Comfort? Security? Maid/house cleaner/babysitter? Okay, so the maid/house cleaner/babysitter would probably tempt me, too.

Love? Don’t be ridiculous. Men are way more practical than that.

For me, a future husband would need to score in 3 categories:
1. We need to have similar core beliefs and values. I’m not saying he needs to be a Democrat, but if he kicks dogs when he walks by them, or shoplifts, litters, consumes fried pork rinds while guzzling Mountain Dew, and then thinks burping the alphabet is a talent, then NO.

2. We need to get along and have fun together—be able to hang out for hours on end, especially while sober. He doesn’t need to be my best friend. That’s what a girlfriend is for, or a gay male friend. My husband should be my husband. God knows, he doesn’t need the pressure to be my “best girlfriend” also. “Husband” already has enough obligations to it.
If he’s sitting on the sofa all night, playing video games and chatting with his online buddies, then no, thank you. One son who does that is enough.

3. We need to have sexual chemistry. I recently read this thread where men were bitching about their wives never giving them blowjobs. One man actually said while he and his wife were dating, she never went down on him once, but he thought once they were married, she’d start. After I unstuck the fork from my eye, I literally wanted to crawl into the thread, find the guy and shake the stupid out of him.
If I’m going to be sentenced to sex with ONE person for the rest of my existence (and I’m having a panic attack simply writing those words), then we sure as hell better rock each other’s world, because once I see him hurl, poop, or cut his toenails in bed (and inevitably I will if we’re living together), my sexual desire for him is going to go down–so it better go down from a 10 to a 7, instead of from a 7 to a 4. If desire goes down to a 4, that ain’t gonna get us through the next 30 years.

I don’t think these three things should be that difficult to find. And yet, finding them in one man has eluded me. Certainly I’ve had at least two of them while involved in a relationship, but NEVER all three. Which explains why I’m not married.

For those who are married, help me out here. Are my three needs unreasonable? If not, why is it so hard to find? Or am I just cursed? Do you think most people settle? Is the “institution” of marriage becoming an antiquated notion?

As Groucho Marx said, “Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?”

All these answers are by children.

1. You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
>Alan, age 10
2. No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.
>Kirsten, age 10

1. Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
>Camille, age 10
2. No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.
>Freddie, age 6 (very wise for his age)

1. You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
>Derrick, age 8

1. Both don’t want any more kids.
>Lori, age 8

1. Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
>Lynnette, age 8
2. On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
>Martin, age 10

1. I’d run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.
>Craig, age 9

1. When they’re rich.
>Pam, age 7
2. The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.
>Curt, age 7
3. The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do.
>Howard, age 8

1. I don’t know which is better, but I’ll tell you one thing; I’m never going to have sex with my wife. I don’t want to be all grossed out.
>Theodore, age 8
2. It’s better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them.
>Anita, age 9

1. There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn’t there?
>Kelvin, age 8

And the Favorite is……..
1. Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a truck.
>Ricky, age 10

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Menopausalmother
    Jan 21, 2013 @ 20:59:29

    LOVE this blog post! I’ve been married almost 29 years, and I found a guy who fits all 3 of these requirements. I had to kiss a lot of frogs to find him, but you know what the secret is to a long and happy marriage? When your husband becomes your best friend in every way. That’s it in a nutshell. Oh, and BTW–the kid quotes were hilarious and priceless! Thanks for sharing those!


    • Tiffany N. York
      Jan 21, 2013 @ 21:38:34

      I can tell you two have a very strong marriage! Wow–29 years?! I can’t even imagine. You won the love lottery, my friend. And any guy who can stick his face in the butt crack of an elephant is a keeper! LOL, Love that pic on FB!


  2. Crazy. Kinda.
    Jan 23, 2013 @ 12:34:47

    I consider myself to be quite lucky. My guy meets all three of your criteria. Granted, our religious beliefs are different, but we both have enough flex to accept the difference. We accept we each believe in something that makes us a better person, and that’s what’s important. We always have fun together. . .and the sex is awesome (when I’m not pregnant – cause now it’s blah – not his fault). We’ve known each other for 15 years, but have been together for 6. However. We are not married. We’re engaged. Honestly, I was married and hated every f*ing second of it. I was leary about ever getting close enough to someone to want to get married again. I told my darling fiance from the beginning that I was NEVER getting married again. Now we’ve been engaged for 2 years, bought a house together and are having our first child together. I believe in taking it slow. Am I going to be with him for the rest of my life? I hope so. Because I love him so much, I truly feel I would die if something happened to him.

    Great post. Cynical but fun. 🙂


    • Tiffany N. York
      Jan 23, 2013 @ 15:33:04

      I need to hear more great feedback like this, because it leads me to believe it is not marriage itself, but my own wretched bad luck with love. My ex and I were fine for 6 years until my son turned 1. Then we started having problems (more than the usual anyway) and bam, he up and left. My entire life has been an enormous struggle since…I guess I never want someone to have that kind of power to be able to fuck up my life again. Of course I realize I fucked up my own life by choosing him, so my poor judgement is to blame.

      Opps, I guess that sounds kind of cynical too, doesn’t it? One of my resolutions was to heal my bitter heart and so far, I’m failing. But on the plus side, I exercised today. That counts for something, right?

      Don’t worry about the sex thing–you must be in your third trimester by now. At that point, I couldn’t even bend down to shave my legs (among other things). Women rave about mind-blowing orgasms while pregnant but we were too worried about poking the baby’s head during sex, so yeah…no.


      • Crazy. Kinda.
        Jan 24, 2013 @ 06:16:42

        Here’s the brief rundown of my relationship. J and I met when we were 19, in college, and were best friends. He had a gf, I was with my ex. A couple years after college we lost touch, I got married. My marriage SUCKED. The man I married tore me down every moment he could until I was just a shell. He took me to the midwest (I’m from New England) away from my family. When I finally got away from him a friend bought my way home because I was so dependant on my ex, I couldn’t afford it. After being home for almost 2 years (living with my mom and stepdad. . .OMG! Sucky) I decided to look up J. He was about 4 hours away and we reconnected through MySpace (what’s that?). We’ve been together ever since. The first year and a half was long distance – a 4 hour drive each way. We saw each other every other weekend and talked every night. Basically, we knew it was worth it, so we worked for it. Maybe not in every case, but I think a solid friendship is a great start for a great relationship.

        I don’t know you, I don’t know your story. What I do know is you can’t play the blame game. Don’t blame yourself for choosing to be with a man that left you when the going got rough. People only let us see what they want us to see and we’re often blinded by love. (*sigh* so cliche, right?). To get over my past I went through numerous therapy sessions, which helped to a point, but when the time is right, you’ll heal. It’s a matter of not focusing on it anymore. Find what makes you happy and focus on that. No one can heal you, but you. I seriously only stopped hating my ex within this past year. As for finding the right guy? It happens when you’re least expecting it. I thought J was going to be fuck buddy, end of story. I was so way wrong. Now I’m having his kid, 6 years later. (I’m 21 weeks BTW, more than halfway done.)

        You’re great at what you do, so keep it up, focus on what’s good in your life and remember, the scum that left you, gave you someone that loves you unconditionally. So, could it really be all that bad?

        Sorry this ended up being longer than I planned. Diahrea of the mouth at 9:00 in the morning isn’t usually my style. 🙂

      • Tiffany N. York
        Jan 25, 2013 @ 08:57:40

        What a great, great story! Thanks for sharing it. I’ve heard the most meaningful relationships begin with the solid basis of friendship. I love hearing stories about buddies who reconnect and fall in love. Were you attracted to him when you were just friends, even though you were both attached to others? Sorry about your first disaster of a marriage, but it probably allows you to appreciate your fiance so much more.

        BTW–are you planning to blog about your adventures in Mommyland????

  3. Crazy. Kinda.
    Jan 25, 2013 @ 12:27:25

    Honestly, yes, we were crazy about each other even when we were just friends. We just never acted on it. . .which is why I trust him as much as I do.

    I do plan on blogging, but I also planned on doing at least a weekly, if not daily, while I was pregnant, and that hasn’t worked out thus far. I’m pretty sporadic, but haven’t had a reliable computer at home. You know what they say about good intentions, yadda yadda yadda.


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