The First Year of Marriage and Why I Wear Pants by David T. Robbins

it’s not just that David T. Robbins thinks i’m so amazing that he got married on my daughter’s birthday (it’s also Elvis and David Bowie’s birthday, but who cares), it’s that he use to be one of my favorite bloggers before he went and got all responsible with his time and crap.  you can follow him like a stalker on Twitter still though.  sometimes he talks about gorillas, i think.

enjoy or die.

“The First Year of Marriage and Why I Wear Pants”

For a lot of you, this isn’t going to directly apply except in regards to you sharing your wisdom (and/or folly) with those whom it does concern. That being said, shut up. Stop telling me what to do and stop acting like you’re better than Kim Kardashian just because your mom told (lied) you so.

My wife and I got married on January 8, 2011 and I remember that the last few months up to our big day were showered with warnings of how hard our first year was going to be. Everyone who was anyone with a Bible and a Rush t-shirt told us that the first year was going to test us, wreck us, and bring us closer together. It was prophesied over me by that guy with the thing from the place that I would at some point question whether or not I made the right decision, as would my wife. We were going to have to get “used” to each other. Screaming. Yelling. Throwing bottles and knives. Therapy. Crying (mostly me). Weight gain. Depression. Drinking. These were to be our future for the next year because “that’s just what it’s like in the first year of marriage”.

The truth is, apart from me crying occasionally in the shower over an episode of The Bachelor, those couldn’t have been more wrong.

We just had our one year anniversary, and honestly, we’ve had the best year of our lives. It hasn’t been easy, but the whole Doomsday apocalyptic “advice” we received was void.

I’m not saying that we’ve done everything right or that maybe we’ll be late-bloomers and our second year of marriage will be crap (which I really doubt and pray doesn’t come to pass), but I feel like there’s a few things we’ve learned that I care to share with you now. They’re not new news. But they’re worth hearing again.

  1. Talk. Every night. About everything. This was advice my dad gave me. And it was perfect. These were the times my wife and I laugh the most. It helps us cope with the day. The fact of the matter is that, at the end of the day, everyone wants to know that someone else gives a crap about the b.s. that happens to them during their day — big and small. You’re supposed to be that person for them. If you’re not and they’re running off to a family member, friend, ex, etc., you’re failing miserably and God knows where you’ll end up. Something I learned the hard way was how easy it is to try and hide something small from your spouse — like the fact that you forgot to pay a bill on time and developed a $50 late fee over it. That may not seem like much, but it happens. The worst thing you can do is hide it like a child afraid of getting in trouble with your parents. It pisses your spouse off and makes you look like an idiot. You have to share those tiny, important things. This eliminates 99% of your problems.
  2. Have Sex. You’d think this is an easy thing to do considering how horny you are before the big day, but there’s an old saying, “Before you’re married, all the devil wants you do to is have sex. After you’re married, that’s the last thing he wants you to do.” Between work, responsibilities, gym, reading Sharideth’s blog, etc. you’re going to be exhausted at the end of the day. And while sex is good, it’s sex. Not the elixir of life. And, sorry, it’s awkward as hell at first. You’re not the John Stamos in bed you thought you were, dudes. Ladies, let’s be honest, you could be wearing a potato sack and we’d still jump you. However, don’t wear the potato sack. Make it interesting. Back to you, guys. You need to initiate the kind of sex she wants on a regular basis — this means different things to different people. But most women don’t want to feel like they’re in a porn, so please don’t treat them that way. Again, this is something you guys need to talk about. Find out what you like/dislike. Try it out. Throw it out if it doesn’t work. But for God’s sake, HAVE SEX. Because if your spouse isn’t getting it from you, they’re finding other ways to cope. 
  3. Laugh. A lot. At each other. If you don’t have a sense of humor, now is the time to start developing one. Mostly, when it comes to laughing at yourself. You’re going to do ridiculous things that make yourselves look like complete idiots. And your spouse will/should laugh at you. Not in a demeaning “you suck” kind of way. But in a “awww, honey/babe/Bob/Shirley/winky-dink” kind of way. You have to find things to laugh about. It kills stress, depression, anger, and a thousand other emotions we hate.
  4. Watch TV together. It’s amazing to me how many couples are opposed to this. My wife and I love sitting with each other on the couch and watching one of our shows. Granted, you may only have one show that you equally enjoy, but for Christ’s sake watch it together!! If one of you misses it, record it and watch it together later or watch it online. Nearly everyone has the Internet and access to their shows online. Quit being a Kris Humphries!
  5. Go on dates. Regularly. Again, this means different things to different people. My wife and I are easy-to-please dinner and movie people. We try to go out once a month for dinner, movies, and an ice cream. You guys figure it out. Dudes, this is mostly you. However, ladies, if you want to make your husband happy, take him to his favorite place or whatever it is he likes to do. Once more, figure it out.

 And lastly…

       6.  Don’t ever kick your spouse while they’re down. Ever. For any reason. EVER. Recently, I lost my job. It sucked because I had only been there three weeks. It was a higher-paying job that I really was looking forward to since we’re also expecting our first baby in March. But, low and behold, the company shut down and we were SOL. I remember when our District Supervisor sat us down and told us. I actually left mid-sentence and bolted. I couldn’t believe they’d do this to someone who just left a job of six years and was also expecting a child. It was b.s. to say the least. I sat in my car for at least half an hour trying to figure out how I was going to tell my wife. I knew she’d be devastated. After conjuring up the right words, I finally called her. I won’t lie about it, I cried a little. I couldn’t help it. I felt like such a failure. My wife’s response? Well, she cried, too. But her exact words were “Honey, it’s ok. You were just doing what you thought was right for all of us. God will work it out.” Never an “I told you so” or “Well, how are you going to fix this!?” I came home. She fixed me a sandwich, and we prayed. And I saw again why I loved her and why I married her. Don’t ever kick your spouse while they’re down. Ever. For any reason. EVER.

While I’ve got another minute, I’m going to do a shameless plug. Because we’ve decided that I’m going to take the next year and finish school, I’m not working. However, I am selling some of the music I’ve recorded to bring in some extra cash. So far, it’s been helping. If you get a chance, do me a favor and go listen to my music here. If you like it, buy it and help us out. If not, no harm done. Either way, thanks for listening. And thanks for reading what an idiot like me has to say.

you heard the man.  have sex and buy his record.

follow David on Twitter.

any surprises here for you?

any other first year advice?

questions?

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8 comments on “The First Year of Marriage and Why I Wear Pants by David T. Robbins

  1. Rachel says:

    David,

    Thank you for the post. I am not married, or dating, or anything really, but this is really sound advice that I hope to incorporate into my marriage some day. I too get frustrated at all the doomsday talk, as much as I get frustrated when young mothers complain about motherhood. I want to scream “you wanted that baby! Be grateful you have the most awesome job in the world! Sure it’s hard, but so is sitting behind a desk all day. Suck it up and be grateful!” Sorry for the side note. I’ll pray for you guys as you head into this new stage. Have fun!

    Rachel

  2. Excellent, Mr. Trobbins.

    Our first year wasn’t what everyone predicted, either.

    Neither were the next 7.

    If you continue to put her before yourself, your friends and family, then you’ll do fine.

    When you’re in a tight spot trying to figure out how to please everyone, just remember this: You sleep with her, not them. And you’ll continue to until you’re old and smelly and those other people are all gone.

    And girls – go back and read point #6 again. It’s huge. Bigger than you know. That was a make-or-break response right there, and your wife nailed it.

  3. Jennifer C says:

    This is so good to hear. I am tired of people telling me that if I get married, the first year will suck.

    I am wondering, though– How incredibly awkward is the sex talk in premarital counseling?

    Also, did you and your wife talk about all of this before you were married?

  4. Donna says:

    Fantastic post. I’m in my 1st year of marriage myself and your advice and description of what it’s like sounds right in my ears. I like that you keep saying “Figure it out.” If anything, that’s the key to the 1st year, figuring out what is right for you two as a married couple, since you haven’t been a married couple until now. My husband and I are doing a lot of figuring it out for ourselves, and while it’s definitely work, it’s the best kind of work and absolutely worth it.

    Also, a small amendment/addition to #4: while my husband and I watch a wee bit of TV proper, and more often watch movies via DVD (we’re catching each other up on our favorites, since we only met a year and a half ago and have different tastes in movies). In addition to this though, more often than not the thing we do that seems to fit in with this piece of advice is just sit next to each other in bed and each do some combination of the following: read a book, surf the web on our individual web surfing devices, etc. Sometimes we even do the activity in question together: we read a book together out loud (we’re dorks), or we watch TV shows on YouTube together (latest has been the Cosby Show). But even when we’re each doing our own thing, just being in each other’s presence like that at the end of the day when we’re both unwinding our brains is a real blessing to us. But this should be balanced with #1 as well–talking together in addition to the quiet activities. It’s all good stuff, to be done often.

    And finally, #6 is spot on. I put myself in your wife’s shoes as you described what happened to you, and imagined it was my husband calling me with the same news: and since we’re expecting our first baby this summer, and my husband at present works two part time jobs and isn’t yet satisfied with his overall employment situation, it wasn’t hard to imagine. I can’t imagine responding in any way other than how your wife did: when the person you love more than yourself is clearly in pain, even and when that pain causes you to be in pain too (which is natural because no one wants to see the person they love in pain), the only course of action is to do whatever you can to ease that pain–CERTAINLY not make it worse by lashing out on impulse.

    Great post. Also, digging your music at the moment and as soon as I can set a few bucks aside I will do my best to throw in my support 🙂

    • Bethany says:

      My college roommate and I loved reading books out loud together, which we figured was pretty dorky. But then I had a supervisor who told me she and her husband read a book out loud on their honeymoon! “Will read books with me” has been on the list for my future-one-true-love ever since!

  5. Steph says:

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    I loved how he mentioned that after he lost his job he “…came home. She fixed me a sandwich, and we prayed.” There’s something beautiful about the simplicity there. She didn’t try to offer up useless advise or try to “fix” a situation she couldn’t. She made him a sandwich and they went to the only One who could.

  6. Chris says:

    Wow. Thanks very much for the excellent post. Inspiring.

  7. Josh says:

    Thanks for the wisdom, David. Not being married/in relationship presently but knowing enough people and situations therewith, I can tell your points could easily apply to any time in a marriage not just the first year.

    And while it’s an admittedly shameless plug, I realized after checking it out it was more of a public service, as your music is most certainly frackin awesome.

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