Getting married is awesome. You’re nailing down sex for life (sort of), committing your life to your most attractive best friend, and best of all, you get all kinds of free shit from people you barely talk to. It’s like graduation, but without the feeling of impending doom from the amount of dough you’re about to fork out for tuition. But along with that last bit is a minefield of bullshit. Sure, you get to register for gifts, but even in that scenario, the two of you are often just shooting your little laser gun on just about everything in the store after a couple of hours or so, because you’d rather be doing just about anything else. Plus, there are all sorts of clever people who want to get you something “unique” and “unexpected,” which are code words for “never going to be used.”
If you registered for fine china, then this is on you. For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone owns a set of super nice, extremely brittle dishes that they will never use. What’s that? Oh, it’s for special occasions? Well that’s interesting. Can you remember the last time you were over at someone’s house for a “special occasion” where the plates you were eating off of really put the evening on a whole different level? Seriously, plates are fucking plates. If you’re having fun, telling stories, and eating good food, no one will notice what the hell the food is served on, and if you’re having a bad time, a nice serving bowl won’t change your mind. Plus, someday down the road when you have kids, one of them will inevitably break one of the dishes by accident, you’ll get unreasonably angry about it, and traumatize him. Is that what you want? A fancy bowl that causes childhood nightmares? I didn’t think so.
2. Relationship Books
I put very, very little stock into any type of book or publication that tries to tell someone how to do something well. I know, a little ironic, given that the vast majority of the things I write are me asserting myself as some sort of expert who you should listen to. It’s for that reason that I don’t trust it. I don’t know why anyone would actually give anything I say any sort of weight. I’m an idiot. I’m barely able to keep my own life in order, much less be an authority on what others should do, but at least I’m up front about that. All sorts of self-appointed “experts” are out there writing books on how to do something successfully. Whether it’s writing movies, making money, or building a successful marriage, these are all people you should be wary of. How the hell can you trust anything written by an author about happy marriages when for all you know, the author could be the worst fucking spouse in the world? Or for that matter, what if he or she isn’t even married? Plus, those books are dry as fuck–not a single vulgarity or dick joke in sight. Who wants that?
3. Dumb Decorations
Next time you’re hanging out with your newlywed friends, take a gander at their stack of opened gifts. I swear to God, it looks like Pottery Barn ate a bad batch of pad thai and took a rowdy deuce in the corner. If you’re a newlywed, one of the best things about this period is getting to figure out what your combined personal style is going to be. Why let it be determined by other people? Spend some time together browsing art galleries, finding random stuff online, and going on trips. That’s how you decorate a home. You don’t do it with the fall collection from a furnishings store. Everything on your walls and tables should have a story and should be an extension of your combined personalities. Have some flair and build it yourself.
4. Single Task Kitchen Machines
I love to cook, and I’ll admit, I get enamored with little kitchen doodads that do really fancy things. I think if someone set me loose in a store to register for gifts, I’d probably shoot that gun at several little gadgets. And you know what? They’re fun for the first couple of times you use them. Then they just take up space. Sure, a salad shooter is cool, but how often do you make salad? And that goes for any device that chops or dices for you. Slap chop? Awesome in theory, but ultimately redundant. Learn yourself some damn knife skills and throw all that garbage into the trash where it belongs. Super expensive wine opener? Fucking why? Since when did we decide that the normal corkscrew wasn’t good enough? It’s two simple machines built into one beautifully elegant device. And guess what? It works great! When was the last time it was actually difficult to use a corkscrew? Oh, never? Then why do you need this cumbersome thing that requires batteries to get the stopper out of your booze receptacle? I’ll give you a hint: you don’t.
I’ve always been a big believer in hearing out people who come to me to give their perspective on something I’m dealing with when they have a good deal of experience with it. Marriage is no different. There are things that every married couple has learned that single people who haven’t gone through it couldn’t possibly understand. It’s for that reason that the advice you’ll get from people all around you at your wedding (often unsolicited) is not all that useful. Sure, it’s nice to hear a few anecdotes and little nuggets of wisdom on how to handle this new thing you’ve gotten yourself into, but ultimately, you’re going to have to learn the lessons yourself. Friendly advice, no matter how poignant, isn’t going to actually affect how you handle yourself once the real shit hits the fan. Whether it’s financial trouble, jealousy, differences of opinion, or the inability to ever agree on something to watch on Netflix, you and your spouse are just going to have to suck it up and figure out the way works best for you. That’s only the story with good advice, let alone what drunk Uncle Reggie is whispering in your ear at the reception, in spite of the fact that he hasn’t managed to make any of his four failed marriages work. Reggie’s an idiot. Don’t listen to Reggie.