May 6, 2014

Misty Watson: Words of wisdom for couples

— Eight years ago today I really wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into.

I was nervous. Er, well, that might be a bit of an understatement.

I was stomach-a-ball-of-knots-don’t-talk-to-me-don’t-even-look-at-me-or-I-will-bite-your-head-off nervous.

It wasn’t about the day itself. I already had to change my outdoor plans thanks to heavy rains. It was about the commitment I was making. I was only 23, and I swore I would never get married until I was at least 30.

But there I stood — in a white dress, holding a bouquet of daisies and wearing earrings and makeup, of all things — ready to vow to love, honor and cherish a man I’d known for close to two years.

I really had no way of understanding the extent of this commitment. I don’t guess any of us really do until we get there.

I know Chris and I are still considered a fairly young married couple, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a few things in our short time as husband and wife:

1. Traditional roles in the home don’t always work. You’ve got to find what works for you and your spouse and not listen to what “should” be done. (If there is a single piece of written word by Michael or Debi Pearl in your home, throw it out and get that idea women should submit to husbands to the point of being abused nonsense out of your head.)

2. Never go to bed angry at each other. That’s one of those do as I say, not as I do things. I tend to go to bed angry and wake up angrier. Chris tends to go to bed and forget any of it ever happened, which just makes me angrier. That brings me to ...

3. Don’t do something you know is going to make your wife angry. Ever heard “happy wife, happy life?” Chris wholeheartedly agrees with that saying.

4. Make time to reconnect with each other. Turn off the TV, turn the cellphone off and shut the computer down. I mean, don’t do that during football season. Do it during basketball season or one of the 500 bazillion laps of a NASCAR race.

5. As much as I love The Beatles, love isn’t all you need. You also need patience, hugs, a listening ear, ways to make each other laugh, trust and common interests. In a perfect world, you’d both be Atlanta Falcons fans. (Somehow I married a Carolina Panthers fan. I still don’t know how I let that happen.)

6. Respect each other’s differences instead of trying to change each other. I know it’s hard if you are a liberal married to a conservative Republican, but if I can do it, surely you can, too.

7. Do not hold grudges. It’s hard not to remind your spouse about that time he ate all but five fries when he said he’d share an order with you every time you say you’re going to share fries now. But try to let it go. He was hungry and he said he was sorry.

8. Discuss when you’re ready to have children, and how it will affect you. Of course, no matter what you think or what you prepare for, you’ll be wrong. You will never be ready for a 2-year-old tornado on two feet. (Was that Sophie or The Tasmanian Devil that just blurred by?)

9. Encourage each other’s talents. Chris is so encouraging of my photography and writing. He says if I take on enough work on top of my job here at the newspaper, he can be a stay-at-home dad. (Refer to No. 1 about traditional roles in the home.) And I’ve been encouraging him, a lot, to get better at his around-the-house plumbing skills. (Anyone want to teach him how to clear our sink drain of a reoccurring clog?)

10. Be mindful of what you say about your spouse to others. And if you want to share something publicly — let’s say in a newspaper column, for example — make sure you don’t submit it to be printed until you get an “LOL! I love you!” email approval from your spouse first.

Murray County native Misty Watson is a staff writer and photographer for the Daily Citizen. She and her husband, Chris Wheeler, got married on May 7, 2006. To contact her, email mistywatson@daltoncitizen.com; visit facebook.com/MistyWatsonDCN; or visit on Twitter, @mistydwatson.

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