It’s called a “trip down the aisle” for a reason, hons. It’s not a vacation trip. It’s not a business trip. Well, actually sometimes it is, to be realistic. It’s more often the version of “trip” that involves a stumble. Or a face plant even.

When you marry, these days, you have a 50% chance of getting divorced at some point. If you are remarrying, this increases to 75%. If you are remarrying multiple times, you can probably get a volume discount on catering and rentals.

I am Fenwick’s second bride. He is my first husband. We almost divorced after Seymour was born, because this was when I learned a painful and hidden lesson. I learned his mother is actually a demon hellhound from the depths of Hades lair. Yes, she reads my page and will laugh hysterically when she sees this. I call her this directly. She’s not this way to everyone. Just to me and all the spouses of her spawn. We have formed an alliance now and hold an annual Mother Crabby pissing contest. I often win, because she is particularly not fond of me.

After Seymour arrived, Mother Crabby showed up on our doorstep every weekend from Thursday to Sunday for the first few weeks, ostensibly to “help” me. What she did was to help herself. She expected clean sheets on the guest couch every day, prepared home cooked meals, fresh towels, a nightly massage and ear cleaning. All the while, she spent her time doing what Fenwick and I needed to be doing, which was taking care of Seymour and sleeping. When I refused to stop waiting on her hand and foot, she threw a fit, went into Fenwick’s closet and took back every ugly sweater she’d ever given him and told him it was “me or that bitch!” meaning me. Fenwick chose neither and it’s been war ever since. She’s done this to all Fenwick’s siblings as well as to her friends’ children who had newborns. She has amassed quite a collection of sweaters at this point. Not to mention the restraining orders.

But to the point, hons. Before you marry, understand that you are also marrying a family, unless you go to lengths to insure that you won’t have to have anything to do with them. Including this in a pre-nup is not at all a bad idea. I have a post-nup now, after Cousin Farold’s holiday visit.

Here are some hints for you to know that you might have future trouble with your soon to be in-laws:

~Your MIL-to-be buys you personal items for your household without consulting you. Things like toilet paper, laundry detergent, breakfast cereal and feminine hygiene products, because she says “that’s what (your prospective mate) has always enjoyed.” I absolutely refused to use the pussywillows or cat tails that Fenwick’s mother insisted on giving me in place of tampons. And mail catalogues as toilet paper gave me a terrible rash from the inks. You have to be careful here.

~Your intended’s family does not include you in invitations to holiday gatherings until after you are married. This often hints at arcane and potentially objectionable family traditions and/or rituals. For example, at every gathering Fenwick’s family insists on a naked dance under the moon after drinking a glass of Manischewitz from a shared silver goblet. Personally, I despise Manischewitz. If they would change it to something more palatable, I’d feel better about the whole thing.

~When a sister or brother-in-law to be keeps regaling you with nudges and winks and “you’ll see’s”, take these seriously. Because you really do not want to see too late rather than too soon.

~When you catch your intended’s family going through your private photos and financial papers when invited to your home. As a precaution, a lockbox is really a friendly thing. Unless you marry into a family of burglars. Know that they will go through your medicine cabinet. Because anyone invited to your home is going to go through your medicine cabinet. It’s just what people do.

If you sweep your discomforts under the rug with an idea that you’re going to change him or her after the wedding, then you are a silly billy. You will never change anyone else, without the illegal use of sharp or blunt objects. It’s just never going to happen. The only changing you will ever do is with your clothes or your mind. You can change someone’s behavior toward you, by pushing them away with repulsive behavior. This comes in handy in later years if your intended gets fat or stops practicing good hygiene, and you’ve got outstanding reasons to stay married. But you will never ever change their nature. They will mutate quite well all on their own.

Another good tip is to look around you and make a list of all the married couples you know in two columns: one marked “happy” and the other “not happy.” Then look at the “happy” entries and really think about them. Are they really happy or are they pretending? Or perhaps they are medicated. You’ll know after you go through their medicine cabinet.

Be careful what you wish for, hons and be very careful of “the aisle.” That road is fraught with danger!

IB Crabby

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Tell Mrs. Crabby all!

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