I was married for almost 13 years. Not all to the same woman, but the point is that before rushing into marriage you should consider some kind of formal training. I recommend a degree in abnormal psychology.
My first marriage would have been lovely if I were a grownup. Alas, it was like Rodgers and Hammerstein writing a masterpiece, then casting for its hero a rabid monkey. So it goes.
I will share, then, from my recent marriage since Yahaira has already signed off on this column. (Yes, I'm still getting permission.)
As an ovum bearer, Yahaira was big on eye contact. Had she been a programmer, her software would work only when it has your undivided attention. And there'd be macros that go off any time you hit the wrong keys. Escape! ESCAPE!
If Yahaira had her way, humans would listen with their mouths so that you'd always have to prove that you're listening.
"No, honey, I'm not yawning; I'm tuning in."
The best moments of our marriage came, believe it or not, during PMS (psychotic monthly situation), when Yahaira would fume about someone and I would offer to kill them.
"You'd really do that for me?" she said, blushing.
And I nodded with that uneasy feeling you get before you join a cult.
The problem with mixed marriages -- those between men and women -- is that women have issues that a man cannot fix. We'd like to repair that leak in her tear ducts, for instance, but duct tape doesn't come that small. And WD40 only makes things worse.
Yahaira and I never went to bed angry, which is to say that we stayed up "debating" till we both looked like zombies from "Night of the Living Dead."
"Brains ... I cannot find your brains ..."
It's funny how we resist making up after a fight. Part of you is going, "Tell her you love her. Say your sorry. Who cares?" Another part wrestles you into a half-nelson and goes, "No, it burns! Sssss."
Yahaira always wanted to make up when I was in the middle of something like, say, Raiders-Packers: "I think we should spend more time together and develop our intimacy..."
And ladies, I wanted to listen -- I really did -- but all I could hear was, "Johnson cuts up the middle; he breaks a tackle; he COULD ... GO ... ALL ... THE ... WAAAY."
He was the only one going all the way.
Yahaira and I both worked at home, so in total together-time we were married for 600 years, two old mountains rubbing shoulders for eternity. "And another thing: I'm tired of you taking me for granite!"
No matter how much you love your mate, comes a time when, if you don't get out a little, your tolerance level drops to dangerous lows, as in, "Could you PLEASE stop digesting so loudly!"
Yahaira and I had trouble in little rooms like the bathroom. I'd use the triangle towels, which would, of course, turn into words about my driving, and before you knew it she was running me out with a blow dryer...
"This bathroom ain't big enough for the both of us."
I'm sure it's the same all over the animal kingdom. Dog wives ambling in with a glass of brandy and Tammy Fae eyeliner: "You don't sniff my butt anymore." Turtle wives banging on the shells of their husbands: "You come out this instance -- we are not done talking." Minnie Mouse being ushered away in handcuffs: "It was his voice. I just couldn't TAKE it anymore!"
If your own marriage is experiencing technical difficulty, you might consider finding a common enemy. Remember: Even warring dogs are one against the wolf. Have your pastimes, sure, but also look for something you can really despise together -- leaf blowers, junk mail, Paula Abdul. Then get together once a week to really hate the hell out of it. And once your blood really starts to boil, crawl into bed and don't say a word.