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For the Married Guys (And the Guys Who Have Been Married)


By BayArea   Follow   Fri, 28 Dec 2012, 2:55am PST   32,942 views   675 comments
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Hi guys,

As the old adage states, "Can't live with them, can't live without them."

For the guys that are married now or have been married, I'm wondering what your experience has been and if you could give a newly engaged man (hypothetical to me since I am not engaged) any piece of advise or wisdom, what would it be?

I love my GF, but for a few minutes I'm going to zoom out and look at things from a more technical, statistical, and less emotional point of view.

To be honest, I am a bit discouraged at just how many people I know who don't seem to be too happy in their marriages. It always seems to be the same story. Things started off great. There was excitement, adventure, strong physical and emotional chemistry. Then 2-3yrs into it, those feels started to fade. Some couples moved on to the next phase of their lives and had some glue, er I mean kids which kept things fresh and exciting.

I saw a plot in the newspaper several years back that showed divorce statistics as a function of time. There is a spike early on in the marriage (first couple of years), then one at 7 years (7-year itch), and one at about year 18-20 (when the glue is all grown up). If you make it past that, you are fairly safe (not necessarily happy, but likelihood of divorce is low). Some of that is influenced by the fact that you don't have the same options at 45 or 50 as you do at 25 or 30. Sucks, but that's the truth.

I recall reading a book by psycologist Scott Peck that studied the term "Love." He argues that 100% of relationships fall out of love, usually pretty early on in the first few years. The feeling of love is not true love then. The conscious decision to love someone once you lose the "in love" feeling is what real love is all about.

Regarding statistics, 50% of couples who get married in this country wind up in divorce (To be fair, some of those aren't 1st marriages so that 50% number isn't quite as bad as it seems - The reason is that 2nd marriages have a higher divorce rate than 1st marriages and 3rd marriages have a higher divorce rate than 2nd marriages). Moving on, if 50% of couples get divorced, then 50% of couples don't get divorced. Surely those 50% that remain together aren't all happy marriages? So then let's say that half of the marriages that stay together are happy. That means that 25% of couples getting married in the first place remain happy, lol. I really don't like the odds here!

But anytime you get into this debate, you have to get into the alternative, being alone into older age. As much as I see my folks fight and bicker, I tend to think it's better than the alternative (at least for the level they fight and bicker).

A while back Patrick argued that the average person remains in their purchased home for no more than 6-7 years. He said, you might think you are different, but statistically you are not. Same thing goes for divorce. Nobody goes into marriage thinking they will get a divorce. But statistically, 1 in 2 people do in the USA.

What do you guys think?

As a side note, I am really curious about the following. What is the divorce rate assuming the following:

Both Members are devout Catholic ?
Both Members are devout Christian ?
Both Members are devout Muslim ?
Both Members are Atheist ?
Members don't share religious beliefs ?

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hrhjuliet   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:02pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 596

Also, I used to joke in my early twenties that the bigger the diamond she required the shorter the duration of the marriage. Sad thing is: it's been true.

BayArea   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:15pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 597

hrhjuliet says

True, especially about height and eye color, which is terribly shallow and stupid. When I met my husband we were the same height (I am 5.6) but he ended up 6.2. I remember telling one of height obsessed girlfriends that I couldn't remember him miraculously becoming a better man at 6.2 - seemed to be the same exact guy.

I've met a lot of guys in the Bay who won't date a girl who can't help him put a down payment on a house, so you are right, it goes both ways.

Still, both should be signs the other person isn't ready for a committed relationship.

Exactly my point.

I don't know any guys that have a height cut-off for a girl. The MAJORITY of girls I know do have a height cut-off for guys.

It seems like 5'8" is that threshold that I keep hearing from girls. It can be made up for by personality and/or money, but not always easily as it can be tough to get that chance to show what you else can offer. Kinda sad, but that's how our world works.

And I agree with you on the diamond comment... Size of required diamond is inversely proportional to the length of the marriage. Has anyone here ever actually got married to a girl that specified a diamond size requirement? Good gawd, lol.

Haven't heard of eye color, but how's green sounding ;-)

Quigley   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:24pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 598

I'd heard of the diamond size thing too, so I bought a nice ring with a very modest diamond for my sweetie. She was still thrilled to be marrying me, which proved to me that she was definitely the one.
For our five year anniversary I surprised her by "upgrading" it to a really nice rock she can be proud of in front of her more materialistic friends. Turns out the larger stone was a good investment too. I think it's value has gone up 50% since.

BayArea   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:26pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 599

I've heard that the tradition of placing an aged piece of cut carbon on girl's finger to prove your genuine intentions to marry her is something that was invented about 90yrs ago.

Brilliant!

hrhjuliet   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:32pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 600

a href="http://patrick.net/?p=1220286&c=1077793#comment-1077793">BayArea says

It seems like 5'8" is that threshold that I keep hearing from girls. It can be made up for in personality and/or money, but not always easily. Kinda sad, but that's how our world works.

And I agree with you on the diamond comment... Size of required diamond is inversely proportional to the length of the marriage. Has anyone here ever actually got married to a girl that specified a diamond size requirement? Good gawd, lol.

Shouldn't be how our world works, and in healthy relationships it doesn't work that way. :-)

Oh goodness, if I had a dime for every time a heard one of my girlfriends attribute how much a guy loved them by the ring they got. Sickening. Have you heard of upgrading? Very popular in the Valley, a guy does well and he is expected to get her a new and fancier ring. I have a simple metal band, and it was put on my finger on my wedding day by my husband's hands and for no reason under the sun is it coming off for a fancier ring possibly mined by children - no thank you. Beware of the big wedding girl too. Weddings have turned into pageants for the bride, and the man is just an accessory. We had a beautiful wedding, but we kept it super simple. It was a lovely day because the pressure was low and we made it about our loved ones sharing our lives, not a photo fest.

Basically, be careful who you choose to marry. Marriage is a long business and superficial, selfish and prideful people usually don't last long in the business.

BayArea   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:35pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 601

Spot on again!

I am very weary of the pageant pride. Major red flag... on the same level as the min rock size bride. RUN

BayArea   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:38pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 602

Juliet, as someone that has been married for 25yrs, do you believe that we have an obligation to stay in shape and do our part to keep up appearances as best we can for ourselves and the other person (within reason of course)?

hrhjuliet   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:39pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 603

BayArea says

Spot on again!

I am very weary of the pageant pride. Major red flag... on the same level as the min rock size bride. RUN

Sounds like you will do very well. :-)
You've got your head on straight and it sounds like you found a nice girl.

BayArea   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:43pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 604

hrhjuliet says

BayArea says

Spot on again!

I am very weary of the pageant pride. Major red flag... on the same level as the min rock size bride. RUN

Sounds like you will do very well. :-)

You've got your head on straight and it sounds like you found a nice girl.

Thank you and I certainly hope so.

hrhjuliet   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:44pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 605

BayArea says

Juliet, as someone that has been married for 25yrs, do you believe that we have an obligation to stay in shape and do our part to keep up appearances as best we can for ourselves and the other person (within reason of course)?

You are asking an ex-professional ballerina. ;-) And we have been together for 25 years and married for eleven. We both wanted to finish college first to qualify for certain scholarships, so waited to get married.

My answer should be yes, but it's more complicated than that. In theory no, not a requirement, but something nice you do for your spouse on many levels. Everyone likes to see a healthy person at any age, and we are deprived of aesthetics enough in this era. The second reason is I want my husband to live a long and healthy life, so it makes me less anxious to see him take care of himself. It makes a difference, it truly does. I want lots of healthy years with my husband and boys, that's why I make the choice to feed my family healthy foods and take the boys to dance class and hikes with us. We all eat very healthy, and hike, bike and dance. We also don't drink alcohol which is unusual. We only drink water and coffee.

Ceffer   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:52pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 606

I thought the secret to successful long term marriage was chandelier swinging and naked trapeze riding wife swapping parties at monthly intervals.

hrhjuliet   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 12:57pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 607

Ceffer says

I thought the secret to successful long term marriage was chandelier swinging and naked trapeze riding wife swapping parties at monthly intervals.

I can do the first half successfully, expertly even, but no swapping. No one touches me or my man.

Rin   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:12pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 608

Ok, I'll throw something into this fire, if you're an American guy ... if you hadn't met Ms Right by the ages of 23 to 25, don't bother.

Afterwards, ppl lose their innocence and become opportunistic and manipulative.

hrhjuliet   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:15pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 609

Rin says

Ok, I'll throw something into this fire, if you're an American guy ... if you hadn't met Ms Right by the ages of 23 to 25, don't bother.

Afterwards, ppl lose their innocence and become opportunistic and manipulative.

Not all people. The nicest couple I know met and married, both for the first time, in their forties. The kindest and most genuine couple I have ever known.

Rin   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:37pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 610

hrhjuliet says

Rin says

Ok, I'll throw something into this fire, if you're an American guy ... if you hadn't met Ms Right by the ages of 23 to 25, don't bother.

Afterwards, ppl lose their innocence and become opportunistic and manipulative.

Not all people. The nicest couple I know met and married, both for the first time, in their forties. The kindest and most genuine couple I have ever known.

I'm not saying that it's not possible but probabilities go down dramatically, after the age of innocence.

hrhjuliet   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:43pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 611

Rin says

I'm not saying that it's not possible but probabilities go down dramatically, after the age of innocence.

You might be right that it gets harder. When I met my husband he was short, skinny, freckled, and his teeth hadn't grown into his face, and I was chubby cheeked, freakishly skinny, and badly in need of braces. Our sexy ride was our old rusty bikes, and money simply meant ice cream after a movie. And we couldn't have been more in love.

The world jades people pretty bad, but there are lots of people who manage to not let the world ruin them. They are out there at every age.

sbh   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:46pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike (1)     Comment 612

hrhjuliet says

And we couldn't have been more in love.

I'm truly proud for you. I feel the same way about my wife. Her only flaw is her lousy taste in men.

hrhjuliet   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:49pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 613

sbh says

hrhjuliet says

And we couldn't have been more in love.

I'm truly proud for you. I feel the same way about my wife. Her only flaw is her lousy taste in men.

:-)

Strategist   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 1:57pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 614

hrhjuliet says

sbh says

hrhjuliet says

And we couldn't have been more in love.

I'm truly proud for you. I feel the same way about my wife. Her only flaw is her lousy taste in men.

:-)

See....isn't life good guys?
Now let me jump on my wife before she gets her headache.

sbh   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 2:01pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 615

Strategist says

Now let me jump on my wife before she gets her headache.

Drink your tea first.

hrhjuliet   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 2:10pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 616

sbh says

Strategist says

Now let me jump on my wife before she gets her headache.

Drink your tea first.

Bah ha ha!

sbh   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 2:16pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 617

hrhjuliet says

sbh says

Strategist says

Now let me jump on my wife before she gets her headache.

Drink your tea first.

Bah ha ha!

Our private joke at home is oleander salad and wild mushrooms: "Here, darlin' your lunch is ready."

clambo   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 2:25pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 618

Marriage is OK but the marriages that I see usually have one partner carrying the load.
My friend here asked me about my girlfriend who was upset and mean on skype. I told him she loses her temper and I'm often pissed off, "It's like marriage". Oh oh.
The biology of the sexual attraction is that it wears off by about 5 years, sometimes sooner. The "seven year itch" is the time you are ready to leave no matter how expensive it is.
California is a deadly state to be married in unless you have a premarital agreement. I know of many nightmares, wife and husband being unreasonable in random cases.
My friend married a guy and they worked and had 3 houses, one practically paid for, one cash flow positive, the one they lived in had lots of equity. The husband wanted to leave and be with a girlfriend but was so angry that the wife sued for divorce, he allowed all 3 houses to be foreclosed so that she would be "out in the street".
If you ever do get married or "buy the cow" as some say, make sure you have not had serious doubts about her anger or background.
The notion of being lonely is valid, but if kids are not in the picture, then marriage is not a necessity in California. You can co-habitate for as long as it works.

hrhjuliet   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 2:27pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (3)   Dislike     Comment 619

sbh says

hrhjuliet says

sbh says

Strategist says

Now let me jump on my wife before she gets her headache.

Drink your tea first.

Bah ha ha!

Our private joke at home is oleander salad and wild mushrooms: "Here, darlin' your lunch is ready."

I actually drank oleander tea as kid, at what my mother called our macabre tea party, no joke. I had my stomach pumped and almost died. I had put oleander in my tea to make it pretty. My sister let the doctor shove the tube down her throat, but I fought him, so I spent my toddler years sounding like the exorcist. It was actually very sad. My dad came home and ripped out every bush when he got home. You still can't say the word oleander around my father.

Also, I am afraid in the Boardwalk photo I look like someone who might poison someone's tea. Technically I have poisoned my twin sister's tea, but she lived and with her voice intact. It was me who put the flowers in our tea, so it was my doing. So look out Strategist.

hrhjuliet   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 2:36pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 620

clambo says

The notion of being lonely is valid, but if kids are not in the picture, then marriage is not a necessity in California. You can co-habitate for as long as it works.

I thought marriage wouldn't change anything, just a piece of paper and all that, but I was pleasantly surprised that it did change things. The day of the wedding was undescribable. All I can say in words is that having all your loved ones and your spouse's loved ones looking so happy and beautiful, and all there to witness your family be joined, well, it's magical. Also, it took me years before any one calling me Mrs. plus my husband's name didn't make me smile. It still makes me happy.

sbh   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 2:42pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 621

hrhjuliet says

I actually drank oleander tea as kid

Sorry to bring back that memory. It grows everywhere in Tucson where we used to live, so it was part of our typical 25 year marriage banter, that along with amanita. We've gathered so many kinds of wild mushrooms it just becomes part of the dialogue. If Strategist needs a recipe for quiche I have a few suggestions.

hrhjuliet   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 2:48pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 622

We've been together 25 years this year and married eleven years. I'm okay with the oleander story, especially since I don't personally remember it. It's my poor dad who is traumatized. It's strange, I still say oleander smells like candy, but I have had friends who say that they can't smell that or that it stinks?

BayArea   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 3:02pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 623

Rin says

hrhjuliet says

Rin says

Ok, I'll throw something into this fire, if you're an American guy ... if you hadn't met Ms Right by the ages of 23 to 25, don't bother.

Afterwards, ppl lose their innocence and become opportunistic and manipulative.

Not all people. The nicest couple I know met and married, both for the first time, in their forties. The kindest and most genuine couple I have ever known.

I'm not saying that it's not possible but probabilities go down dramatically, after the age of innocence.

Rin, that's an interesting topic you bring up.

Not only for marriage, but I find that every year I get older, it somehow gets just a little harder to form genuine deep relationships with people. As the innocence is lost, people get more rigid, more jaded, more solidified in their beliefs... Outside of my family, the closest people in my life are ones that I went through some sort of struggle with. Getting through engineering school together, playing high school football together, perhaps moving to a new city together, etc...

Outside of becoming more rigid/jaded, I find that as people get older, many also marry, and the vast majority of those who do marry are no longer available on that deeper friendship level anymore. There are only so many hrs in a day and only so much of yourself that you have available to give outside of your spouse/kids.

Going back to marriage, I definitely think there's some truth to what you are saying that as people get older, there is certainly more of the opportunistic/manipulative nature that tends to come out, especially in the dating world. I will also say that in general the amount of baggage that a person has correlates with age. The older you are, the higher the likelihood that you have had more partners, kids, shared finances, etc...

But despite this, I do believe that most people are good, they give their best, want to do what's right, and ultimately want to be happy with that special someone.

BayArea   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 3:07pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 624

hrhjuliet says

My answer should be yes, but it's more complicated than that. In theory no, not a requirement, but something nice you do for your spouse on many levels. Everyone likes to see a healthy person at any age, and we are deprived of aesthetics enough in this era. The second reason is I want my husband to live a long and healthy life, so it makes me less anxious to see him take care of himself. It makes a difference, it truly does. I want lots of healthy years with my husband and boys, that's why I make the choice to feed my family healthy foods and take the boys to dance class and hikes with us. We all eat very healthy, and hike, bike and dance. We also don't drink alcohol which is unusual. We only drink water and coffee.

Excellent answer...

Vicente   Fri, 25 Apr 2014, 4:50pm PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike (1)     Comment 625

BayArea says

It's been a while since I've come back here but I have to thank all of you for sharing your insight and experiences. That was a very educational and entertaining read folks.

So... how'd it go?

This is too long a thread for me to re-read, but I've been thinking about this point recently. The 3 things in order of priority that a couple needs to be ing good agreement on in the long run:

1) Money
2) Sex
3) Children

The Missus and I both established early on, we were tightwads and savers/investors. We are both minimalists and would rather travel than have a mansion and a million things to own us. Arguments about money? Never.

New Renter   Sat, 26 Apr 2014, 1:51am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 626

hrhjuliet says

take the boys to dance class

Did your boys have any trouble in school for taking dance or did you enroll them concurrently into some lethal form of martial arts?

epitaph   Sat, 26 Apr 2014, 2:55am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 627

What is a reasonable amount of money to spend on a ring/wedding?

Peter P   Sat, 26 Apr 2014, 3:12am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 628

epitaph says

What is a reasonable amount of money to spend on a ring/wedding?

My rule of thumb is:

Ring: 2 days' work
Wedding: 2 months' work

Peter P   Sat, 26 Apr 2014, 3:14am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 629

You may also want to subliminally telegraph the silliness of diamonds throughout the relationship.

Just say a ring is meaningful only if it is symbolic. But talk about this over an expensive dinner, so she doesn't think you are cheap.

It's all about mind tricks.

NOT RELATIONSHIP ADVICE

CaptainShuddup   Sat, 26 Apr 2014, 3:27am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike (1)     Comment 630

I didn't realize this was an old thread.

CaptainShuddup   Sat, 26 Apr 2014, 3:30am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (4)   Dislike (1)     Comment 631

epitaph says

What is a reasonable amount of money to spend on a ring/wedding?

We got married at the JP. Big wedding are the biggest waste of money in our Society. Save that money and so something useful with it.

I've known newly weds that just had a $30,000 wedding, then less than three months later they are struggling to pay rent and their other bills.

Those kids would have been better off with 30K in seed money.

SoftShell   Sat, 26 Apr 2014, 4:36am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like   Dislike     Comment 632

that takes care of #1.
what about #2??

Vicente says

1) Money

2) Sex

3) Children

The Missus and I both established early on, we were tightwads and savers/investors. We are both minimalists and would rather travel than have a mansion and a million things to own us. Arguments about money? Never.

Bullshit   Sat, 26 Apr 2014, 5:24am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (2)   Dislike     Comment 633

The ring is simply insurance for the woman if the marriage doesn't work out. If she wants a bigger ring: she anticipates things not working out.

epitaph   Sat, 26 Apr 2014, 7:26am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (1)   Dislike     Comment 634

Well, the reason I ask is because I recently decided to buy the cow as they say and purchase an expensive ring knowing it was money that could be better used. The good news is that the wedding will be about 3.5k total which is pretty frugal considering all of the over priced options the bay area has to offer. The ring was 5k which naturally I thought was too fucking much, but considering her sister got a 2+ karat diamond she probably thought she was taking a pretty big discount. And the one thing I've learned through this whole wedding process is that there are crooks at every corner ready to offer some stupid overpriced service that you don't need but hey EVERYONE DOES IT SO YOU SHOULD TOO. That capitalized part petty much sums up what I think about weddings in the western world. I'm very happy to be tying the knot but this process is ridiculous.

The average engagement ring costs 5.2k.
Average wedding is America 25.2k.

elliemae   Sat, 26 Apr 2014, 7:34am PDT   Share   Quote   Permalink   Like (4)   Dislike     Comment 635

A practical woman (there are a few of us around) would prefer you spend less on the ring & wedding - and more on something important like the future.

A nice honeymoon trip is cool too, but not opulent.

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