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After years of writing about being single, screenwriter Cindy Chupack's (known for her stint penning the hilarious and illuminating show Sex and the City) latest memoir delves into the not-always-happily-ever-after truth about marriage. Here, she shares a few honest opinions about relationships—once the knot has been tied.
In my new book, The Longest Date: Life as a Wife, I wanted to tell the honest, horrible, hysterical truth about the early years of marriage, the things no one told me—like that I would go from Bride (for whom there are multiple glossy magazines) to Wife (for whom there are none). So here's a taste of what you're in for, dear reader, as the latter:
1. Your husband will own something you dislike, and you will have to display it prominently in your home because it's his home too.
These dusty relics of his bachelor past will mean less to him over time, but early on it's important to make room for his velvet Elvis and that leather trunk he found on the street and made into a bookshelf. (He will maintain that his velvet Elvis is ironic, but it's not so ironic that it can go in the garage.)
2. At some point, your spouse will want a man cave (or an "escape pod," as my husband calls it).
It might feel like he wants to escape from you. He does. And you will want to escape from him. This impulse is perfectly healthy, and the sooner you let go of the need to understand it, the better. Maybe he wants to watch porn; maybe he wants to watch action movies with 6.1-channel surround sound—something my husband can talk endlessly about. It's like he's speaking a foreign language until another man comes over, and then they'll both speak this language and get very excited to watch the car crash from Final Destination 2, not because it's gruesome, with a crazy-high death toll, but because it sounds like it's happening live in the man cave! Glass shatters, logs roll, women scream, cars screech, trucks explode, people die ... You and any other woman present will wonder why men would watch this carnage, but they are not watching; they are listening. So just back away, close the door, go to the kitchen, have a glass (or three) of wine, and make a mental note to move his velvet Elvis and trunk to the man cave.
3. There will come a day when you wonder why the hell you married this person.
Hopefully it won't be your wedding day, but I'm sure many a bride, with cake on her face, has wondered this very thing as she smiles and whispers, "We said no rubbing cake on each other's faces!" If you and your spouse are lucky enough to get hitched without a hitch and remain blissfully in love through your honeymoon, congratulations. But it's possible you're not being your true selves yet. My husband, who has no problem being his true self, started smoking on our honeymoon. "Just for vacation," he said. And he kept his word. He quit as soon as we got home ... which made him really irritable. And he continues this tradition (smoking on vacation, especially European vacations, then going through withdrawal when we get home) even though I don't like it.
4. Your husband might not quit doing something just because you don't like it.
I sometimes come home to find mine flying a remote-control helicopter in our living room. I find the sound alone annoying, but what's really disturbing is the sight of this fully grown man I agreed to spend my life with excitedly piloting a toy. Once he flew it into an expensive painting we own, so flights were suspended for a while. But as I write this, we are in a hotel with fabulous high ceilings, and the first thing he said was, "We have to get a remote-control helicopter in here!" And I said, "I don't think we do." But he did. He's flying it now. I asked him to stop. He's still flying it.
5. If you're "trying" to have a baby, hang in there. It will happen.
Trying is trying, and you can't understand just how trying it is until you go through it. Just assume that however long it took you to find someone to marry, it will take half that long to have a child. It will seem like forever. It will be like a crash test for your relationship. But if you want a family, one way or another you'll get it. And it will be worth it.
6. The whole idea of "you complete me" is kind of bullshit.
If your spouse completes you, it means you had something missing. And maybe you should have had that fixed before you got married, because it's hard to get what you need from someone else. Ideally, you were both fine living separately—happy even. You each had complete sets of towels, sheets, dishes, and beliefs that might completely clash with the other's. You might, at times, wish your spouse had less of an opinion, fewer crazy friends, and fewer relics of his bachelor past (including ex-girlfriends). But remember that just as you didn't need another (ugly) sofa to complete your living room, you didn't need him to complete you; you wanted him. That's the best and most romantic reason to marry someone—because you love him and he loves you. And he's not afraid to say it. Or write it in a note delivered by remote-control helicopter.
Want more from Cindy? Don't forget to watch our our Google+ Hangout with the writer to hear more real relationship advice.