2008-09-25 / Sam Bari

Counseling and fat prevention is secret to happy marriage

You can't beat a system you can't understand
By Sam Bari

A long-time friend recently reminded me over somewhere around 2000 beers on Friday afternoon that if I had taken his advice years ago, I could be as happily married as he is. He neglected to say that he is happily married for the fourth time.

His theory is, only stay married as long as the relationship is happy. When it ceases to be thrilling for either party involved, amicably dissolve the union with an outof court settlement that had been clearly spelled out in prenuptials. Then move on to the single life until an opportunity comes along to experience unmitigated joy and marital bliss again.

This bozo's secret to guaranteed happiness, get this, is to go to a marriage counselor with your intended before getting married. The idea is for the two lovebirds to learn to live by "the rules of engagement" beforehand so that irreparable mistakes will not be made after taking the vows that clearly state "till death do us part," but conveniently omit, "be it murder or otherwise."

If the intended couple attends together, there will be no misunderstandings. Both will agree in writing to follow the fundamentals of living in harmony as instructed by the marriage guru. This person generally has a perfectly legitimate diploma issued by a certified Internet university hanging on the office wall.

The document tells all who are lucky enough to part with their hard-earned cash at this person's place of business, that the bearer of this certificate is qualified to instruct, advise and council those who are in need of marital guidance. Take notice that nowhere on the document does it say or imply that anyone of any authority other than Internet U, has anything to do with issuing this certificate.

Few people who go to marriage counseling have the nerve to ask the counselor how many times he or she has been married. According to our crack research team most counselors have been married minimally three times.

We can only assume that they operate under the premise of having married so many times that they are aware of at least the important possible pitfalls.

The primary cause for failed marriages, according to my authoritative friend, has nothing to do with lack of communication. Married people generally communicate very well. He claims that "lack of agreement" is the biggest cause of failure.

He says that this is easily avoided by not arguing. That is accomplished by never ever under any circumstances accuse or blame your partner for anything that could be construed as criticism, condescending or accusatory. If your spouse does something that you believe is offensive or needs adjusting, remind them in a gentle way by suggesting that they give their actions some thought.

For instance, if your wife maxes out all the credit cards, and the monthly payment all but drains your checking account, do not scream at her. Simply say, "I'm glad that you are enjoying the purchases you made on our credit cards last month. After I paid the mortgage, utilities, and the credit card bills, there wasn't any money left for food, and it kept my diet on track, thereby preventing me from getting fat." Then you can lovingly say that even your wallet will soon be anorexic.

If she would like to see you contribute to the household chores a bit more, it is not necessary for her to embarrass you by pointing fingers and yelling at you in front of friends and neighbors.

She can simply thank you for tracking mud throughout the house because you don't remove your boots when you return from hunting. Then she can express her appreciation for you not helping with the laundry, dishes or vacuuming. After doing all those chores, she can say that she saved money by not having the energy to go to the gym.

By being kind and suggesting displeasure in a positive way, arguments are avoided, and peace will reign, so my idiot friend says.

Personally, I believe tactics like this are the cause for more shotguns being used after the vows are taken than before. Early demise is often the result of unrealistic behavior in a system that we can't understand.

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