The top 4 mistakes men make when getting married

Advice, Marriage Add comments
Disclaimer: I love my wife and kids.

Of course the most obvious “mistake” men make when getting married is asking a woman to marry them in the first place. But, assuming you have decided to go ahead and ask a woman to spend the rest of your life with you (read that last part again… the rest of your life with you), here is a quick list of the top four mistakes I feel men make when entering a marriage. Just for fun, let’s see how many you have made!

1) You are getting married because that’s what you’re supposed to do

Despite the way 20 and 30-something men on TV and in movies are portrayed, men do not hate marriage. In order to hate something, you have to have it enter your mind at some point, and men in general do not put any thought into marriage. As children we did not play with female dolls who married male dolls, we played with male “action” figures that fought and killed other male action figures. We did not push baby dolls in carriages pretending to be dads, nor did we pretend to cook in our play kitchens or play dress up. We played video games, sports, and read comic books. Not once did the future enter our minds, unless it was the X-Men’s alternate future outlined in the Days of Future Past story arc.

It’s not that men don’t understand the concept of marriage, it’s just that marriage is something you do “when you get older”, and as we all know, men do not “get older”. At least not mentally. In fact, I would say that the word “marriage” has zero meaning for a man until the age of 25 or so when he gets invited to the first wedding of one of his boyhood/college friends. It’s at this point that a man will first think, “Oh yeah, I have to get married at some point”, quickly followed by “Well, MY wedding isn’t going to be this lame! It’s gonna be on a beach somewhere…”.

Somewhat akin to the biological clock of women, there is a “practicality” clock inside men that tells them when certain events are more or less supposed to happen in their life. They know they are supposed to go to college, get a job, find a woman, get married, have kids, and retire. But in general, that is the full extent of thought that accompanies any of these decisions in a man’s life. If a man has finished college and found a job he feels is relatively secure, odds are that finding a girl and getting married are the next two “to do” items on his list. This means the next girl with all her teeth who does not annoy him too badly after 6-8 months of dating will end up with a ring, because that is what he is supposed to do at that point in his life. This is not to say that the man does not love the woman he has proposed to, but it does mean she just happened to have good timing (see reason #2).

#2 You think you have found the perfect woman/true love

You haven’t. Sorry.

While I do not doubt that you (hopefully) truly do love the woman you are proposing to, and she may even truly love you, the notion that the two of you are soulmates or some such thing is ridiculous. Think about your fiancé right now… think of everything you love about her personality. Now, imagine that wonderful personality in Angelina Jolie’s body. Suddenly she‘s your real soul mate, isn’t she?

My favorite way to throw cold water on a pair of soulmates is to ask them how they met. A good friend of mine and his wife met in high school. HIGH SCHOOL. They claimed at the time that they were meant for each other, a perfect match. But let’s think about that. They met in a class of 110 students. That means my friend had roughly 55 girls to choose from. Let’s figure 20 were fat or ugly, 15 were already dating, and 15 realized he was an idiot (I can say this because we’re friends). So, out of the 5 remaining girls, 1 ended up sitting next to him alphabetically in 3 classes, and that girl just happens to be his soul mate?

I’m not much better off, as my wife and I met in college. To really have a good chance of convincing me you have somehow found a soulmate, you and your wife need to have grown up at least 400 miles from each other and met in a neutral location 200 miles from either one’s birthplace, preferably during a romantic encounter, like offering her an umbrella in a rainstorm or giving her an extra $20 for a particularly aggressive lap dance.

Again, I am not saying you do not love your soon-to-be wife, but get over the idea that you two were made for each other. Believe me, there are plenty of other people out there you would hit it off with, and same goes for her.

#3 You’re getting older

This is the silliest reason of all, as nothing ages a man like marriage.

I know, what you really mean is you aren’t getting any younger, and you don’t want to end up like Tony Randall in his final days; 90 years old and pushing a baby stroller. Unfortunately, if you put a self-imposed time limit on finding a spouse, it can only end in disaster. Have you ever impulsively gone to a big 15-theater mega-plex figuring with so many choices you would be able to find something you wanted to see starting in the next half-hour or so? I did that once and ended up seeing The Hours with Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, and Meryl Streep.

Saying to yourself, “I will find my wife before I am 35″ will do one (or both) of two horrible things. First, it will cause you to immediately judge every new relationship against whether that person is a potential candidate for marriage, causing you to perhaps hastily kill off a potentially good relationship because of a bad couple of first impressions. Viewing each suitor in the context of “spouse material” is something usually only women do, and there is only room for one overly critical eye per relationship.

The second problem with this “deadline mentality” is you could panic, and end up settling for someone who might seem like a good catch when compared to the other women you rushed through to meet your deadline, but she’s still not the ideal woman you would have chosen if time was not a factor. As you approach your deadline, you are more likely to overlook the myriad of tiny flaws a woman has just because she doesn’t have the bigger, more immediately annoying ones you noticed in past women. The problem is that in a marriage, over time all these “tiny” flaws eventually grow into major flaws, and invariably become something you will focus upon. It is in your best interest to discover as many of these minor annoyances in your future bride as possible and decide if you can handle them for the next 50 years or so. But discovering these flaws takes time. (I will cover determining which annoying flaws your wife-to-be has in a later article).

#4 You marry out of your league (physically)


“If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you”

- Jimmy Soul

Marrying into a wealthy family that is out of your league socially and financially is not nearly as troublesome as marrying a woman who is noticeably physically more attractive than you. As you will soon discover, a marriage is a subtle yet constant battle for power, and good looks are a formidable weapon in that battle. This is one of the hardest things for a man to accept, and I don’t really expect you to dump your beautiful girlfriend on my advice. In fact, my wife is way better looking than I am, so I understand the desire for a sexy wife. Just file this advice away somewhere in your brain under “I told you so”.

Obviously men prefer beautiful women, so why would it be a bad thing to marry one? Well, men are very visual by nature, and we like cool looking cars, shiny gadgets, and beautiful women. Men also know that marrying a beautiful woman is an investment in the future, for just as a gorgeous sports car will surely rust over time, so too will your wife. Marrying a beautiful woman today ensures she will at least maintain a reasonable Kelly Blue Book value in the future. The problem is, when a spouse is better looking than you and knows it, somewhere in the back of their brain this will cause them to feel they have an advantage over you in the relationship. They have options if things in the marriage go bad, where you don’t. And to be honest, in a traditional marriage, after 15-20 years, neither the man nor the woman “needs” the other anymore. Once the man has “used” his wife for procreating, and once the woman has “used” the man to give her children and a home, there are really only two things keeping those two people together; love or routine. The sad truth is most long term marriages these days seem to be staying together more for the later than the former. And it doesn’t take much more than a semi-attractive, recently divorced man flirting with your wife to put the wheels into motion. Suddenly she begins to realize not only can she live without you, but she can live with 60% of your stuff, AND pursue a more exciting life.

In general the best way to counter this is to say in shape yourself (assuming you are starting out in shape). This is far easier said than done, and in general once you have kids both you and your wife’s weight will begin to gradually spiral out of control – maybe 3-5 pounds a year. If you can somehow keep in shape, even if you lose your hair, odds are in 15 years you will be the better looking of the pair, and hold the “attractiveness” power card in the relationship. Invariably your wife will come to realize that she is no longer the catch she was. Her friends will make the occasional comment to her about how you have managed to stay in shape all these years while their husbands have not. She will start feeling lucky and proud that she has a piece of eye candy such as yourself to show off (I’m using the term “eye candy” here in relative terms. You aren’t going to be Brad Pitt, but in a sea of Jon Lovitz‘s and Roger Ebert‘s, you might as well be).

Conclusion

These are just four of the thousands of wrong reasons men end up get married, and I will probe this issue further in the future. So, what are the right reasons to get married? Well, that is for another time, and more than likely, another blog entirely. We’re all about the negative here. Good luck.


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