Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Featured, Lists, Theory & Essay

Advice For Soon-To-Be Husbands From A Guy Who Hasn’t Been Married Long Enough To Give It

What’s up, fellas? How’s everything? Good? Great!

How have I been? Great. Marriage is the shit. I always have clean socks, my weekends are full of activities, and my wife even introduced me to something called a “couscous” last month. (What exactly is couscous? Some bougie-ass rice, basically.)

Anyway, I know you all are about to get married. Which is fucking great. Congratulations. I haven’t been married that long — this month makes it six months — so I’m really not all that qualified to give you marriage advice. But this is America, remember. Qualifications don’t mean shit.

In light of that, here’s a few things I’ve learned during this time. Some of these are things I’m still working on. Some of them are things, well, I’ll might still be working on for the next few decades. But they’re all things that A) I didn’t think much about while single and B) became more crucial after jumping the broom.

Things you think won’t bother you — things that have never bothered you — will bother you. It’s up to you to learn how to deal with them.

I have a couple friends who, up until a couple years ago, had one of the best homes of anyone I knew. It was spacious and open with hardwood floors throughout; a three-level townhouse with two bedrooms and two baths and in a prime location. It was basically perfect for them. They were also renting.

While hanging out one day, I asked one of them if they ever considered buying the place. They replied quickly (“No”) and then proceeded to give a long list of reasons why they wouldn’t (the kitchen was substandard, there were some issues with the plumbing, etc).

The home was perfect for them then because they were renting. It wasn’t a permanent situation. But, once the idea of permanence came into the picture, a few of the flaws became a bit more apparent.

Marriage can have a similar effect on relationships. Minor irritations you overlooked when a woman you were dating possessed them can become, well, less minor when you make a commitment to be with someone forever. And trust me when I tell you that some little things you do that other seasonal girlfriends and f-buddies ignored or laughed away will irritate her too. Because she has to live with your ass and deal with that shit every day.

How you deal with these permanence-related realizations will help determine the temperature of your relationship.

Remember that there was a time not too long ago when she was just some chick you wanted to fuck the shit out of

Now, obviously your soon-to-be-wife isn’t just “some chick.” She might be an astronaut or an assistant principal or a Subway sandwich artist or something. She might even be Elle Varner. But there was a point in your past when you didn’t know her yet. You weren’t dating, you weren’t in a relationship, and you might have not even known her name. But you saw her somewhere and thought “Damn! I don’t know what that astronaut chick’s name is, but I want to fuck the shit out of her! Damn!

My point? It can be easy to fall into a pattern of treating each other like roommates — people who live, eat, and occasionally watch Netflix together — instead of two people who were, at one time, completely infatuated with and in lust with each other. It’s not possible to keep that type of spark going 24/7, but remember it on those lazy Sundays when you’re both sitting in bed, playing with your phones. And those mundane Wednesdays when you’ve both worked an 11 hour day and barely acknowledge each other at home. Remember that this is her; this is the woman you fantasized about. This is the woman you wouldn’t stop telling your boys about. This is the woman who made you heart jump the first time she talked to you. And, to be even more frank, this is the woman you jerked off to a few times. And now she’s sitting on your couch.

Being married doesn’t mean you stop doing all the things — the kisses on the back of her neck, the slight rubs of her ass when she walks by, etc — you fantasized about doing before you were able to do them.

Learn how to fight

It’s inevitable. Regardless of how mild-mannered you think you are and pride yourself on being, if you’re spending the rest of your life with another adult human person, you’re going to have some disagreements. Some of these disagreements will be resolved quickly. Some will not. And some of those will turn into actual fights. How am I so sure this will happen to you? Well, you know who’s a mild-mannered person who prides themselves on their ability to stay even keel and keep their cool? Me. You know who else is? My wife. If fights can happen to us, fights can happen to anyone. 

Anyway, in this context, “learning how to fight” doesn’t mean “learning how to win fights.” It means “learning how to have a heated argument with the person you’re in love with.” This means some of the insults, put downs, and other tricks you might have used in fights before are no longer necessary. Yeah, you’re upset. But this is a person you love. Your motherfucking wife. You don’t want to hurt her or do any irreversible damage to the relationship, so learn how to be mad without allowing that bout of anger to damage your marriage.

Get a room

It can be a spare bedroom. An office. A garage. A basement. A basement bathroom. Shit, it could even be a walk-in closet. Whatever it is, you need an easily accessible space where you can just go and do…things by yourself for a little while. And you will need the room because the rest of the home — even if its a house you bought yourself before you got married — will be hers. (Trust me.) So, it’s paramount for your sanity — and hers as well — for you to have a space that’s “yours.” What you do in that space is your decision. You can do push-ups. You can watch twerk videos. You can teach yourself how to heel-toe. Whatever. You just need that space. And she needs for you to have that space.

There’s more I can say, but I don’t want to overheat your brain just yet. Plus, I plan to have an entire new batch of advice for you once I reach the one year mark, so come back in July.

Oh, and congratulations and shit.

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Angel Baby

    This was the sweetest post ever! Awe how I wish my ex journeyed my VSB love and appreciation with me throughout the years. Congrats on being married six months Damon and keep up the good work in learning how to just ‘be”. :) My next marriage will last longer than six months!!! LOL bwahahahhaha I can actually laugh at that now! Good night

    • Well, mine lasted 6 years, and it still didn’t work out. So…LOL

      • Epsilonicus

        Better to find out after 6 months than 6 years

    • Damon Young

      thanks and sh*t

  • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

    So… do you now know how to heel-toe or not?

    • miss t-lee

      QTNA.

    • Damon Young

      i’m getting there. baby steps (literally)

  • My private room will be covered in PANTHERS related things :-)

    • Val
      • Stay mad :-D!!!

        PANTHERSSSSSSSSS

        • Val

          I’m not mad. Lol I’m just trying to give you a warning so when your boys fail this weekend you don’t despair too badly. Poor baby.

          • And tell me Val, who will your team be playing this weekend?

    • Tx10inch

      I dig that you stay goin hard for your squad. You’d think you were a Texans fan. All hail J.J Watt for MVP, POTUS and even Nobel Peace prize. Yeah, I said it. Lol

      • miss t-lee

        Yes!

      • Thank you kind sir, at least you aren’t jaded about your team not making it to the playoffs like SOME people. I’m enjoying our journey to the playoffs even if it was because of something ugly earlier in the season. We gutted it out and now we’re two days away from playing, one of the most important games of the season. No one beats Seattle at home, but we will :-)

        GO PANTHERSSSS!!!!!!!

    • -_______-

      but you really think Mariota can fix what’s broken with dem Bucs?

      • Sigma_Since 93

        Nope.. Pick your boy King Crablegs; he’s more suited for a pro passing game. If is TB to change the offense to suit the Hawaiian gun slinger than chose

        Mariota

        • was listening to a report yesterday about Mariota not being good throwing to covered receivers vs. Winston.

          But…I really don’t want to be forced to root for Winston if he lands on my NFL team. He’s already my alma mater’s hero. Sigh.

          • Winston needs to grow up. That’s his main problem but the NFL draft is a crap shoot.

          • Val

            I have a feeling Winston is going to be a bust. Not so much for lack of talent but because he seems to make really bad decisions off the field. And, considering the ish-storm that’s going on in the NFL regarding off-the-field behavior, he’s going to have problems.

            • The good news is that Jameis Winston reminds me a lot of Ben Roethlisberger. The bad news is that Jameis Winston reminds me a lot of Ben Roethlisberger. And there’s the dilemma facing NFL executives.

              • Val

                Did Ben get into trouble in college? If not that gives him an advantage over Winston. Those execs have been scouting Winston through all of that drama. Not good.

              • Nicholas Peters

                Big Ben but more athletic…

            • black

              Winston can’t stay out of trouble in his current regimented atmoshpere with no money.

              How will he behave with a million dollars and even less accountability and supervision.

              • Lea Thrace

                hide yo kids.
                hide yo wife.

            • Agreed. It’s sad that these boys can’t see how getting involved in mess off the field lowers their personal stock.

          • Nicholas Peters

            I hope we get him….Colt McCoy, RG3 and Kirk Cousins will do that to you

      • Nicholas Peters

        They are getting the Famous One…people are trying to rationalize it know because they don’t like him

    • Damon Young

      sex panther?

  • As long as I’m able to win the arguments I want to win I’ll be happy.

    • Tx10inch

      Then start learning to be miserable.

      • Has to be part pig the marriage vows.

    • Freebird

      Being right. Ever. Does not seem like it is part of the husband rulebook.

      • MeridianBurst

        If someone has a point they just have a point, man or woman.

        • Freebird

          i agree with this.

      • I will be a pioneer then

        • Freebird

          and i am rooting for you. men everywhere are rooting for you. but if you fail, it seems you will not be the first brave and hopeful husband to disappear on that journey,

        • Sigma_Since 93

          A pioneer at having a marriage that was shorter than Kim K.

          • Optimism.

          • Rachmo

            I know someone who has had this. That ish is real.

      • camilleblu

        more about learning how to choose your battles. quality, not quantity.

      • It’s like that trench warfare they did during WWI you lose and win ground at various times depending on the needs of the relationship. It’s not always about being right but more so having a suitable ending.

      • That’s not true. But then again, I’ve never been a husband before either lol

    • Sigma_Since 93

      You won’t be married long

      • camilleblu

        #werd

        • I’m not allowed to be right?

          • camilleblu

            of course you are. but if you honestly think that being right = winning an argument, then you absolutely will not be married long – if you ever even get married. bc i don’t know too many folks that want to deal with someone that ALWAYS has to *win*. i said it downthread somewhere – you have to learn how to choose your battles.

            • Not even close to always. Just sometimes. Like 1 out of 8.

              • The important thing is finding someone who understand they are NOT right all the time.

                • I’m humble enough to let her be right even though I’m shouting gospel to her.

                  • Lies. You know you aren’t humble about being right.

                    • I let you be right all the time.

                    • You fight me tooth and nail about the smallest of ish. Like that Pepsi thing. I was 20 years off the mark and you were 60 years off the mark but I was still “as wrong as you”. Ummmm nah. You’re petty and you’re mean.

                    • you love me for it.

          • h.h.h.

            from what i can tell (aint no-where near this topic) but i have heard that you can either be right…or be happy.

            apparently when it comes to arguin’ tho, it sounds like males won’t achieve either.

    • That’s cute.

  • Ray Jefferies

    Even though it only has 6 months worth of data supporting it, it sounded like good advice to me. I will provide my meaningless cosign with the caveat that maybe some of these things change slightly once/if you have kids.

    • camilleblu

      kids are a game changer

    • Damon Young

      yeah, i’m sure they do…which is why i want to wait a little bit to have them

  • Heavens2Murgatroid

    I thought I was crazy for having that spare walk-in closet “space” to vent. Boy, does it come in handy.

    And learning how to argue/debate is so key. I tell my girl/complicated situation to let me sleep on it, and I”ll be ready to make amends in a few hours.

    • Damon Young

      lol at image of someone pacing and letting off steam in a closet while navigaing shoeboxes and sh*t

      • Heavens2Murgatroid

        Relationships can bring that out of a person.

        • PunchDrunkLove

          Woo saaah-ing, hail marying and talking a walk out in the cold…for just a few minutes….not me, him!

          • Heavens2Murgatroid

            I ain’t walking out in this cold. In this weather I can tolerate anybody

            • PunchDrunkLove

              LOLOLOL….

  • h.h.h.
    • MeridianBurst

      *kisses your cheek softly* Aw, don’t be like that grumpy wumpskins.

    • poor Dookie

      • Damon Young

        dookie’s plight is probably the saddest in tv show history

        • Epsilonicus

          I was just about to say the same thing. His story is the only one that made me cry at the end

          • Dookie hit you straight in the heart. Bubbles did, too.

            • After re-watching that show from beginning to end over the holidays Bubs moved up to my favorite character.

              • Epsilonicus

                Yeah. His story was incredible, especially because I know some folks like him

              • Val

                Bodie’s story was sad to me. He was a kid who couldn’t even see beyond the street corner he worked or him being a ‘soldier’ on those street corners.

                • afronica

                  Mike was the one that got me. Such potential but he iced his own soul out of necessity. He really struck me as a leader. And to see that go in a killing, criminal direction…

                  • Val

                    That kid was ruthless.

                    • afronica

                      He became that way, definitely. But that’s not where he started.

                      The thing that really makes season 4 is the character arcs. Broke my heart.

                  • I liked Michael. Snoop telling him “You were never one of us. Always apart and sh*t” was big. He was too independent to be controlled by Marlo and his people.

                • Not being able to see over the horizon was a running theme on that show for many characters.

                  • Val

                    But it was especially apart of Bodie’s character. Remember the trip to Philadelphia and he talked about not ever being outside of his neighborhood before? And, the the convo with McNaulty after he got out of jail just before he got killed and he talked about only seeing himself as a soldier.

              • RewindingtonMaximus

                He inspired me to forgive my brother.

                • JamaicaDislocata

                  Whoa.

                  • RewindingtonMaximus

                    Let me know how you’d feel if you were held for ransom over drug money

        • He and Matt Saracen from Friday Night Lights had shitty lives but Matt won in the end.

        • RewindingtonMaximus

          I wanted to adopt him and that nig wasn’t even real.

        • dmcmillian72

          Man! It’s the reason I couldn’t watch the last season. I read ahead on Wikipedia because season 4 had me all in my feelings about the kids. I opted to not even start season 5 after reading the synopsis. *sigh*

      • h.h.h.

        im on season 5 now

        • fantastic stuff :)

  • Skegeeaces

    Almost six years married and yeeeeeeeep. All of dat.

  • Brad G

    This is probably the most inspiring post for me to date. Really contemplating proposing to my girl soon and I need all the advice I can get. Definitely needed that argument advice because as hard as we go I know if (when) we get married it’s gonna be tables, ladders and chairs matches on the daily.

    • MeridianBurst

      Aww!

    • Rachmo

      What my married friend told me is you’ll be having the same fights forever so decide if they are fights you can deal with. #knowledgedart

    • Damon Young

      “Really contemplating proposing to my girl soon and I need all the advice I can get”

      are you contemplating when to propose or whether to propose at all?

      • Brad G

        Definitely trying to figure out WHEN. You wrote in a post a while back about how you and your now-wife were friends, then best friends, then boom it just happened. You didn’t want to plan a future without her. Same thing here. So yeah just trying to get that timing right.

        • Epsilonicus

          There is not a specific “right time” once you realize she is the one. Whether its a big production or just a small one, what matters to her is that you believe she is the right one.

  • As a guy with a year and two months worth of knowledge all I’m doing is nodding in agreement. The fighting and space are important.

    • Damon Young

      anything else you’d add?

      • 1. Don’t laden your marriage with the relationship baggage of other folks. In-laws, siblings, hair dressers, cousins, or coworkers ish will drag y’all down. “Stop giving a fuck when it’s not your turn/job to do so.”
        2. Make major financial steps on your own time table and no one else s. Buying and affording aren’t the same thing.
        3. It’s okay to tell each other “no” at times.
        4. Fuck and eat as much as possible.

        • afronica

          Could 4 be changed to fuck and work out instead? Or is the eating really the glue that binds?

          ETA: Just realized you mighta meant something different by eating. I’m a bit slow on the uptake today.

          • We work out but but that’s not something we do together.

          • LOL As a corollary, make sure the eating is the way you like to eat and talk. Don’t let the meal get in the way of the convo.

          • No, I meant food. The what you’re thinking of is included in the “Fuck” part of the sentence.

        • Angel Baby

          Yes to #2!!!

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