Sunday, March 14, 2010


Today, my husband and I celebrate 25 years of wedded bliss. Yessiree, that's just the word for it. Bliss. Serene, uncomplicated, utterly devoid of conflict or difficulty - ours is the Mary Poppins of marriages: Practically Perfect in Every Way.

And why shouldn't it be? I am, after all, the Mary Poppins of wives. Seriously, around here, things are as smooth as pudding skin, largely because I have a song in my heart, a proverb on my lips, and a spoonful of sugar in my gigantic valise, suitable for ironing out every possible wrinkle in the cotton/poly button-down of life. And of course, I travel almost exclusively via umbrella. But now I'm just bragging.

So because I am pretty much a saint - honestly, if you knew how many statues of me people have in their compost piles - I thought I would share with you a few of my many secrets to a happy, magical marriage. Really. I insist. It's the least that I could do.

Let's start with the engagement. Once you have decided that this guy / gal is your one and only, I suggest you get married as quickly as possible, perhaps later that same day. This guarantees a couple of things, including the sporting chance that the hormones which have been building in each of you since the first time you saw "A Walk to Remember" won't suddenly spew all over the table in rabid, lustful enthusiasm during the Getting to Hate the New Inlaws dinner at Olive Garden. Take it from me, no amount of alfredo sauce is going to save those breadsticks after that.

The other thing that a short engagement achieves is the bride will still have a few friends after she gets married. There is nothing like the Battle of the Bridesmaids to significantly shorten a girl's Christmas Card list. Young women, I want to tell you a secret: No one wants to be in your wedding line. No one. Your friends love you, they'd gladly take a bullet or a blind date with your peg-legged third cousin for you, but without even seeing the design or the color or anything, they hate your choice of bridesmaid dress with the kind of intensity usually reserved for African dictators and ex-boyfriends. These girls were born hating your bridesmaid dresses. Their mothers tell of profound experiences while your bridesmaids were still in utero, wherein the fetus appeared to them in a dream and said, "You tell her right now, mom, I will be damned if I'm wearing eggplant taffeta with my skin tone."

So you kids like each other? Call the temple, get the license, and tie the knot. It will spare you a lot of grief, and you'll save a fortune in jordan almonds and ham rolls.

Once you're married, you'll need to find a place to live and set up housekeeping. Since you didn't go through all the silliness of a wedding reception, you will be limited to the furnishings each of you owned when you were in college. This means the bride will bring pots, pans, utensils, dishes, a rice cooker, a toaster oven, a belgian waffler, two can openers, a complete set of Gonzo knives, dishtowels, regular towels, towels for her hair, towels with Velcro closures that she can wear around the house, a broom, a mop, a mop bucket, a vacuum, sheets, pillows, three lamps, decorative trash cans, a cute little bowl-shaped chair, a bulletin board she made as a Laurel, a hamper that matches everything listed so far, and her laptop. And the groom will bring eight cinder blocks and a pair of decorative chopsticks he got on his mission.

So you're set!

Eventually, of course, you'll acquire a few other necessities, like children and TiVo. I don't know much about making either of them work, but I'll help you where I can.

First, you should know that kids are just really, really stupid. They can't even walk or talk or anything for, like, months! And don't expect any sympathy from your parents, either. They'll be all, "Hey, we told you not to fool around but you always know better, don't you?" And then they'll turn your old room into a viper pit in case you get any ideas about chucking it all and moving back home.

Anyway, since your kids won't be available to wash the dishes or change the channel for you right away, it's probably a good idea to have some sort of division of labor. Husbands love the idea of dividing tasks into "inside" and "outside", especially when you're in an apartment so small and cramped that the only thing that qualifies as "outside" is the doorknob. "I'll mow the lawn, rake the leaves, clean the pool, trim the hedge-maze, feed the peacocks, and pave the tennis courts," your new husband will offer, "and you can do all the little things inside the house."

Ladies, do NOT fall for this! It's a trick! Your husband has absolutely no intention of feeding those peacocks!

But husbands aren't the only ones with surprises up their newlywed sleeves. Men, you need to know that your wife, and I mean this with all the kindness and Christian compassion of my soul, is a certifiable lunatic with sociopathic and homicidal tendencies. I know I haven't met her yet. It doesn't matter. And it's all because of this process known scientifically as "preParing for iMaginary babies Syndrome". Her innards spend three weeks a month getting an interior nursery ready, and then when it turns out that her outards hadn't really made much effort to actually fill the nursery, her innards have this massive hissy fit, to which she invites her outards in a sort of bizarre salute to internal and external solidarity. So basically, she's 130 pounds of temper tantrum, and the bad news is, it's all your fault. It's been your fault since she was twelve. Don't ask me why, just man up and apologize already.

No, seriously husbands, I really want to help you through this difficult time. When your bride is shrieking and throwing those Gonzo knives at you and kicking your favorite cinderblock bookcase to dust, the best way to calm her down is to tell her that she's just hormonal. Women love that, guys, they really do. In fact, if you can toss an eye-roll and a "My mom never went off like that" into the mix, she'll be purring like a kitten in no time. (tee hee)

Moving on to other matters for the moment, let's look at marital finances. I know that these are difficult economic times, but that's no reason for you not to have everything you want right this second without having to work for it or save or, heaven forbid, wait three minutes to see if you still want it after the commercial is over. Why do you think they put the 800 number on the bottom of the screen? If you want your marriage to be as fiscally robust as mine, I advise that you memorize this mantra and repeat it every time you have the impulse to buy something new: "Come on, honey. We can't afford NOT to do this. Look, if we order in the next seven minutes, they'll send a giant cardboard box for us to live in absolutely free except for the $29.95 shipping and handling." I know it's a long, cumbersome mantra. But it has served us well.

Finally, the best advice I can offer those of you just starting out on this long road o' luv is to find someone as wonderful as the guy I married. Twenty-five years into this gig, he's still the best person I know. Rich or poor, kid or solvent, hormonal or sedated, I wouldn't want to do this dance with any partner but him.

And, lucky guy! He gets to share that big ol' cardboard box with me, Mary Poppins, shovels full of sugar and my umbrella poised for flight.

It's been a great adventure.


Kristina P. said...

Happy anniversary, DeNae! Amber has been talking you two crazy kids up.

And personally, I recommend scheduling a temple date before you even meet your future husband, just in case.

M-Cat said...

Congrats on your love day! And 25 years is nothing to hang your head about these days is it!

Christine Macdonald said...

GOOD GRAVY, you must have gotten married at 16. 25 years?

You're my hero.

This post is awesome.

Been meaning to add to you my little Blogshelf on page page, and tonight I just did. Then I come over and read this and know why I adore you.

*Cheers* Happy Happy, Mylady. You deserve all the best and more.


Kazzy said...

You have GOT to write a self-help book. NOW!!! I would buy anything you wrote. I like to think you and your husband laugh it up a lot. :)

wv: gutpul

Hel said...

oh my dear Mary Poppins of Marriage. You really do make the medicine go down easier!

Merry Anniversary, only a few more days until my fourth anniversary. I am also contemplating sharing my secrets of success. ;) But I think mine would pale in comparison to yours. I think I'll just put a link to your post. Is that ok?

aunt dyanne said...

Happy's good to know that in this day and age, some couples stay married longer than 2 years.

MWAH & HUGS - keep laughin!

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

Every bride and groom should be required to read this post. but AFTER the wedding or there may be a stampeed for the exit. Great stuff, as usual.

Momza said...

You could have a side-job if you wanted: PROFESSIONAL WEDDING'd be a much-needed dose of reality and humor.
How much would you charge an hour??
Let me get my name on the list.

L.T. Elliot said...

Happy Anniversary, DeNae and DeNae's lovey! This advice should be given out at every sealing--I'm telling you. WIth your bounteous wisdom, we'll make it to 25 also. ;)

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

O great fount of wisdom, sounds like you totally deserve the 25 happy years you got. Hope you and your man have a "jolly holiday."

Uptown Girl said...

Congrats on 25 years!
Great advice, I just sent it to my engaged sister so she can rethink those eggplant taffeta dresses.
Any advice on how to meet a dream man like yours? Maybe I should interview chimney sweeps...

MommyJ said...

Happy Anniversary! I'm coming up on ten years... and like you, the best thing I ever did was marry the right guy. I almost changed my mind though, because he didn't actually have any cinder blocks to add to our first apartment... only a few storage bin full of old military clothes and a backpack full missionary memorabilia. But it turned out okay in the end. We stacked the storage bins in the corner, but the extra leaves to the free kitchen table we acquired from an uncle on top, threw a gingham tablecloth over the entire thing and called it a desk. And it WAS ALL his idea!

I told you he was the right guy...

Your advice is hilarious.

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ha You really are a spoonful of Splenda ain't ya?

LOVE that you learned to hate your in-laws at the Olive Garden. LOL!

Liza said...

Wow - 25 years!? That is fantastic :)

Thanks for all your words of wisdom! I just got engaged & can only hope to be as prefect of a wife someday as YOU are! I am kinda freaking out about the daunting task of planning a wedding - so keep the advice coming!!!

Mallory said...

If the wife doesn't come with all the household needs, like she should, the next best thing is to steal everything you can from your parents' house without them noticing! That's pretty much what we did! :D

Happy anniversary!

becca said...

That's a very happy day. I hope you got to do something fun (like picking the cheerios out of your church pew BEFORE you sat down) yesterday!

Beka said...'s so heartwarming and beautiful!

Happy Anniversary!

I like to announce to the bride, usually at her bridal shower, that on the morning that she wakes up and realizes that she married the village idiot, I'm totally there for her.

--You musta got a good one! :)

Lara said...

You're right, I ADORE it when I've turned into a raging monster and my husband tells me it's "just PMS." Calms me down every single time.

(Luckily, he's finally learned!)

Happy Anniversary!

Kimberly said...

The innards and outards bit made me laugh so hard I snorted. SNORTED, woman!

Happy Anniversary! Your wit and charm must surely make that cardboard box feel like a palace!

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Happy Anniversary!! Yea!

Where were you before I got married! Sheesh!

Well, my engagement was only six weeks and I totally forgot shoes and a veil. Good thing my sister had some old white platform sandals in the garage for me to grab on the way to the temple! Haha!

We haven't killed each other yet. That's a good thing!

LOL, totally laughed and loved this!

InkMom said...

Well. I'll let you still be Mary Poppins, but only because you're older. Who does that make me, if the Mary Poppins of marriage is taken? Mr. Belvedere?

I read this one to CPod. You know what I mean by that, right?

Braden said...

Happy anniversary! And in this day of Bella/Edward comparisons, I think it is refreshing that someone is comparing herself to Mary Poppins--someone with a bit of color on her cheeks and in her personality. Well done.

The whole post was wonderful, of course, but the short engagement was perfect. And the advice about hormones. That cannot be understated. I do think you are a bit unfair, though. Feeding peacocks is MUCH more difficult than it may seem. It requires significant amounts of time watching football to really figure it out.

tammy said...

Happy Anniversary!!
Way to stick with it.

Melanie J said...

Yeah, this is about as helpful as my marital advice which is: you should probably marry Kenny. That's really how to have a perfect marriage. Problem with that (for everyone else) is that I was the one smart enough to snap him up, so then I guess the next best piece of advice I'll have to offer is, "Read this link to DeNae's blog. She's got it all figure out."

Congrats on 25 years! And seriously, my WV right now is: Woots.


Garden of Egan said...

Happy Anversury! That's so amazing that you made it so long...I mean really. Your still in your cardboard house? Hopefully you were able to get some plastic chairs in the last rainstorm to dress the place up a little.
By the time you've been married as long as I have you'll get it figured out.

East of Eden said...

So much goodness packed into a little blog post! I have to concur with you on the issue of bridesmaids...of course I didn't have that problem as I was the last of my group to get married at the old haggared age of 30. They were all married with 3.4 children and in no way were interested in paying me back for all the bad dresses I sported for them over the years. If you think a peasent dress made out of silver lamee was gross, you'd be right.

Linda said...

Hey you cute thing. I kept seeing your name out in the blogosphere and I thought...I know her! My daughter sang in LVMYC and my kids go to Cumorah. So I am well aware of your talents. Who knew you were a blogger, writer extraordinaire! Happy Anniversary and maybe I'll see you at CBC!

AS Amber said...

What the heck?? How have I not commented here yet?

Congrats on your wedded bliss. You two are so good for each other and such good examples for the rest of us!

Ness and I were talking the other day and she said she was looking for "someone who's funny and kind...y'know someone just like my dad".

As far as your bridesmaids advice? I guess we're even in the dress department. I had to re-fluff my sleeve after Every. Single. Person. walked by me at your reception as I was the last in the line. You know...that line that lasted THREE FREAKING HOURS??? Ya, that one.

Luckily I had your wedding cake to rest my tired feet in on the way home.

Love ya!

JennyMac said...

Happy Anniversary DeNae to you and Mr. Backordered.

And seriously, if people have statues of wholesome virtuous saintly DeNae in their compost pile, are those statutes made of lettuce? lol.

charrette said...

Excellent advice, all of it.
But you know that the paragraph about the Olive Garden borders on porn, right?

Happy anniversary, girlfriend!
I SO needed to read this and laugh before my own PMS gets the best of me!

Lisa Loo said...

My favorite line in Mary Poppins is when they are singing the supercauliflower song and short english bloke says,"..and now the girl's my wife! {head smack} "Oh, and a loovely girl she is too"

Every. Single. Time.

I am loving putting periods behind every word these days. New trick. Must try.

Meeting your in laws at Olive Garden over alfredo has got to be better than meeting them over thedeadpheasanttheyjustkilledearlierouttheirbackdooronaplatecoveredingravy--seriously.

Have I told you lately that I worship/love/stalk you? Thanx for the smiles
Every. Single. Time.

uggclogs said...

Congratulations :) I hope you had a lovely day together.