I was twenty years old when I got married, for the first time. I walked down the aisle with self-assurance, ready to start my new life, ready for grown-up adventures. I was young, which made me infallible. And because I was infallible, I was unwilling to heed anyone’s advice–when you know, I said then with a wave of my hand, you know. And I knew.
It turns out I didn’t know. And after 13 years of marriage, I was divorced.
And yet, why not me? Why not someone who has failed? In the same way the couple who has been married for 40 years can tell you how to be married for so long, I can tell you how to be divorced. We both have DONE IT!
That was a rhetorical question, I don’t want to hear your answer. 🙂 As such, and as a self-proclaimed expert, I provide you with the following tutorial.
1) First, you must and I mean MUST marry under the following circumstances*:
- Try to be very young (under 25 is best, under 20 is better)
- Try to be very pregnant (It may seem that your chances of divorce are equally high when you get married after the baby is born, but alas, you’ve had too much time to think and thinking equals success. To fail, you must be much more impulsive. So buy the maternity wedding gown and work it.)
- Try to have just met (online would be ideal, if he/she was in prison and the ceremony occurs between plexiglass, this spells certain success)
- Try to have a language barrier, major religious difference or be from warring hillbilly families (See Hatfields and McCoy’s for more information: An example of how to do it well (badly))
- Try to have a bad feeling from the start (which you must push deep down into your soul and promptly ignore, should it steer you in a right/wrong direction and prevent the marriage from occurring)
*The more criteria you meet, the higher your divorces chances, of course. So if you really want to fuck this marriage up, aim high and go for all of the above.
2) Next, you must have nothing, or close to nothing, in common. Okay, this is not always necessarily true. Here are the things you CAN have in common in order to have a successful divorce.
- A love of crime
- A love of passive aggressive arguments
- A penchant for self-destruction
- A love of animal hoarding
3) It’s best if you hate each other’s families.
4) It’s best if one of you traps the other into the marriage. (Surprise! Everyone is waiting with the minister in the backyard!)
5) It’s best if you know your mate has major personality flaws but you also just KNOW you can change him.
6) It’s best if one or more of your friends or co-workers has seen her out and getting cozy with another man recently; it’s better if this occurs as close to the wedding as possible and there was nudity involved.
7) It’s best if you are getting hitched just to plan a large, well-attended, week long, alcohol and sex-fueled bachelor/bachelorette party.
8) It’s best if the following thoughts run through your mind as you walk down the aisle:
- Was his hair always in a mohawk?
- 7th time’s the charm!
- I wonder what his middle name is…?
- I wonder what his last name is?
- Screw all my friends and family for not coming. One little knife threat and they write him off.
9) It’s best if you move far away from all support systems, have as little stability as possible, and through caution to the wind. Better yet, just follow the mantra of that wise duo, Captain and Tennille and let love keep you together. (If one of you has her haircut or owns his hat, though, all bets are off. That kind of coolness should never be divorced. Ever. )
10) Once you are married, try very hard to let every little fight become a battle and to let every little problem become a crisis. The accumulation of this stress will make you both extremely unhappy. And while I can not say, for certain, you will end in divorce under this circumstance, at least you both will be incredibly unhappy. And unhappiness is a super great factor in helping to encourage divorce.
But then again, unhappiness is also a super great factor in staying married. Ask that couple on the end of the street how they have managed to stay together for 40 years. They argue all the time. You once saw her cut all the flowers off his rose bushes with a pair of kitchen shears in a fit of rage. And he calls her “The ball and chain” and he never smiles. Never. Not even when he won the Publisher’s Clearing House and Ed McMahon came to his house. He just scowled at his wife and took the cardboard check and put it in the front closet.
All jokes aside, you can ask the old couple about marriage and you can ask me about divorce; truly we would both say the same thing.
There’s no telling what will make it work or what will work for you.
Marriage is like jumping into the swimming pool without dipping your toe in first.
You prepare for the dive and you rely on what you know, mix it with blind faith that it will all turn out all right.
Sometimes you make that splash and the water is so biting, so cold that you just don’t think you can stand to swim anymore. And you have to get out. Even if you don’t want to. You hadn’t jumped in with the plan to get right out.
Other times, the best times, the water is fine. And you are so glad to be floating or paddling or just drifting. And you stay in that pool, even if the air gets cold or the breezes blow. It just feels right.
Who is to say what is wrong or what is right? Who is to say that they knew, for sure, how it would end up?
I don’t know that. I have no list for that.
But I know one thing for sure.
Hope for warm water, friends. Be brave and hold your nose.
Think hard, plan well. But be brave.
Always be glad you jumped.