Summer is wedding season, and we have been to a few recently. They were all beautiful occasions, and had two things in common. The first being the presence of the porto-let. One wedding in particular, (and I am so sincere when I say this), had the most pleasant outhouse I have ever had the pleasure of using. I will normally hold it for hours, before I crack the door to the vault toilet, surveying the situation with much skepticism. This night, though, the kegs were tapped. Avoiding it was not an option…. I took a deep breath at the approach. Per usual, lungs no bigger than bladder here, I had to inhale mid-way through. I wasn’t met with the usual acrid aroma. It wasn’t even the overpowering perfumey masking scent. No ma’am, this smelled like a full-fledged flusher!! Now that I was no longer holding my breath, I could really take in the fine ambiance. It was a really cute outhouse! There were little decorations, and nice feminine touches. If this toilet had a Yelp, I’d have given it 5 stars AND a check in!!
The second thing these weddings had in common were the message areas to write “Advice For The Newly Married Couple”. I love this idea, I wish we would have done something like that when we got married. It would be neat to look back on. There are some really personal marriage tidbits on these collages of knowledge. I always try to write something that reminds them to laugh, at themselves. Laugh at your follies, laugh at your successes. I think having a good sense of humor and being humble enough to know that neither of you are perfect are all great things to remember all along the journey of marriage. However, there is a recurring tip that I cringe when I see. Never go to bed angry. After being married just a few weeks shy of 19 years, I find this piece of advice both COMPLETELY unrealistic, and UNFAIR, to give to a brand new couple just starting their lives together. These are two separate humans, with two different sets of ideas, upbringings, traditions, and goals. Yes, these things may be similar, but, especially in the beginning, there will be differences of opinion. Some will be minor, some will be monumental, and yes, some nights you will go to bed angry!! You might lay next to that person, heart beating a million miles a minute, face burning with fury, until you exhaust yourself and finally go to sleep. Experienced married or long-term couples giving this advice to new, fresh-faced young couples just starting out, is as unjust as telling a new mother she will never be irritated with the lack of sleep her new baby will bring. No one tells an expecting new mom that. What do we tell her? “Don’t be afraid to ask for help!”, “There are going to be some very hard days and nights, it’s normal!” We need to send this same type of message to newlyweds! It’s not fair to give them the unrealistic expectation that they’ll never hit the pillow angry, or give them an undeserved feeling of failure when they do! The mask of motherhood – the need to feel like everything is perfect all of the time – is almost a thing of the past. Moms seem to be more honest now. A toddler might be in a diaper and rain boots, jam on her face and dirt on her hands, but she’s digging in the garden with her mom, finding potatoes, living and learning.
Let’s not promote a mask of marriage. Things will be imperfect. Ask for help when you need it, talk to a mentor couple that you trust, or a counselor. Work through it! It’s okay to go to bed mad. It’s okay to get a little jam on your face. If you go about it in the right way, it will help you grow as a couple. And put a LOT of thought in the outdoor venue for your summer wedding, and the quality of on-site outhouses, because I’m going to remember that fine outhouse at the couples 25th anniversary party!