What would I say to this goofy-looking girl, knowing what I know now, after almost 15 years of marriage?
I'd say a lot, that's what. Least of which would be to stop perming her hair already. Oh, and grow those bangs out a little while she's at it. I'm pretty sure there should never be a one-inch space between your eyebrows and your bangs. Oy.
So I thought it would be fun to write a letter to myself with a few of the tidbits that have helped me along the way:
You are about to get married to a tall, skinny boy from the other side of town. He loves you all right, but he has no idea yet just how much he needs you, and you him.
You may think you want babies right away, but don't rush yourself. Enjoy this time when it's just the two of you. THE BABIES WILL COME. And once they do, they will never leave. And they will smell sometimes. And pee on you (and yet you will still love them). Stop wishing this time away, because in a blink, it will be gone, and you will find yourself a mother of three, with a road map of stretch marks to prove it.
In spite of what everyone will tell you, it is okay to go to bed mad at each other. Sometimes it's better, as hurtful words are not said, and cooler heads always prevail in the morning.
You are not really that great of a cook. I'm sorry to break that to you. You can bake like nobody's business, but cooking meat is not really your thing. And when you're making gravy one night in your first apartment? Don't add the paprika. Trust me on this one. The gravy will turn pink, and will be thoroughly disgusting. Your sweet husband will eat it anyway, but you will have just given him something to tease you about. Forever.
Do not be critical of your spouse, and expect the same in return from him. Never badmouth him to your friends. Instead, brag about all his good qualities. It will help you to constantly see the good in him, of which there is a lot.
Learn to pick your battles. I can promise you that after almost 15 years, he will still sling his suit over the back of a chair at the end of a long day. YOU WILL NOT FIX THIS. Stop trying. Just get over it, and be glad he is willing to work so hard for you and your family. Focus instead on ways you can make it easier for him to do his demanding job.
You must also accept that you will be ignored on Saturday afternoons from late August through November, as he will ALWAYS want to watch his favorite team play football. It is nothing personal. It is just a strange part of this man that you will never understand. Instead, get a hobby or a good book and enjoy your alone time.
Lastly, remember this: Men are like puppies; a little praise and a treat goes a long way in training them to do what you want.
You, age 34.
What's your best marital advice, internets? Do share.