Secret Order of the Indent: What They Don’t Tell You About Marriage

Recently, a good friend of mine was married in the beautiful Colorado summer sun. Of course, you couldn’t really tell, what with all the hellfire and damnation that seemed to perpetrate the burning skyline. They say that it’s bad luck to have good weather on your wedding, right? If that’s the case, they are going to have the luckiest marriage in the universe.

Each time I become involved in another set of wedding proceedings, it reminds me of the experiences surrounding my own wedding. I remember my dress didn’t quite fit, we didn’t have the correct documentation and my Grandmother decided to take my flower girl for a joy ride during what was SUPPOSED to be my ring ceremony. We ended starting about an hour and a half late.

Still, I do remember that it was a fantastic day. I am so glad I decided to marry Kyle, ill-fitting dress and all. Why? Because there is this secret club that you get to belong to when you’ve been married a while. I like to think of it as the Secret Order of the Indent, after that permanent place on your finger that will never look normal again.

It does happen to be very exclusive. It begins with a long and grueling hazing process that includes such trials as seeing your adorable spouse on the toilet for the first time, and plucking hairs from inside his/her ears (or nose, or whatever it is that YOU do). It is a pretty expensive club as well. Dues are on a yearly basis, plus monthly installments of time, energy and patience.

It’s worth it.

I am about to share with you a few of the secret things that we know in the Order of the Indent. These key elements are what all those old married couples try to tell newlyweds when they get hitched. Sadly, the new couple is too high on pheromones to pay any attention. I’m assuming that, since you are still reading, all your pheromones hitched a ride to Georgia when your spouse proved he could burp the entire William Tell Overture.

The Great Secrets of The Order of the Indent

1. Sexy is Subjective

No matter how objectively beautiful your spouse is when you marry him, chances are he’s going to age. Just like you. Although I’m not very mature, I have been told that gravity continues to function at a constant rate. This means that your body parts will eventually reach their final destination: the floor. Your face will also start to look a little like it is melting off of your body. At least that is what my daughter says it looks like.

Marriage will kill you.
She’s actually 38. This is what smoking does, people.

Some people would consider this “unattractive” or “grotesque” or “nightmare-breeding.” I emphatically disagree. I think the secret that older married couples will tell you is that, it doesn’t matter how your spouse looks. What is really important is whether or not they can keep you entertained for at least 50 years. Since everyone gets old and weird-looking anyway, a seasoned member of the Order of the Indent will tell you that the smallest, kindest gestures become the most attractive. While the human body eventually becomes a lump of strangeness, intelligence, respect, and love always keep the fires burning.

2. It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Right

In the 1st through 5thyears of marriage, I think couples get sucked into the idea that they have to be right about stuff. I recently read an article about John Gottman, named one of the most influential psychologists in the world, primarily because of his research that accurately predicted divorce 91% of the time. His research showed that even happily married couples didn’t resolve 69% of their conflicts. What does this mean? It doesn’t matter who is right, or even that you resolve every issue. What is more important is how you fight. He found that couples who were likely to stay married did 5 nice things for every mean thing they did during a fight. Sure, you can throw that plate at your husband’s head. Just make sure that you are telling him how much you love him while you’re doing it.

kickboxing bride, wedding stress, wedding fight
It can only get better from here, right?

3. Go to Bed Mad

Although I am not an expert (not even really an official member of the O of I), I think one of the best things about my marriage is my short-term memory problems. When we were about to get married, all the nice church ladies threw me a bridal shower and shared their knowledge about how to keep a marriage strong. From here I received such pearls of wisdom as, “Always wear lipstick,” and “Just love each other.” Very nice, well-meaning cliches. Then I got this one. I’ve used it ever since.

The idea is that, if you stay up all night fighting, you are going to cause more harm than good. No one wants to have their feelings “worn down” just because they’re exhausted. It is much better to go to sleep. I have found that, if we do this, I forget all the unimportant stuff during the night. The real sticking points will wake me up, but usually I think, “What was I so mad about? I wonder if there’s any cereal?”

4. Pick Up the Slack

Fantastic marriages are really good about the distribution of labor. One of you might be really good at cleaning the house, taking care of the kids and mowing the lawn, while the other one of you might be really good at drinking beer.

There will be times when you feel like you do EVERYTHING!! Guess what? There will be times when your spouse feels like that, too. The balance of marriage is a delicate thing, but it requires that you do a lot of compromising. I personally think that is one of the great benefits of getting married. How much easier is it to deal with your horrible co-workers once you’ve learned how to talk a hormonal pregnant wife down from the ice-cream-for-breakfast precipice?

5. Make Time

You come from different families, different cultures and possibly different planets. It is really important that you continue to figure out who the other is. How many times have I turned to Kyle and said, “When did you do that? How come I never knew about it?” I forget that in the scheme of things, we have a relationship that is still in 3rd grade. There are still a lot of important and difficult things to learn about each other. Like fractions.

That is why it is so important to have time together. It is also the reason why REALLY seasoned couples spend time apart. Nothing mandates alone time like really knowing your spouse well.

So, make time for yourself. If you can’t be alone with yourself, why would you put your poor husband or wife through that? Then, after you have sufficiently filled your own personal well with experiences, you will have something to share with your loved one. Hopefully it is something he or she will want to catch.

Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list. This is probably because I’m not officially in the Order of the Indent, I just sneak into the meetings now and then. Still, it is a good start. I hope that by the time I am a full-fledged member, I have a lot more spicy tricks up my sleeve. I will be sure to share them with all brides-to-be in the form of coded messages like, “Go on trips,” and “Do your hair every day.” Then the cycle will begin once more and some young, pheromone-ridden couple will commence on the journey to true happiness through a lifetime of shared experiences.

Perhaps they won’t think any of this advice is helpful. Isn’t that the trick, though? No matter how much marriage advice you get, you never really know the truth until you learn it for yourself. That makes my finger indent less like a token of a secret society and more like a battle-won badge of honor. It’s proof that I have earned the right to have advice to give, even if I can’t remember it when I wake up tomorrow morning.

You Have Time for Just One More:

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3 responses to “Secret Order of the Indent: What They Don’t Tell You About Marriage”

  1. I agree! In fact, you should probably have been the one to write it. I always feel like a child when I give marriage advice. It's like a 5-year-old trying to teach physics. I'm pretty sure all the physicist's are like, "You have no clue what you're talking about, but you're SO CUTE FOR TRYING!"

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