Stop playing Pokémon Go for one second and listen to me.
Sorry. But here are five secrets to a guaranteed miserable marriage.
Have a Shared Interest
It starts out innocently enough. “We should have a hobby,” you say. “I know! Let’s start watching a show together– from the first season!” he says. “You know, it’ll be our show.” If fate deems Your Show to be Parenthood, you are so fucked. First, you’ll be all this show is amazing! It’s so real! Then, things will start to get too real. It’s too raw. It’s TV tartare. Long-suppressed emotional wounds will rise and fester. You will start to hate each other, then your entire life. Keep things the way they are: one of you watches Workaholics; the other sticks with Nashville. If you both agree to watch The Voice, then you deserve each other.
Do Things Together
Ever spot those carefree couples in the produce section at the grocery store, gleefully collaborating on the selection of the apple varietals? You’ll notice things have gone to complete shit by the Asian/Mexican/Ethnic aisle. It’s inevitable. While one of you is dutifully adhering to the list, the other is off picking out lord knows what, but I’m pretty sure The Lord knows you don’t need it, especially if it’s ranch-flavored. So while you have your hands full of Lean Cuisines lunches for the work week (Spa Collection, stop judging), the Wanderer is off somewhere with the cart. Getting four Marie Callender pot pies when you need exactly zero and three yogurts when you need ten. Shop alone, stay together.
Keep Separate Accounts
Money experts will tell you to create joint bank accounts, but that’s neither here nor there. It’s not like couples every really fight about finances, so I think it’s a moot issue. But I swear, if you ever book a dinner reservation under your own OpenTable account instead of using one unified account to maximize dining points, you might as well start booking a table for one. Forever.
Misinterpret the Signs
This one should be so obvious that I shouldn’t even have to explain it. Walking around with your pants off in a ratty Umphrey’s McGee t-shirt = leave me alone. Walking around with your pants off in a ratty Umphrey’s McGee t-shirt = sexy time. If you can’t distinguish the completely obvious difference between the two scenarios, then you’re headed for Splitsville and a bitter custody battle over who gets to keep that completely amazing Umphrey’s McGee t-shirt.
Because what do friends talk about? Stuff. Current events. The major haps. The second you approach your spouse with a conversation starter like, “So. Matt Lauer is… bad? Fiscal cliff?” you may as well just pack a bag for your mother’s, because a) you haven’t refreshed your Yahoo! homepage in four months and b) if talking about which cat threw up on the bed, who drank the last Diet Dr. Pepper, why can’t you effing put your flip flops away EVER? and, For the love of God, just because you’re done brushing your teeth doesn’t mean I am, so TURN THE GODDAMN WATER BACK ON isn’t what you want, then you don’t want to be married, because that’s what happily married people talk about.
Liz Kozak (Editor) is a writer in Chicago who would take commas and hyphens over cake and ice cream any day. She also contributes regularly at The Huffington Post and blogs about stuff at poseypieproductions.com. Follow Liz: @LizKoz