Hitched: Shit White, Middle-Class Married People Do

Now that the summer wedding season is winding down, it’s time to shift the focus from the Big Day to the Big Rest Of Your Damned Lives. I’ve only been married for 129 days now, but my husband Patrick and I are starting to get a pretty good bead on how this thing works.

First of all, if you don’t already have a home garden, you’re going to want to get on that this weekend. Especially since (I think) it’s time to start planting fall tomatoes. I don’t know for sure because our tomato plants all died, I’m too lazy to actually Google it, and the only thing that survived our Texas summer was a wad of basil that’ll be great for caprese salads until sometime after the apocalypse.

Married people love gardens because it’s a fun, torturous and back-breaking activity you can do with your partner, plus you get to nitpick about the way your partner holds yard implements. The time to start nurturing heirloom vegetables and long-lasting resentment about minutiae is now!

After you’ve spent a long afternoon in the yard or trying to install precariously situated planters on your fire escape, you’ll be understandably exhausted. Here’s where you begin your lifelong dedication to serial television programming. Single people watch television because it gives them interesting things to talk about with their friends; married people watch television because they are afraid that if they can’t talk at length about Walter White’s warped sense of morality, there might be nothing left to say to each other in the entire world, forever.

Nothing makes an evening of “Breaking Bad” or 92 straight hours of “Battlestar Galactica” go down smoother than a cold seasonal beer — local seasonal beer, if you can get it. If you’re going to spend the rest of your drinking life with one person, it’s best to mark the slow passage of time with craft brews that will always remind you of, say, the Autumn Of “The X-Files” Streaming On Netflix. Besides, you can only say “Miller High Life! It’s the champagne of beers!” while laughing fancily and toasting each other for five or so years before that stops being the funniest thing anyone ever said about beer.

Every couple of years, you’ll need to put your serial television addiction on hold to spend every possible minute of your together lives watching the Olympics and developing matching opinions about which athletes are amazing blessings on humanity and which ones are Ryan Lochte. As Patrick says: the Olympics are a “seasonal beer for the eyes.”

Drinking all that local, seasonal beer will inevitably result in the realization that your bodies are not going to be in wedding day shape forever; a joint gym membership is in order. Make elaborate plans to go jogging on the treadmills together before work in the morning, do it for two weeks, then find ever more elaborate excuses to never go again.

Still, a little physical activity never hurt anybody, except for the married person who burned a head of hair off trying to install a built-in propane grill to the new deck. Home improvement should occupy five to seven hours of any weekend day; bonus points if you’re making improvements on a rental property that you absolutely would not give two shits about if you were a single person.

If there’s an adorable bagel shop near your local Home Depot, be sure to grab a coffee and spend a couple of hours there drawing intricate plans on the napkins, then accidentally get to Home Depot 30 minutes early and wait around for the doors to open because you’re a couple of dorks.

One thing you really won’t want to miss is the opportunity to plan to take some classes with your new spouse. For example, Patrick and I really, really need to learn Spanish. We talk about this all the time. We occasionally research language programs and consider enrolling in them together.

Another great idea is to join a community-supported agriculture program, because you mistakenly believe that two people can eat 40 bushels of Serrano peppers a week. Cooking with each other is a great bonding activity, especially if you both have recurring nightmares about wasting a single organically farmed fingerling potato.

Bonus points for picking up your CSA package at a local farmer’s market, where you can meet a lot of other newly married couples with whom you’ll make plans to get beers. You won’t actually keep these plans because you decided to see if “Grimm” was any good and now it’s too late to leave the house, plus if you go out now and come back really late you’ll be too tired or drunk to have the sex you’re worried about having enough of because you don’t want to be one of those couples.

Speaking of, a sure way to kill a healthy sex life is to introduce a helpless living being into your household that needs constant attention. I don’t mean kids: I mean a dog. Because we live in an oversized shoebox with three cats already, Patrick and I haven’t yet embarked upon this rite of passage, but I really feel like something that’s missing from our life together is a mid-sized Labrador mix that loves to go on day trips, just like married people do.

You do go on day trips, right? Preferably to cute, rural towns with a thriving antique furniture scene. Book a night or two in a bed and breakfast approximately two to four hours from your home, and be sure to take the bigger car, because you’ll be coming back with a 1970’s hi-fi stereo system or armoire you’re convinced you got for a steal.

The only way to enjoy a big purchase like that is to invite your friends over for a dinner party at which the aforementioned furniture will be a major, if not the only, topic of conversation. At this party, serve classic cocktails and go to great lengths to accommodate your guests with unusual dietary restrictions. This is also a great time to break in the fondue set your aunt gave you, then forget about it for 20 years.

Finally, regale your guests/hostages with unsolicited advice on marriage, relationships and great seasonal beers. Repeat this process every year, forever.

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