After I had been married for many a year, I discovered in talking with some young engaged people that they had put together a sort of contract for their marriage. I was curious about what would be in such a contract, and when I asked them, I found out they were designating who would be responsible for different household chores, how they will designate the money spent, and other assorted things to keep problems from developing later. As I listen to them planning out their lives together in minute detail, I look at them and ask, “Okay, but who squashes the bugs?” Inevitably, I discover they’re not as prepared as they think.
Because I got married in the heat and youth of love, this sort of planning didn’t enter my mind. I was busy oohing and aahing over the idea of living in my newly acquired fairyland two-bedroom palace with my new husband. It was only later that I realized how beneficial some of this planning could have saved us a lot of grief. So to help those of you making plans to spend your lives with your beloved, I offer the following suggestions.
Marriage Contract Addition No. 1
Bugs and I have an ongoing battle, and they enter the Byrd Nest at their own risk. And if you think I’m apologizing to any animal rights groups because I kill them all on sight, you’re highly confused. I want the bugs dead, but I got married thinking it’s the man’s job to kill the suckers. After all, isn’t the man supposedly the hunter? When confronted in the abode with anything over four legs, it will be the man’s responsibility to come running.
Marriage Contract Addition No. 2
One person should be in charge of light bulbs in ceiling fixtures. It’s always been my opinion that the taller of two people should be the one to climb up there and switch the bulbs. In our house, we have bumped into each other too often in the dark simply because the bulbs have blown in more than one room, and both of us are too lazy or too obstinate to fix the problem. Our solution is to turn on a light in the adjacent room, and this works fine until that bulb goes out there. Also, a clause should be inserted here that if a person is going to be up there anyway, they are responsible for cleaning the fixture.
Marriage Contract Addition No. 3
The last person consuming a container of any refrigerated drink is responsible for the pitcher or empty bottle. Empty shall be defined as less than a half of a cup of liquid. Nothing is more irritating than going into the refrigerator for a cold drink and discovering the meager amount left by somebody who simply wanted to avoid the words “but it wasn’t empty.”
Marriage Contract Addition No. 4
Whoever empties shampoo bottles in the shower are responsible for disposing of said bottles. And minor pieces left out of a bar of soap fall under the same category. If you use any of these to the point where it’s like performing surgery to remove the remaining content from the soap holder, then toss it into the waste basket, which is usually sitting directly beside the shower curtain. Emptying said basket, obviously, falls under the category of trash management, which will be another problem altogether.
Marriage Contract Addition No. 5
Leaving two small blocks of toilet paper and that remnant of paper towel stuck to the paper roll does not mean you didn’t use the last of it. Contrary to popular belief in this household, that paper does not multiply by itself if left unattended. No excuses will be accepted about inability to find replenishing supplies, since they’re pretty much kept in the same place year after year.
Although I only chose to list five, there are a multitude of others which probably should be considered by the signees. Such things as placing DVD’s back into their holders upon removing them from the machine, placing dirty dishes on the counter next to the sink instead of in the sink, placing dirty clothes in hamper instead of at the site of disrobement, and wet towels on the bathroom floor could also be included but why completely take all the fun out of the first few years. After a few months of day-to-day, conversation may dry up and need a little sparking.