Relationship advice

7 Ways to Be a Shittier Spouse

Yesterday I got an email with the subject line “20 Easy Ways to Be a Better Spouse.” 99% of the time, I delete emails like these immediately; if I want relationship advice, I’m not going to take it, unsolicited, from an article on the internet–the amorphous entity that made “2 Girls 1 Cup” a thing.

But apparently I’ve reached somewhat of a boiling point with articles like these. With some exceptions, they’re filled with enough generic, holier-than-thou relationship advice to choke Dr. Phil, and without anything realistic or substantial. Basically they’re the same articles I read in Cosmogirl as a 15-year-old, but with more typos and fewer lip gloss ads.

So I opened the email. And I clicked on the article link, thinking, “You know what, internet? Impress me.”

Below I’ve listed seven of that article’s 20 ways to “be a better spouse,” and included a line of text the author-less article used to really drive home its point. Each slide in the article also came with a stock photo of a happy couple exemplifying “being a better spouse,” so I’ve included some happy photos from my life, too, for authenticity.

Make your bond unbreakable (and please your partner!) with these no-fail relationship rules.

1. Avoid A Rut
“Think spontaneity…Pick up his favorite Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor (and eat it together for dinner!).”

Relationship advice: avoid a rut

If eating ice cream together for dinner is the key to an excitement-filled relationship, then go ahead and consider us Bonnie and Clyde.

2. Communicate Honestly
“Instead of creating some convoluted story, just admit that you forgot to pick up milk at the story (sic). Fibbing is cowardly and says you can’t own up to your mistakes.”

Relationship advice: Communicate honestly

Okay. From now on when my husband asks how my day was, instead of saying “Not too productive, but otherwise fine,” I’m going to STOP FIBBING and communicate, honestly, “I accidentally left the wet laundry in the washing machine for three hours because TLC was playing a daytime marathon of ‘My 600 Pound Life’ and I lost track of time wondering how a 600-pound woman gets close enough to the bathroom mirror to pluck her eyebrows.”

I can already feel our marriage improving.

3. Hang Out With Friends
“Chances are, your guy just doesn’t care about that awesome J.Crew sale.”

Relationship advice: Hang out with friends

Chances are my friends don’t care about the J.Crew sale either, because they’re shopping on the clearance rack at Target. Like I am.

4. Be Nice
“Make sure to always say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ especially for those mundane tasks like getting the mail.”

Relationship advice: Be nice

Thanks for flushing the toilet, babe. I love you.

5. Listen Actively
“Sometimes a sincere ‘uh huh’ is all he needs to hear.”

Relationship advice: Listen actively

As I woman, I know at least fifteen ways to use the phrase “uh huh” with my husband, and zero of those ways convey sincerity.

6. Nix The Sweatpants
“A ring on your finger is not a free pass to Sloppyville.”

Relationship advice: Nix the sweatpants

You’re right. I should really put those little black dresses and skinny jeans to use for all the washing-poop-off-the-dog I do now that I’m married.

P.S. Yoga pants aren’t sweatpants, so technically I’m acing this one.

P.P.S. “Sloppyville” pretty accurately describes the state of our house when I’m washing poop off the dog.

7. Share The Spotlight
“Still craving attention? Sign in to Facebook and count the ‘likes’ on your latest selfie.”

Relationship advice: Share the spotlight

Excuse me. I don’t have time for selfies anymore; I’m too busy taking BuzzFeed quizzes to find out which kind of potato I am.

What’s the lamest, most generic advice you get over and over that really grinds your gears?

18 thoughts on “7 Ways to Be a Shittier Spouse

  1. Actually, my husband let it slip the other day that he found me sexiest when I was wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt so I pretty much won the husband lottery in my mind.

    You know what really gets me? The whole arbitrary ‘studies’ that are published on the internet on what combination of people make the best married people. People who drink, but not too much, and at the same time are apparently going to live happily ever after. Go home, internet. You’re drunk.

    • Maybe six months after my husband and I started dating, he also admitted he found me sexiest when I was in my gym clothes. So that’s when I was pretty sure I was going to marry him.

      Remember when those internet studies didn’t even exist, and we took our who-we-should-marry relationship advice from, like, horoscopes? Those were probably more accurate.

  2. Cannot wait to find out what potato I am. (sadly serious with that) worst dating advice is always….do what makes you happy and you’ll find the right person. laying in bed with a netflix marathon makes me happy. bonus points for wine and snacks. If I might my future husband that way, we will end up on my 600 pound life.

      (But actually you just described most Friday nights in our house. And, now that I’m unemployed, sometimes Wednesday afternoons.)

  3. Don’t go to bed angry. Sometimes, that is the only way my husband lives is if I go to bed angry and sleep on it. I have a fresher perspective in the morning! And I haven’t said something I’ll need to apologize for. I HATE having to apologize

    • Oh man, Jonathan is with you on this one. If I’m angry or upset, I won’t be able to fall asleep (though this probably has something to do with my raging insomnia, and my ability to stay up all night plotting someone’s death). Jonathan needs the time to cool down, and is much more willing to talk things out after some shut-eye. It’s probably one of our biggest communication issues. The result is that, if at all possible, I avoid argumentative topics anytime in the evening, or try to nip any nighttime quarrels in the bud before I get too worked up–if they’re important enough, they can wait until morning. So I think the lesson here is that this piece of advice DOESN’T HELP. What helps is taking the time to figure out the best way to work this shit out between the two of you.

    • You know, I felt a pang of guilt after I posted this, because it’s really difficult to find work as a writer, and the person who wrote that article probably does have feelings and limitations and instructions from the boss. But then I realized that the person who wrote that article is most likely a PAID writer, and then I got angry again and felt okay about it.

  4. Bahaha. This was hilarious. Those My 600 Lb Life marathons will suck you in man! And yoga pants are totally real pants. Right? Right???

    Also, I now know I am Au Gratin Potatoes, so thank you for that.

  5. Hah – I agree w/Brook above. I got that email too & went through a similar thought process regarding opening it vs just trashing immediately. I decided I was going to take a look, but life got in the way & I haven’t opened it yet, so thank you for saving me the time!

    Also, I got Mr. Potato Head & then my browser freaked out, so I have no idea what that says about me, but I am a bit concerned because I generally like my body parts to not move around freely.

    Switching gears, here is the funniest thing I’ve seen on the internet in a while:

    • Honestly, the article is worth the read just for the ridiculous things I didn’t mention here (like its suggestion that you break your normal routine by taking a spontaneous trip to Australia).

      LOL MR. POTATO HEAD IS AN OPTION? Maybe it just means that…you…wear your heart on your sleeve? And also maybe your ears?

  6. I got the same email and although I rarely click, I did too. And as I did it I thought, I’ll give you 3 chances – if you have said nothing that I have not already heard a million times in the first 3 slides I am done. They struck out and I stopped reading and thought why did I even bother?? Now I am glad I did since your version was made that much sweeter!

    • When websites automatically sign you up for their emails without asking you first, this is the result. I’m not saying I could write better relationship advice, but I’m also not writing articles for a website about marriage advice.

  7. I’m a home fry, lol

    I pretty much stopped reading all of those horrible suggestions. I recently subscribed to a new magazine to help my niece with a fundraiser, though, so I’ll be sure to pass along any insanely boring tidbits 😉

  8. The worst dating advice I have ever received (from someone who is no longer in my life) is that I come off as too smart and independent, which guys find intimidating. If I want to meet someone, I need to tone that down so the guy feels better and more in control. I refuse to be less than my partner’s equal. I think I’d rather be a spinster and honest with myself than be something I’m not.

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