The Marriage Advice You Never Asked For

It was six years ago that a counseling website named Loripalooza as one of their Top 50 Blogs for Marriage Advice. I’m still astonished considering I had never given a single piece of sincere marriage advice. And why would I? I’m not a marriage counselor and I certainly don’t believe in the idea of the perfect marriage. In fact, I think anyone who claims to is either lying, or setting themselves up for a huge disappointment.

So on this day, as Brantley and I celebrate THIRTEEN years of marriage I am going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m going to give you the sincere-ish marriage advice that you never asked for.

Let’s start with the misconception of the perfect marriage. No one single person is perfect. Period. So why would anyone think that putting two people together under one roof and labeling them as married would create an environment that was anything close to perfect? It’s absurd. Each person goes into a marriage with certain expectations based on our families of origin whether they be good, or bad. Try not to get too hung up on the idea that My family is normal and my spouse’s family is weird. We are ALL weird.

Now, try and think of the most difficult thing you’ve ever had to do. Was it passing a field sobriety test, doing calculus, or training a litter of kittens to walk a tightrope? Forget about it. Communicating effectively with your spouse is the hardest thing you will ever have to do. Why?  Because our brains don’t work the same. They just don’t.

Women tend to correlate our partner’s words and behaviors with EVERYTHING they’ve ever said, or done since the beginning of time. Men, however, are more singular in their thinking. Before you start sending me hate mail, I’m NOT saying that men are simple. I’m saying if a woman ever finds herself thinking, “What did he mean by that?” The answer is generally EXACTLY what he said. Unlike with women, there’s very little chance he’s making a snide reference to the fight you had with his sister three Christmases ago when he asks, “Did you empty the dishwasher?” Ninety-nine times out of one hundred the man is just looking for a clean spoon with which to eat ice cream out of the carton.

This brings me to another important subject- arguments. Arguments are inevitable. Things are often said in the heat of the moment that you wish you could take back. However, it doesn’t work like that. Hurtful words cannot be unheard, but if you keep your angry name calling on a middle-school level it can really facilitate a smoother make-up transition.

For example, if you’re arguing about housework and who does the brunt of it, instead of shouting obscenities at one another, take a page out of my playbook and try something like, “Hey, dingle-berry brains! Do you think your dirty socks and underwear just magically make their way to the laundry room?” or “Hey, you big horse’s ass! Stop leaving popsicle wrappers all over the damn house!”

See. There’s nothing above that Brantley would have a hard time forgiving me for. (I know this for a fact because I say both of those things quite often.)

In the event that you do encounter a problem in your relationship that you can’t get past, then by all means seek the advice of a counselor. I’m not talking about someone at your church reminding you that a wife should always submit to her husband. That’s not only unhelpful bullshit, but also a waste of your valuable time. I’m referring to a licensed professional who specializes in counseling struggling couples.

A few years back, Brantley and I hit a rough patch of marital road. We weren’t thriving and we weren’t communicating well. As awkward as it was, we took to couple’s counseling and within a few months we were stronger than ever. There’s a big misconception about marriage counseling. People often think of it as the last stop on your road to divorce and it’s only talked about in a whisper. This is far from the truth and there’s no shame in seeking help. A good marriage counselor can be a great tool in getting you and your spouse back in sync.

Lastly, don’t take yourselves too seriously, don’t set unrealistic expectations, and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD don’t feel like your marriage is less than that of a friend who boasts constantly about his/her perfect union. It’s these people who generally have the biggest problems behind closed doors.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this less than earth shattering marriage advice. However, if you think it’s complete nonsense and your way is better, then by all means keep doing you. There’s no one correct way of doing marriage, but being able to admit that we are all assholes is a great first step.

Marriage Advice

Operation Oil Change

Today’s mission was to get an oil change. Brantley (current husband) usually does it himself, but over the last few days he noticed my car was leaking oil. Instead of investigating the leak himself he told me to take it somewhere and have the oil changed.

I pulled into the Valvoline express and went through the vaguely familiar process of Back up. No. Pull forward, again. Stop. Cut your wheels slightly to the right. Too far! Reverse. Ok, stop. I said stop!

An employee named Michael approaches my car and the following ensued.

“Pop your hood, please.”

“I did. It’s popped.”

“No, Ma’am. It isn’t. There should be a lever below the steering column somewhere.”

“Yes, I’m familiar with levers. In fact, if you’ll lift up on the hood a bit you’ll find that there’s one under there. It can be hard to find, but sometimes you gotta just give it hell and…”

“Yes Ma’am, I too am familiar with levers, but I believe you popped your trunk by mistake because it’s now open.”

“Oh! So it is. Alright. Give me one second. Aaand got it.”

“That was your fuel door.”

“You know what?” I grab the handle and open the door. “Let me just get out and find it. It’s so dark in here.”

Michael, grabs my door keeping me from opening it. “Ma’am, for your safety we ask that you stay in your vehicle.”

“Ohhhhhh-kay. I’m guessing you’re not going to be putting fuel in my car today, are you?”

“No, Ma’am.”

“Then would you mind closing my fuel door AND THE TRUNK while you’re back there since I can’t get out of my car and do it myself.”

“Sure. First, let me just reach in your window here and…”

Of course, he immediately finds the appropriate lever and the air traffic controller who waved me in earlier gets to work under the hood. I hand Michael a coupon that I brought with me, but he proceeds to tell me that the coupon doesn’t apply to cars requiring full synthetic oil. Clearly, at this point he thinks he has the upper hand until I respond with, “I don’t care. I prefer full synthetic. None of that organic crap for my car. No thank you.”

The air traffic controller woman begins barking a series of commands for me to perform as little beads of sweat start to form on my upper lip.

Step on the brakes. Flash your headlights. Put your right hip in. Put your right hip out. Turn on your left blinker.

At this point, Michael who was making his way back to my window shields his face as he is sprayed with windshield washer fluid. I own up to it.

“My bad. That was my fault. I was looking for my blinker. Do me a favor and please tell that woman that my blinkers are fine and that she can stop.”

He is happy to oblige my request. Then he says, “It looks like your car has been leaking oil because whoever changed it last put this in upside down.” He shows me something round and demonstrates the act of turning it upside down in the proper fashion.

I immediately burst into laughter. “That’s so great. My husband did that. What’s that contraption called so I can make fun of him? I have to write it down. O-ring, you say? Got it. He’s so sweet and stupid.”

Operation Oil Change

 

 

Brantley-isms (Because It’s Been A While Since My Husband Said Something This Stupid)

I was getting ready to head to the grocery store when Brantley (my husband) and I finished up a conversation about a girlfriend of mine. We’ll call her Stacey. Stacey has been through a lot lately- the loss of a loved one, a bad breakup, and a serious health crisis. Despite all of the things going on in her life Stacey always remains upbeat and concerned with others. She’s the kind of friend that remembers your Mother’s birthday. Who does that?

 
I finished double checking the grocery list and headed toward the door when I heard Brantley say, “Wow, she’s a stronger woman than I am.”
 
I didn’t think it was appropriate to chastise him at the time, so I just kept walking. 
 
However, now feels right. 
By looking at this photo taken last Easter it’s readily apparent that my husband was a much stronger woman just one year ago. 
 
What happened?
Lori

I Just Want To Be Alone!

Luke: “Mom, will you help me make a sign for my bedroom door?”
Me: “If I can coordinate the colors to match your bedroom and mount it on card stock?”
Luke: “What does that mean.”
Me: “It means I’ll help you if you let me make it pretty.”
Luke: “No!”
Me: “Then, no. I won’t help you.”
Luke: “Ok, fine. But, not too pretty.”
Me: “Deal.”
I didn’t realized at the time that I had just agreed to make a sign that had the sole purpose and intent of keeping ME out of his bedroom. However, I didn’t fret over it for too long because truth be told, I appreciate space and privacy just as much as my five-year-old son. Maybe more…

This is one of many examples of why I am delighted to be a contributing author in the soon to be released book, I Just Want To Be Alone.

Jen of People I Want To Punch In The Throat is a blogger that people love to love and love to hate, depending on who’s receiving the aforementioned throat punch. Last year, she released the wildly successful precursor to this book- a hilarious view of motherhood entitled I Just Want To Pee Alone. However, when Jen asked who would like to take part in a second volume which was to include the topic of husbands I raised both hands and a foot. 

You may have read the bit of husband bashing I wrote about in “You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth” last year, but something tells me you’ll have my back once again after reading my chapter, “Rehearsal Dinner Roofie.” 
Lori

Luke-isms: He’s Having A Baby

I received an email from Luke’s teacher last week stating that he was overheard at circle time asking a couple of little girls to marry him because, according to him, he was going to be having a baby soon. 


I didn’t give him too hard a time over it when he got home from school, but Brantley questioned him about it later that night. 

“Lucas, you know babies are expensive. If you want one you better get a job.”

“No, Dad! That is NOT right. You can’t just take money to a store and buy a baby. They’re not for sale.” His emphatic statement was then followed by a glance in my direction with an eye roll expressing his disapproval of his Dad’s baby ignorance. 

Dads– when will they learn?

Lori

Dog CPR And Making A Fool Of Yourself: How To

While I was in Montevallo, AL over the weekend visiting with friends and signing copies of You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth, my husband stayed home for a work-related obligation.

(Pictures from the Montevallo, AL book signing here.)

He used this time away from me to go out and buy himself a fancy, new smart phone. This is a big deal because I have purposely spent years making sure he had a phone that could barely take a picture. Internet access?? Fuh-get about it. I NEEDED him to be dumber than me, technologically speaking, so I could retain the balance of power in our relationship. 


Well, it’s safe to say that the tides had shifted. 

As soon as Luke and I returned home, Brantley was there with his new phone. It had a giant screen and the amount of time he spent looking at it was really starting to bother me. 

“Must regain the upper hand,” I thought to myself. 

When the bottom fell out:


That night at dinner the conversation came upon what would happen if our Yorkie, Baxter went into distress and needed CPR. Brantley had the audacity to say that I wouldn’t know what to do. Puh-lease! I wasn’t about to take that lying down and immediately began a tutorial on canine mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

One minute I was explaining how to hold Baxter’s little mouth closed with both my hands while simultaneously blowing into his nose, and the next minute Brantley was snapping a picture of my demonstration with his fancy, new smart phone. 

Not a good look for me…

Lori

I’m In The Powder Room Today! Subject: Homeschoolers

Have I ever mentioned the time that we almost hired a babysitting disaster for Luke?


Well, I’m sharing the whole awkward story in my debut today In The Powder Room

So come on over, and while you’re there you can read more about the Amazon best selling book, “You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth” And Other Things You’ll Only Hear From Your Friends In The Powder Room.


PS: Don’t forget that I’ll be at the Parnell Memorial Library this Saturday, September 7th to speak and sign copies of the book. I can’t wait to see you there!! Click HERE for the details.

Lori

I’m a Co-Author of “You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth!!” #ITPRlipstick

When Editor-In-Chief of In the Powder Room, Leslie Marinelli, asked me to contribute to their first ever anthology I was ecstatic. In fact, I read the email three times just to make sure she hadn’t sent it to the wrong person.

My next task was to write a funny and honest story that I’d only share with my closest girlfriends. When Leslie gave me the ok, and even the encouragement to write a PG-13 story, I knew immediately which story to choose.

To my husband, Brantley’s surprise and disdain I had actually shared these boudoir stories with my best friend, and judging from the amount of Merlot that shot out her nose I knew it would be a good read.

I won’t spoil the details because I want you to buy the book, but suffice it to say that our marriage has changed over the course of ten years. Our likes and dislikes have changed, as well as the effort we sometimes put forth in the romance department.

Whether you’re looking for a fun beach read, or just something to pass the time in the car-pool line, then look no further than “You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth” and Other Things You’ll Only Hear from Your Friends In The Powder Room.

However, if you’re wearing a white blouse while reading this book, then I recommend you wear a bib. Don’t say I didn’t warn you
You can click here to read more about the book and the other awesome contributors. I’m proud to be in such notable, talented company!

*Also, stay tuned for details on book signings and events!!*

Father-Son Time: #MensHealth Workout

Since my husband, Brantley changed jobs a month ago he has struggled to find time in the evenings to workout AND spend time with his family. Both of these things are very important to him. In case you don’t recall, he went on a mission to get healthy three years ago and lost 110 pounds. Since then, maintaining his weight, and thus having the energy to play with our son has been a priority. 

By the time 5:30pm rolls around our son, Luke is bursting at the seams to be with his Dad. No sooner does Brantley walk in the door does Luke jump from the sofa onto his Dad’s back and start rattling off the millions of things he’s been dying to tell him. 

Well, my clever husband came up with an idea that I first thought sounded absurd. “Let’s go do one of my workouts, Luke.” 

Who says you can’t get a decent workout while spending time with your five-year-old? I did, actually. In fact I said it several times, but it took seeing it to believe it. 

As it turns out, the Men’s Health 15-Minute Abs, Arms & Chest Workout DVD is varied and short enough to hold my son’s focus. Also, a water bottle is a great substitute for a heavy dumbbell.

Now every evening they burn off some steam while I get to check my email, finish making dinner, or make a phone call without hearing, “Mom, Mom, hey Mom!”

Win-win!


(I wasn’t supposed to write about Brantley’s dramatic weight loss, so don’t click HERE to read more about it.)

Warrior Moms: What Makes Us and Breaks Us

Yesterday I encountered a scary mommy moment.

Luke (4) had been battling an asthma flare-up for several days. My husband, Brantley and I had been giving him breathing treatments every four-hours in addition to the two steroids he had been placed on.

His symptoms had begun to improve until yesterday morning around 9am when he complained of a headache. By ten o’clock the pain had spread to his neck, which had quickly become so stiff that he was unable to turn his head.

I called the pediatrician who we had seen last week when the asthma flare-up started. He told us to go to the Children’s hospital emergency room so Luke could be examined. He was going to call ahead and let them know we were coming.

After a thorough exam, the attending physician, Dr. Arnold explained that Luke didn’t have meningitis, but a condition that caused inflammation and spasm of the neck muscles. This condition, torticollis, was actually caused by the viral upper respiratory infection that he’d been battling.

Our instructions for treating this was to alternate Tylenol and Motrin and to massage the muscles of his neck to help them to relax. Otherwise, his neck would stiffen back up, drawing his left ear over to his shoulder.

Brantley and I breathed a sigh of relief and we headed home with our little patient.

We prepared for a day of rest and relaxation for Luke. Brantley heated up his favorite blankets in the dryer while I got his favorite Scooby Doo videos to watch in bed. I gently rubbed Luke’s neck, which he didn’t like at all because the spasming muscles made it painful. I hated having to do something that increased his pain, but I knew that it would help in the long-term.

“Mom, can I use your Tempur-pedic pillow?” Luke asked.

“Bitches be trippin,” I thought to myself as I grabbed my Tempur-Pedic pillow and held it tightly to my chest.

Yes, he was under the weather, but had he really just asked if he could use my Tempur-Pedic neck therapy pillow, aka The Precious?

“Here Puddin’ Pop, why don’t you try one of your Dad’s really soft…”

“Lori,” Brantley interrupted. “You’ve got to be kidding me! Give him that pillow,” he said through gritted teeth.

“I was just warming it up,” I lied as I relented and allowed the marshmallowy softness to be taken from my tight grasp. “Anything for my boy.”


As I sit here this morning with a crick in my neck from sleeping on a standard pillow, I want to hear YOUR story. You know you have one.

When was the last time you offered to walk to the end of the earth for someone, only to later realize that the end of the earth was really far away and you didn’t have on comfortable shoes?

I want to hear about it. No judgement. I’m kidding, of course. I will totally judge you. We are humans, after all and we LIVE for shit like this. Go on and share. Make me feel better by comparison.

PS: Luke feels better today. The range of motion in his neck is greatly improved, blah, blah, blah.