William Dameron uses song lyrics to instruct. Because ain’t nobody got time for boring advice.
I’ve been watching you struggle. You come into the office with a bewildered look on your face.
At home, it’s day three and you’re still not speaking to each other. That’s not entirely true; you’re talking through the children, using them like little ventriloquist puppets: “Tell your mother to pass the salt,” or “Would you please remind your father, as I have told him TEN THOUSAND TIMES, that tomorrow is the parent teacher conference?” The kids are confused and I’m tired of that mopey look on your face.
You want to know why Paul and I seem so happy and why we never appear to fight. I’m going to share some secrets of my marriage with you so that we can stop talking about how miserable you are. And also because I love you.
But here’s the deal, we’re going to have fun by using song lyrics because ain’t nobody got time for boring advice.
“If I were a boy, even just for a day”
Drop the gender-based roles:
Paul and I are both men and therefore we don’t conform to gender roles. We both take out the trash; we both clean, and we both cook. Problem solved.
False! Paul cooks and cleans almost all of the time, because that is what he is good at and because he works from home. I do things I’m good at, though I’m struggling to tell you what they are. The point is, don’t ever let your gender define what your responsibilities are. Are you both human? Well then….
“You gotta’ have friends”
Keep the friends:
I’ve seen couples jettison their single friends when they get married. Guess what: many of my friends could never get married. Did that make them any less valuable? Of course not. My friends are every sexual orientation, men and women, married and single. We share our friends with each other and sometimes I need a night out with friends when Paul is not around. Some of my best friends are gay men. I do not, nor would I ever have sex with them. Straight men can just be friends with straight women. It really is that simple.
“’Cause after all, he’s just a man”
Don’t blame everything on differences between the sexes:
On the rare occasions when Paul and I fight, I need to talk it out and he wants to let bygones be bygones. Does this sound familiar? Am I a woman? Not every difference between you is because you’re a man and she’s a woman. The saying “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus” is crap. You’re both Earthlings.
“Let’s talk about sex, bay-bee!”
Talk about sex!:
I have access to the same equipment 24/7. Therefore, I must really know what turns Paul on. Well, I do know what turns him on, but it’s not because it’s innate—it’s because we talk about it. “I like the way you do that right thurr (right thurr).” Bonus! Extra lyrics. Tell your partner what you want. It’s OK if sometimes what you really want is quick sex because you’re bored.
“We are fam-i-ly”
One for all and all for one:
Paul and I have a blended family with five children, and damn if he doesn’t pick on me for not stepping up to the plate and having three like him so we could be the Gaydy bunch. They are not his. They are not mine. They are ours. No one’s mother or father was replaced in the process: remember that.
“You don’t send me flowers, anymore”
Don’t become a Hallmark-aholic:
Do you really need to send a bouquet of flowers and a frilly card to say I love you on every Hallmark holiday? Paul and I are not bound by this tradition, thank goodness, because have you noticed the dearth of husband-for-husband cards? Sometimes he’ll buy me flowers and sometimes I’ll do the same for him, just because. Men like spontaneous tokens of affection just as much as women. Not into flowers? How about a pair of underwear?
“I wanna put on my, my, my, my, my boogie shoes”
I hope you dance (Sorry, this is also a song lyric):
We’re both gay men, so you know we both like to shake our groove thing. Wrong again! I could dance all night while Paul would rather stick needles into his eyes. But does he love to watch me dance and be happy? Sometimes it’s a precursor to the Best. Sex.Evah! Let her or him dance with others and once in a while get up there and make a fool of yourself. Worried that people will think you look gay? Accept it as a compliment, bud…
“The boy is mine”
Don’t compare yourself to previous partners:
If you are straight, you probably never dated the same person as your partner. Paul and I dated two of the same men before we became a couple. I don’t compare myself to previous boyfriends, because I know. I truly know what they lacked. He or she chose you. Exorcise the ghosts of partners past.
And here is a bonus tip, though you might have picked it up while you were reading this. (God, I hope you did, anyway).
“Make ‘em laugh, make ‘em laugh.”
We laugh at each other. We laugh at ourselves. Many times our children laugh at us, and often we laugh at our children while pointing our fingers at them. We developed a sharp sense of humor as a defense mechanism. It works. It wards off anger and sadness and can bring you closer together.
I want your marriage to succeed, and there is something that I have learned. When the marriages surrounding us are stronger and happier, then mine becomes more valuable and that makes me happy. And when I’m happy? Paul’s up all night to get lucky
More on this topic from The Good Men Project:
What We Can All Learn From Gay Couples, by Dennis Milam Bensie.
6 Things My Gay Friend Taught Me, by Brian Shea
This article originally appeared at The Authentic Life.
Photo by Drew Staffen/Flickr