Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Reverse-Engineering a Perfect Marriage, Part II

In the first part of this attempt to reverse-engineer a perfect marriage from a perfectly dysfunctional one we looked at anger, taking your spouse for granted, avoiding your spouse, lack of communication, and refusing to compromise as ways to really mess things up. In the conclusion we hit the final five of our top ten ways to really screw up your relationship.

Some readers of part one were quick to offer sympathies on the horrendous state of my marriage—and I do appreciate them—but these steps to a marital hell are not especially autobiographical. Sure, we’ve had issues with just about all of these things at one time or another, but even at our worst we didn’t really put in the time and effort that would have been required to make our marriage the worst marriage on earth.

Here is the second half of our list of ways you can make your marriage as far from perfect as possible:

6. Eliminate all physical demonstrations of affection. These include: hand-holding, hugging, kissing, walking arm-in-arm, back rubs, foot massages, and any other pleasant physical contact, including S-E-X. These outward signs of a functioning relationship can sometimes interfere with the inner path to true marital dysfunction. Recently, a preacher, concerned with the divorce rate in his area, made the news by telling the (married) couples in his flock to have sex daily. He’s right, sex usually makes marriage more pleasurable; so avoid it if you want to up the ante of misery.

7. Deception is ideal for making your marriage worse. It really isn’t important what you choose to deceive your spouse about, just make sure to do it often. The increased stress and anxiety you feel while weaving your tangled web will surely be rewarded by the anger, disappointment, and distrust that result from your spouse’s discovery of the truth. In a similar vein, breaking promises you have made to your spouse can certainly become a kind of deception if you do it often enough. So keep at it!

8. Make sure that your marital problems greatly impact the lives of your children. Vent anger at your spouse in their direction every so often. Display for them the appropriate way to show contempt and scorn for one of their parents. Teach them that name-calling and shouted profanity are appropriate means of interacting with those you love. Criticize them by tellng them that they’re just like your spouse. Emphasize spending very little time doing things “as a family” because family things aren’t as important as being upset/angry/hurt.

9. Share your problems with the world. Understand that in order to truly enjoy a dysfunctional marriage, you must ensure that friends, family, acquaintances, and more than a few strangers are aware of what a bastard/bitch your spouse really is. The aim here is to belittle and/or humiliate. Ideally, this information should be imparted to the third party in question in the presence of your spouse, but behind-the-back slander is better than no slander at all if you are seeking true dysfunction. If your audience can still sympathize with your husband/wife after they’ve heard you out, then you need to work on your delivery.

10. More extreme measures such as verbal or physical abuse or adultery can be employed if the above guidelines have been tried and have failed to produce a terrible, dysfunctional marriage. Be careful, however, because both adultery and abuse have a tendency to lead quickly to the end of a relationship, rather than the proudly dysfunctional marriage you hope to achieve.

After reading and memorizing the list, a near-perfect marriage is only a single step away. All you have to do is to avoid doing any of the above and you should have a perfect marriage. Simple, eh? Good luck!

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