The natural evolution of marriage

Having been married now for quite a few years, I’ve noticed that there’s a natural evolution in marriage. I suspect that what I’ve experienced holds true for most marriages. You might point out that I’m making an assumption here, given the fact that I haven’t conducted any polls, but I rest my assumption on the fact that the human experience is a common one for the most.

The evolution I’m talking about is concerned with the goals of each individual within the marriage relationship. When first married, those goals largely involve the more starry aspects of marriage: communication, intimacy, dreaming about the future, serving each other in all the myriad little ways that stitch together into the work of art that is marriage. However, when children arrive on the scene, the goals change.

The goals change because changing diapers has suddenly entered the equation. I’ve discovered that a great deal of marriage, when children are still in diapers, involves complicated and subtle maneuvering in order to avoid changing a diaper. If successful, this means your marriage partner ends up changing the diaper.

I’ve learned that there are a number of excellent ways to avoid changing diapers. The first and critical step is to recognize that the diaper is in need of being changed. This usually involves a noxious smell. Once you’ve recognized that, then you immediately need to commit yourself to a task that renders you occupied. You would love to change the diaper, but you are irretrievably occupied with doing something else that trumps the necessity of changing the diaper. My favorites in this category are things like washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, or some other vital emergency. Let me tell you, if you’re elbow deep in suds at the kitchen sink, your wife really can’t ask you to change the diaper.

Unless, of course, she has adroitly figured out a task for herself that completely trumps the righteousness of you washing dishes. For example, if you’re happily washing dishes and she whisks out the door, car keys in hand, and yells over her shoulder, “I’m taking Jimmy to the ER! I think he broke his arm! Oh, by the way, can you change the baby?”, then you have been out-maneuvered and out-gunned.

If no dirty dishes are available, the lawn is neatly cut, and no shingles are missing on the roof, another possible ploy is picking up the phone and pretending to have a conversation with your dying grandmother. If your wife frowns at you and points at the baby, you can make sorrowful but negating hand signals at her as you loudly say on the phone, “I’m sorry to hear that your kidneys are shutting down, Grandma. Is it painful?”

The only problem with this ploy is that it loses effectiveness if you use it too much. Grandma can only endure life-threatening illnesses, at the most, once a month.

Other ploys involve things such as setting the garage on fire, finding a rattlesnake in the basement, or pretending that a tornado is about to hit the house. If you exercise your creativity, I’m sure you’ll be able to come up with many other ideas. It’s not unlike military strategy, and I’m convinced that brilliant tacticians, such as Napoleon or the Duke of Wellington, never had to change a diaper in their life.

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