How to Plan a Wedding A Man's Theory For The Perfect Marriage 10 Sep 2012 share-facebook share-twitter share-pinterest share-whatsapp email An in-law navigation system, a holiday agreement… and 13 other rules for wedding bliss... arrowup cta-arrowdown expand expand expand expand expand expand expand expand expand expand expand expand expand expand share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside An in-law navigation system, silence during Star Wars... and 13 other rules for wedding bliss Words by Brian AlexanderAs featured in the July/August 2012 issue of Brides share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside Decide who's (finance) boss My with and I have never fought over money. But we have spent endless hours in high-level financial consultations, worthy of a major bank merger, over where we could afford a lamp. I considered creating a PowerPoint presentation to better visualize our options. We'd heard so many times that most couples fight over money, we wanted to make sure even the tiniest money decision was mutual. We wound up spending more time talking finances than having sex. Finally, we decided that one of us had to take charge. I offered, she agreed, and now I'm in near-total control of our savings, investments, insurance, planning and bills. She says, 'Can we afford to buy a blender?' and I say yes or no. It's not that I crave the power. I'm just better at it and more interested. This does require a lot trust, but the sex-to-money discussion ratio is much more favourable. share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside An in-law navigation system In-laws can be wonderful. But I don't believe you marry your in-laws along with your spouse. I think you marry each other and from that point onwards you're a team with one goal: surviving family gatherings. And to do that, you need a plan. I, for example, always brief my wire on my mother's habit of making comments like: 'His old girlfriend was very smart.' I explain that my mum doesn't mean it like it sounds, that she makes worse-sounding remarks to her own sons, that she loves my wife, and the fact that she doesn't censor herself means my wife is fully accepted into the family. Which bring me to the second required skill: telling believable lies. You must be able to do this on your spouse's behalf. If your 63-year-old aunt Margaret, the one who's recently adopted the jeggings trend, wants to enlist your writer husband (ahem) for a book idea about how to stay orgasmic after the menopause, you're the one who was to jump in and say, 'He's so busy, I don't get to see him enough as it is.' You've got to have each other's backs. You have to willing to be the bad girl to your relatives. share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside A try-it-one-time rule Trust me, as hard as it is to believe now, sex with the same person gets old. And as it does, taste and erotic fantasies change. So, some day, he may look up from his morning orange juice and declare, 'I would like to be spanked like a naughty schoolboy.' In my theory of perfect marriage, your response would be 'You are a very bad man! I'll have to hike up my dress and put you over my knee! (or something). The rule should be that both partners agree to sincerely and enthusiastically give each other's new ideas and fantasies a go at least once. Then, if either of your hates it, you can cross it off the menu with a clear conscience. share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside Fitness matters Many days, the last thing I want to do is go to the gym. But when I'm tempted to dive onto the sofa and start scanning the take-away menu, I have to remind myself that it's my duty to say healthy, control my weight and be as attractive as possible for my wife. In a real sense, my body belongs to her and hers to me. Of course, bad things happen in life. Good health is temporary - we all age - but there's not need to invite trouble. That's not sexism, its honouring the person you love. I often repeat this mantra to myself when I'm fantasizing about setting fire to the cross-trainer. share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside A separate bedroom When we first married, I thought it would be a crisis if we ever slept apart. Since then, my sleeping wife has punched me in the face, shoved me out of the bed and onto the floor, performed aerobics exercises under the covers and talked loudly, like a drunken physicist lecturing on neutrinos: 'you grrr gaah urble 57 unh!'I've learned that the best aphrodisiac - the best relationship tonic - is sleep. This sounds horrible prosaic and nothing at all like a week in Aruba. But according to my theory of perfect marriage, both partners must be well-rested because lack of sleep makes you cranky, short-tempered and too tired for romance. Have a place where one of you sometimes retreat for a good snooze. share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside A little mystery I also want to have separate bathrooms. I don't have them, but I want them because I don't want to know how my wife gets to be so beautiful. Like a magic show, I want to be amazed, not learn the mechanics of the tricks. And I definitely don't want much detail on her bathroom habits. If I, for example, didn't perform certain grooming tasks, my nose and ears would be thatched like bristles. I don't even like admitting that, so I certainly don't' want my wife to watch me extract them. I want her to think that I'm bristle free at all times. We've nursed each other through flu and gastrointestinal mayhem, so we're not delusion about how horrible we can look. But as much as possible, I want to be able to escape into her beauty. I also don't want a narration of difficulty. Especially if we're out, I don't want to know how she struggled to pick her outfit, or hear her doubts about whether she succeeded. I don't want to hear that her mascara is flaking off into her eyeball, or that her shoes, he ones that make her legs look goddess-like, are hurting so badly they should be banned by the UN. When she gives me a running commentary of any trouble, romance disappears and I can think of nothing else but her throbbing big toe. share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside Plenty of girls stuff Just because I don't want to know about the mechanics of beauty doesn't mean I don't value it. I am now restricted to at tiny piece of wardrobe Siberia because my wife likes shoes. I don't mind - it's a fair trade-off as it means I don't' have to look at her in those damn Ugg boots. I like that she likes sheoes and clothes and make-up. She doesn't go crazy with it - in fact, I think she had more. When you see each other day after day for years on end, you relies that minor costs like wardrobe exile and manageable credit-card charges are worth the lovely scenery and confident attitude. Besides, when she feels pretty, I get benefits. share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside Warm and cool zones I am almost never too hot. My wife is always too hot. She opens windows, I close them. I say, 'Let's turn on the heat,' and she says, 'No, I'm roasting!' I vote for the winter duvet. She vetoes. We've fought over thermostat settings. I admit that changing your biology to match body temperatures could be tricky, but if science ever find a way, do it. Either that, or, in your perfect house, establish climate zones, like they have in luxury cars. share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside The children conversation The one absolute, must-have ingredient for my perfect marriage is a pact about whether or not to have kids. You'd think this would be so basic and obvious, but I've hears couples say, 'We decided to give ourselves time to enjoy being married and then talk about it.' When you are drunk with love, that kind of plan makes sense. But later, if partners don't agree, the strategy turns into marriage-killing resentment. Here's the tricky thing: men may say they're certain -especially about not wanting children - at age 22 or 25, only to think very differently at 30 or 35. share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside A pass on friends I like to surf. My wife does not. When we were first married, I saw this as a bad thing. Now I'm thrilled she doesn't surf because I get to spend a few mornings every month with my surf pals when we do a lot more talking, including griping about our spouses, than surfing. She has a friend with whom she visits farmers' markers. I would rather undergo dental work that spend hours sniffing bunches of leeks or tasting 'artisanal' honey, and she gets to criticize me behind my back, thus diminishing her husband-aggravation level. Besides, her friend makes me crazy. And I have a friend from school whom my wife loathes. We each agree to be pleasant to these people on the rare occasions we have the see them, but we don't subject each other to them if we don't have to. While a few events like dinners or holiday parties do require couple attendance, and having friends in common in certainly good, according to my theory nobody should be forced to suffer. share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside TV law and order If you want to scare yourself, add up how much time you will spend watching TV with your spouse. Ground rules are vital, so negotiate them. I'm lucky; I must be mast of the remote and flip channels constantly. Most women would shoot me after a few days of this, but my wife, who says she's never seen a complete TV programme since marry me, indulges this fetish. share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside Holiday agreement We're fortunate in that my wife and I are easy-going when we travel. A transportation glitch? A foggy itinerary? So what? It's all an adventure. But what if you and your spouse are different? One is casual about planning the other has anxiety attacks if the minutes between 12:12 and 12:45 are blank. If you're married to a naturally incompatible traveler, no matter how much you may love them, you could be miserable if you can't figure you a happy compromise. share-facebook share-twitter share-whatsapp share-pinterest email zoom aside The fight-hug timeout Most men don't argue well with women because, if we love you, we're afraid of you. You have this way of screaming at us that's terrifying. When we hear it we retreat into stone-faced silence. My theory includes this rule: disagree, debate, argue. But you're not allowed to scream, 'I hate your guts!' As soon as one partner is tempted, they must extend their arms to invite a hug. During the embrace, after taking 10 deep breaths, you're allowed to say calmly, 'I hate your guts.' That way, I know you hate my guts now, not forever. I have not succeeded in enforcing this rule. But I keep trying. That is part of my theory too.