It’s February, which is Black History Month. And since that doesn’t exactly lend itself to selling you things, it’s also the home of Valentine’s Day.
I’m so white, I took African-American literature in college and got an A, so I really don’t have a voice for the Black History portion of February. However, I am married and have been for several years (to the same broad), so I might have a thing or two to offer about everyone’s favorite greeting-card-enforced holiday.
Now, there are three groups of people celebrating Valentine’s Day: young couples who all the advertising is for, long-term couples who have Valentine’s Day down to a high five and chocolate, and single ladies who watch Netflix alone and cry while eating ice cream with a fist in the air for how strong they are and how they don’t need no man. I fall into the middle category, mainly because any time my wife makes plans in the evenings, I rapidly descend into the final category.
Since this is a Top 12 list, I might just have space to share some advice to explain how we’ve kept it together and real for those of you looking to roll this Valentine’s Day into a successful franchise.
My wife and I have been together for over a decade, and people regularly comment on what a great couple we seem to be together. They then ask how we do it. It’s not one thing, but since this is a Top 12 list, I might just have space to share some advice to explain how we’ve kept it together and real for those of you looking to roll this Valentine’s Day into a successful franchise.
(P.S.: These are things that have worked for us, but I’d love to hear in the comments section about your little secrets to making it last.)
AQUARIUS (Jan. 21-Feb. 19): Be Nerds Together — Geek culture is in a golden age right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to share an interest in comics, anime, sci-fi, board games, or the like. It could be sports or cooking or landscaping, for Christ’s sake; anything you can talk about that isn’t your work lives or kids or family. Just this one thing you can share inside jokes and trivia about. Find something that turns you on when she makes a bad pun or obscure reference to it.
PISCES (Feb. 20-Mar. 20): Live in Sin — If you decide you’re going to spend the rest of your life with a person, I’d suggest starting out as roommates. It’s similar to a marriage, except you won’t lose half your stuff if you break up. It also gives you a chance to see if there is any weird behavior you just know you’ll never be able to get over.
ARIES (Mar. 21-Apr. 20): Separate Bathrooms — This is bigger than you think. Not only does it allow you privacy for hygiene, but it helps avoid fights over time spent and colliding poop schedules. It also gives you a convenient quiet place to retreat to if you think you’re about to say something irrevocable. Think of the extra money you’re spending as an investment in your future.
TAURUS (Apr. 21-May 21): Separate Bank Accounts — This is a natural extension of the living-like-roommates thing. Unless one of you is admittedly irresponsible with money, keep your finances separate but figure out for what and how much you’re each going to pay. Then stay the hell out of each other’s financial business. Most marriages end over financial problems; this way, you both stay active enough to feel like it’s a team effort instead of one person playing banker.
I beg my wife to be honest about the kinkiest thing she wants me to do, simply because I think I’d be downright proud of her if she could offend me with a request.
GEMINI (May 22-June 21): Be Honest in the Bedroom — You want to get spanked, pegged, rode like a horse, glass-bottom boated, rusty tromboned, hot lunched, hot Carl’d, Italian chandeliered? Let the other person know, and as long as it’s legal, be honest. I promise you, she’ll be fine with it. There are going to be some lines the other half won’t want to cross, and you need to respect that, but you never know. I beg my wife to be honest about the kinkiest thing she wants me to do, simply because I think I’d be downright proud of her if she could offend me with a request.
CANCER (June 22-July 22): Don’t Yell — At least, not for long. If you work as a dish washer, you are going to break some plates. If you spend all your time with one person, you’re going to get pissed off at each other. You don’t have to yell about it. Yelling makes each of you defensive and louder. That’s how dishes get broken. Go for a drive, or a walk, or just take a long dump with the door locked. A little quiet time makes it easier to apologize.
LEO (July 23-Aug. 21): Apologize — You know when you cross the line. Also important: Mean it when you apologize. Your pride is stupid. Stupid is how you kill a good relationship.
VIRGO (Aug. 22-Sept. 23): The Cook Doesn’t Do the Dishes — I break this rule a little when I cook, because I spent some time in college in kitchens and can’t help but do a running clean-up while I cook. But if your significant other cooks, you clean up. It creates a division of labor that prevents one half of your partnership from feeling like a food slave. It also provides a little time to chat with one person pinned to the sink.
LIBRA (Sept. 24-Oct. 23): Talk — Like, actual conversations about things you both like. That’s what friends do. You should be enjoying each other’s company, and talking helps that. In fact, looking into a total stranger’s eyes for four minutes and then asking each other these 36 questions is enough for you to fall in love. Seriously, several couples from this experiment who’d never met before the day they participated in it got married within a year of the study. Start with these questions if you can’t think of anything.
SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 22): Don’t Call Her Your Friend — My wife is not my best friend. She’s my wife. I’m her husband. It’s a relationship beyond and above best-friend level. I would have trouble drawing my best friend naked. I can draw my wife naked with just my tongue. It’s special.
SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23-Dec. 22): Be Jealous — Jealous people covet. Covet the living hell out of your partner. I’m not suggesting you go around starting fights with people for looking at her (if anything, take it as a compliment), but a touch of healthy possessiveness makes you pay attention to her.
CAPRICORN (Dec. 23-Jan. 20): Pay Attention to Her — Humans are terrible at hiding their emotions, which is handy when you may be about to do something stupid. For instance, when she answers a question with “Fine,” things are not fine. You know they are not fine. Don’t pretend like they’re fine just because that’s easy.