Preparing for Married Life

(November 2017)

The old saying goes that men marry women hoping they'll never change, but women marry men hoping that they will. Personally, I'd like any future wives of mine to change themselves, as I'm not into all that adult baby business.

Everyone has their own opinions on what it means to prepare for married life. However, just like Monopoly, there are no hard and fast rules, and with different perspectives come alternative ways of dealing with things. Fathers, Best Men and Grooms will all have a unique view on what marriage means and how one should prepare for it, and even if this advice is a load of old tosh, it could still come in handy when writing a wedding speech.

The Best Man

The Best Man may or may not be married, but he will have observed the Groom going through the process of preparation himself. Perhaps he's become more responsible; maybe he's dressing or acting differently; whatever changes the Groom has made, make sure you note them down and use them to rib him mercilessly:

  1. "A mutual friend who's been away for a while called me up yesterday and said 'Jack, I'm concerned about Liam. He's let himself go, he doesn't come out anymore, and last time I did see him he was going on about life insurance. I think he's preparing to do something stupid.' Little did he know... to the bride and groom!"

  1. "Me and the lads have been preparing Harry for married life in our own special way. Instead of watching the football on Sunday we've been forcing him to go to a garden centre to buy ornaments he doesn't like. When we do go out for a pint, he's only allowed two before we start tutting loudly. And when a girl so much as looks his way one of us clasps his hand, stares her down and shouts 'Back off, he's spoken for'."

  1. "Since I myself have been married for five years, Kyle's been asking me to prepare him for what lies ahead. Mate, it's such a weird mix of emotions, it'd be easier to prepare for the day you win the lottery and contract Ebola having already discovered that your father is a racist superhero."

Father of the Bride

If the Father of the Bride has been married himself, then he should have plenty to draw on when it comes to offering sage advice on preparing for married life. Lessons, moral tales and common mistakes should prove fertile ground for both comedy and genuine pearls of wisdom, as the following lines demonstrate:

  1. "When Cathy and I wed, we realised we must put aside our individual thoughts and instead consider how we could tackle problems as a couple. How can 'we' afford this kitchen? How do 'we' tell Phil and June we can't be bothered to go out tonight. How are 'we' going to eat all that stuff in the fridge before 'we' go on holiday?"

  1. "It's important that you don't see marriage as sealing a deal that lasts forever. Unless you keep working to surprise each other, things can become stale. For example, last month I 'surprised' my wife by giving her her birthday presents three days late. It's the little things that count."

  1. "Everyone assumes that marriage is restrictive. That you'll be chained up away from your mates 24 / 7. That's simply not true. Helen and I both see our friends on our own and as a couple. And also, when I am chained up, I can use our safe word to get out any time I want."

The Groom

The Groom can't offer himself advice on how to prepare for marriage, but he can tell of his own thoughts and feelings, or pass on the advice he's been given by others. A brother of the bride provides an insight into the newlyweds This video may be of a best man speaking, but it demonstrates nicely how insightful jokes generate the biggest laughs:

  1. "I'm not sure Melanie and I need to prepare much for marriage. We've already been together 10 years, lived with each other for eight, we've had two children, and since 2009 we haven't stayed at a party later than half past eight."

  1. "Katie and I prepared for marriage by discussing our expectations as individuals and compromising to form one single vision for the future. Although, I have to say, she has gotten her way on most things. That's why we adopted a dog instead of a monkey and moved to Bridlington instead of Peru."

  1. "I've picked up a few hints from doomsday preppers actually... not that I consider my beautiful lovely wife the equivalent of a force five tornado. But it always pays to prepare for the worst. And if it does go belly up two months in, the 200 tins of corned beef I've stored in my attic-cum- fallout shelter should just about see me through it."