The Joint Household
Advice for Newlyweds
by Allen Delaney
After the ring is bought, after she said Yes and after her two children finally decided not to string you up by your intestines for taking away their mother after all that comes the most difficult part of a pending marriage between two middle-age adults: furniture consolidation. It’s worse still when the groom-to-be is moving into the home of his bride-to-be. Combining furniture from two homes is a daunting task, especially when your betrothed is convinced that you obtained your decor from a college fraternity yard sale.
If this transition can be accomplished without severe arguments and near-fatal foot stomping, then the marriage should be long and joyful. The odds of this are about as long as your future wife’s allowing you to hang your Three Stooges poster over the living room mantle.
Unlike the lucky young couple from Solomons Island who last year won an all expense paid wedding courtesy of The Today Show, my fiancée and I have a little more than three beanbag chairs and a bed between us. With marriage pending, my bride-to-be and I did a walk-through of my house. I pointed to certain chairs, a bureau, a couch and a desk that I would like to remain in my possession after the wedding.
Over the years, I have attached sentimental value to these pieces. It was on the couch that my dog had her puppies along with a lot of other accidents. The scar on my chin matches the corner of the bureau from the time I slipped on the rug. These items aren’t just random furnishings; they’ve become part of me, literally. For each item she viewed, I would hear a serious Hmmmm. I could almost read her thoughts: Well, I guess he could use that in the shed; That would work in the garage; and Over my dead body.
According to her, my furniture doesn’t match her “motif,” which she classifies as “not ugly.” Her décor is light with pastel colors, whereas mine is purposely on the dark side to hide the stains. I explained that I would need my manly, dark furniture so the guys will feel relaxed when they come over to watch the Redskins. In retrospect, I should have made that point after the wedding.
“Your friends are not messing up my furniture. I’ve seen them eat!” she said.
Which, in my view, was all the more reason to keep my couch. Her solution was to chain-saw the couch and use it as fuel for the wood stove, then send me to my friends’ homes to drip fat-laden snacks on their furniture.
After much discussion a.k.a. yelling and pounding on the table (my table of course. Heaven forbid I abuse her table) we came to a reasonable concession. Some of my furniture, specifically the pieces that haven’t lost more than 50 percent of their stuffing, can go in the game room. My buddies can come over and be as messy as they want as we cheer for our favorite teams. When the room is not in use, the door must remain closed in case the cushions take on a life of their own and seek revenge.
The furniture to be outsourced will be divided between her offspring. When I offered what won’t be making the transition, my future step-kids looked at me as if I were trying to hand them plutonium. My fiancée smiled slightly and mumbled something about not having to buy wood for the winter.
Communication, along with give and take from both sides, is what makes a marriage work. In fact, my future bride even agreed to let me hang my Three Stooges poster. It will add a very nice touch to the shed.
Newlywed Allen Delaney’s comic reflections have tickled Bay Weekly readers since the turn of the millennium. You last laughed at Keep Your Shirt On (Vol. xiv, No 18: May 4).