blessings that marriage bestows.

Relationships change when you get married. Even if you've been living together for years, even if your partner has actually become your common-law spouse, a ceremony lends a slightly different quality to your togetherness.

My favorite part of this is: I can get away with more. Those little changes, that subtly different quality? I'm making them work for me. Being married has brought out my inherent sneakiness and my inner control freak. It's great.

When you're married, you can pick out your husband's soap. You can pass this off as a wifely thing to do instead of making a big deal about how the soap that he chooses stinks. Ditto cologne — pick him up a bottle of whatever you like. It's easy to sidestep the “you smelled like a girl” issue. You're just being a good wife. Your husband will always smell better than your boyfriend did. You will find yourself standing in the bathroom, sniffing like a DARE dog, every time he takes a shower.

When you're married, you can spend most of the shopping budget on your own favorite foods. You don't have to spend half your money on his minipizzas and hotdogs any longer. You can force him to eat whole-wheat bread and gloat happily about how this month you finally have enough food to last the entire month. When he asks why he doesn't get to pick out the food, tell him it's no longer appropriate for him to eat like a bachelor and after all, we're a family now. What's he going to do, divorce you?

When you're married, you can wake him up fifteen times a night, rolling him back and forth in the bed while sobbing and yelling, just to get him to stop snoring. There is no more silent suffering. There is no chance that he will leap out of bed in the morning and hotfoot it out the door. This man is bound to you by law; if he can't manage his nightly airflow he will just have to buy some of those nasal strips. Unless he wants to find himself paying $8 million every month in alimony, of course. (Of course!)

When you're married, you can always convince him to go along with whatever crazy new daily schedule or life-planning scheme you've come up with by wailing, “But I'm doing this for us!” He can no longer give you that “bitch crazy” look and avoid you for a few days. What's more, the inherent pathos in all of your valiant efforts to improve life for the two of you will probably net you lots of bedtime cuddles, which may lead to The Sex. Everybody wins with this one.

Oh, my friends. It took a little while, but I think I am finally getting the hang of getting married. I still don't know whether a girl's supposed to remove her engagement ring after the first year of marriage, though. Do you guys have the answer?


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