Do you tell each other everything? Wrong, says Kathy Lette, as she gives her (tongue-in-cheek) guide to the secrets essential for cohabitation harmony with your partner…
‘Love prepares you for marriage the way that needlepoint prepares you for round-the-world solo yachting. Nobody ever said marriage was going to be easy. But one thing’s for sure. Honesty is not always the best policy when it comes to your partner. Psychologists encourage couples to tell each other everything…who did they train under, Dr Seuss? I’m not encouraging you to lie – it’s more a case of selective honesty. Here are the 5 things you should always keep from your partner…
1. Shoes…as in cost of. One of the biggest differences between the sexes is that men only need one pair of shoes for the year, and maybe four for their entire life. They don’t understand it’s genetically impossible for a woman to walk past a shoe sale and not buy something irrational and strappy that gladdens the heart. If new shoes aren’t spirited upstairs immediately, your partner will ask how much money you spent – a question to be stepped around as carefully as a dozing anaconda.
2. Scrapes…as in along the side of the car. Every man thinks he’s an excellent driver. When a bloke gets a noteunder his windscreen saying ‘parking fine’, he presumes it’s a complimentary comment on his driving skills. He also secretly thinks every woman is bad behind the wheel. Even if another driver has dented the bumper he will still assume it’s your fault. But if you do scrape the car, just act innocent to avoid your partner exceeding the recommended daily allowance of Smug Gloating.
3. Camping phobia…one of life’s great mysteries is why people are divided into those who like the outdoors and those who like the indoors, and why they invariably end up married to each other. I foolishly confessed to my first husband how much I hated camping and he then spent every holiday trying to convert me. If you’re like me, make up some life-threatening allergies – to flies, flowers, frog spawn. Otherwise, a couple of nights under canvas and you’ll soon discover that your marital union is so solid because you have so much in common…namely mutual contempt and acrimony.
4. Skills…you’d rather not have. My father Mervyn worked in optic fibre. We nicknamed him Optic Merv. He trained his four daughters to fix fuses, mix cement and put up wallpaper. As I don’t fancy spending a life in overalls, my only attempt at DIY resulted in a very embarrassing call to emergency services after I trapped myself in a flat-pack wardrobe I was assembling.
5. Allergy…to his old mate. My husband has a friend who went straight from puberty to adultery. His marriage vows clearly read ‘to love, honour and betray’. Now on his third divorce, he’s taken to dropping round for a nightcap. Being honest about your loathing will only bring out your partner’s loyalty. Much better that you pretend to like his pal a little too much and let the ‘green-eyed monster’ do the rest. Yes, the secret of a happy marriage is to keep most things secret.