Monday, April 29, 2013

Everything a non-sports person needs to know about Jason Collins

Jason Collins came out this week.  If you have no idea who he is, you can click here  which actually won't tell you who he is, just that he is gay, but that's fine.  If you are like me, just having a gay NBA player is really all I need to know, seeing as I don't watch basketball ever anyway.

Here is a picture of him looking very un-stereotypically gay.


Here is a picture of him looking not only ungay, but also unattractive. 
(Am I allowed to say that?) Note- the white presumably straight guy is not afraid to touch the gay guy.  Let's hope that continues.


He he is once again looking un-gay but looking more attractive.
(To balance out second picture)

Here's why it's cool:

1. He's big and kinda scary looking and tough.  He's sort of the poster child for anti-sissified gay men. But that's not the coolest part.  It's cool if you look stereotypical or if you don't look stereotypical in my book, but a lot of people seem to need people to break down their preconceived notions and stereotypes.

2.  He's probably not an idiot, therefore he trusts his fellow NBA players as well as the fans to not freak out.  That means times have changed in a big way.  

3. Sports Illustrated ran the story, not The Advocate.  That means SI trusted its readers not to cancel subscriptions.   Again, the world is changing, and we are witnessing it. 

 I was always jealous that I wasn't there for all the monumental change of my mother's generation, but here I am watching the world change, one brave person at a time.  And if it is OK for a big tough basketball player to be gay, one would think pretty soon accountants and secretaries and plumbers can be gay at work too.

Swear Words

Dirty words.Bad words.4-letter words. 

I just read a thread or blog or whatever about swearing around your children, which you can read here  if you are so inclined.  If you want to skip the article and have me get to the point, click HERE. Actually, there's no second link. Sorry, I made the text blue just to mess with you - just keep reading.   

The Point = the author states that swearing in front of children is a complex issue.  Really?

I didn't think there were masses of parents promoting teaching your children to swear.  It's like writing about the "complex issue" of poking your kids with sticks because they irritate you.  We might do it, but we know it is wrong. 

Mama:  Hey, kids! Come learn some new words for the next time you are hit in the head with a football!

Kids: We already know asshole, douche canoe and mother-fucker from you. What new words do you have for us?

Mama: I was going to suggest "jeepers."

I swear a lot.  I try not to swear in front of the kids. I wish I swore less in polite company, like at work.  I blame my mother for this.  My mother let us swear as children, and by that I mean the traditional four-letter words everyone knew were swear words.  She thought if she didn't make a big deal of it, it would lose all shock value.  She was wrong - it made it so swearing became part of my general lexicon.  I wish I swore less, or at least could control when it slips out. My mother, incidentally, rarely swears.  She believes that over-using a word detracts from its shock-value.  When my mom drops a swear word, everyone pays attention.

Even though I am a chronic swearer, I do not think it is appropriate to do in front of children.  Do I actually swear in front of the children? Yes, yes I do.  I swear while talking to grownups when I think the kids can't hear me.  I occasionally swear when someone on the expressway tries to kill us with aggressive lane changes.  I try very hard not to habitually swear in front of them.  I think it is bad parental behavior, but not akin to beating them or riding around with the baby on the hood of your car. 

Perhaps the issue isn't dropping the F-bomb at play group, but in regard to the gray-area swear words. You know, the words some people think are swear words but you don't.  

For example, one point that Daddy and I differ on is the word hate.  I think you can hate things.  I hate a lot of things.  I'm not going to water down emotion  and not give my kids the vocabulary to express large emotions.  I hate injustice.  I hate bullying. I hate running out of ice cream.  We don't hate people in the house, but we do hate when it rains on Saturday.  Daddy hates nothing, ever.  Daddy has no emotion. (That's a joke, the last sentence.  He has emotion, even strong emotion, he just doesn't express it in  front of the children using the "H" word.)

I suppose if I were a more creative parent, I would teach them to abhor or detest  things instead of hating them. 

I also don't tolerate put-downs in my house, or in my hearing. I do understand that children need to vent and rant as much as grown-ups do, and they might really need to express their intense dislike for a person, but they can do it without hiding behind the knee-jerk reaction of attacking someone based on things they can't control - weight, ethnicity, religion, sexuality - and instead attack them for being an asshole.  Wait, I'm not supposed to say asshole in front of the children.  Change that to being a piece of snot. Snot is ok, right? No - I am supposed to teach them, as my mom did me, that the other person wouldn't be such an asshole if they were happy all the time.  I'm not to teach them various names for bodily fluids as descriptions of people. 

However, my children are young. As they get older, they will swear more as they are exposed both to harsher language and also to the hardship of life.  Life sucks sometimes, sometimes a potty-mouth helps.  Sometimes you need a forbidden word to express an emotion that feels larger than you.

Uh-oh.  Maybe swearing is a complex issue, and my kids aren't old enough for me to know that.  Maybe I need to get off my high horse.

I can see how being a superior swearer could aid my children socially at a certain age. I also think allowing kids to express negative feelings can be as important as positive emotions. But, and I think this is the important part, I think it is equally important to teach them where and when such words are appropriate, and to save them for special occasions.  

Most of the time, swearing is lazy. It's an easy reflex. Really, swearing is all about creativity, or the lack there of.    Will I freak out if my kids swear?  No.  I'll just make them take a thesaurus and sit in a corner and expand their vocabulary.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Conversations in the car with Tiny Pants

The discussions spurred from asking Tiny Pants how his day was were too good to share.

Mama: What did you do today? 

Tiny:  We had a goat at school today. (This is most likely true - Yoda the goat makes sporadic appearances through out the year.)  

Mama: Was it Yoda?

Tiny: Yes and we dyed him green.  (This is unlikely to be true, for the record.)

Mama: How did you do that?

Tiny:  We put him in a kiddie pool filled with green dye and dyed him green.  He liked it.
 (If, for some strange reason, they did dye him green, I highly doubt he liked it.)

Tiny: And do you know what rule my friend Matthew* has in his car?

Mama:  What?

Tiny: No eating in the car.  Ever.

Mama makes note to self, do not schedule play date with Matthew. His mother will never understand the chaotic beauty of our house.

Tiny: Do you know what we did at Daddy's?

Mama: What?

Tiny: Went on a play date.

Mama: Was it fun?


Mama wonders what odd variety of people Daddy is exposing them to.  Probably aliens

* Names have been changed.

Monday, April 22, 2013

My Rant in Defense of Charter Schools

Seven and half years ago I brought forth a tiny baby with blue eyes and brown hair.  They held him up and that little face looked at me with what could only be described as a "What the heck did I do to deserve this?" look.  He was wet. He was cold. He thought all of this getting born stuff sucked, but he didn't howl like some babies.  He cried soft little cries that broke my heart.

Of course I fed him and wrapped him up and cuddled him and loved him like all good Mamas do. I loved him so much I thought I would burst.  His hair turned blond and he grew and walked and I taught him to "speak" with baby signs. I held him while he slept for almost every single nap he ever took, not only because I was enraptured, but also because that little beastie would wake up as soon as he was set down.  

My boy was sweet and gentle and kind.  All he wanted to do was play with toys and snuggle with Mama. I had a second boy when the big one was two and half years old, and that first child would sing lullabies to his brother when he cried.  He was the Sweetest Boy Ever.

Of course he was also adorable and far handsomer than any other child in the world, and smart and strong, but all mothers think that.  If I said that here you would not believe me.

He was not perfect.  He didn't sleep unless the planets were alligned. He was slightly speech delayed, and when he did speak, no one could understand him,  but he was the embodiment of sweetness.

He got older and the time for kindergarten was approaching.  Because his birthday is in the end of September, we could have sent him when he was turning five or when he was turning six. Daddy wanted to wait a year, but I knew I would not survive another year home with him.  He was sweet, but he was demanding and constantly on the go.  I had wanted to homeschool, but knew I didn't have it in me. 

Because we are divorced, we had two school districts to choose from.  I remembered my own history with schools: constant boredom interrupted by bullying.  I did not enjoy childhood.   Although a friend told me I was pushing my own issues on my child, my biggest concern on choosing a school for my eldest was bullying.  I would do anything to keep my son from going through what I went through.

Lest you think I was over reacting, the larger community in which I live has had five bullying related suicides and a school shooting in the past few years.  At four years old my son was called a "pussy" on the playground by another kid. The world does not reward gentle boys, and I did not want the sweetness beat out of my son.

Growing up, kids tried to beat the sweetness out of my brother.  My mother got creative and enrolled him in the School of the Arts, which I believe to this day saved his life.  He might not have blossomed in the ways my mother intended (the mohawk was probably not part of her vision) but he found a place where he fit and where he could develop into the weirdly cool person nature intended him to be without being beaten down for it.

I heard about a charter school for gifted children with free tuition, small class sizes, individualized curriculum and uniforms. I didn't particularly care if I was raising a boy-genius, but I knew from my own childhood experiences that smart kids were generally gentler, and the teasing I received was generally not from the kids in my advanced classes.

I had no idea if my son was smart enough to attend, but I wanted to try.  He was reading some, but not dramatically more than other children at his school.  He didn't have a particular academic area where he was head and shoulders above other kids his age.  Still, he had this near-photographic memory.  At two and a half years old, he could give you driving directions to his school.  At three he could use "metamorphosis" in a sentence. So proud of that…guess where he learned it? Mama? Nope. Television. Go PBS Kids!  It was like anything he was exposed to he absorbed into his lexicon.  But don't all kids do that?

My ex was against the school, so I paid for the testing myself and we decided to fight it out when and if he got accepted.  $160 might not seem like a lot to you, but I had eschewed a "real" job to be able to stay home with my boys on the days they were at my house.  I worked two part time jobs, both of them chosen for flexibility over income.  $160 was a lot of money to me, but if it would give my boy a chance I would come up with it, and I did.  

The school had a strict admittance requirement: a certain IQ score or above, no ifs, ands, or buts.  They did not care if you had three siblings already enrolled there, if you did not score at or above their marker, you did not get in.  I worried about pushing my kid too hard, and decided if he was within five points of their required number I would not send him. He had to be dramatically smart, not just kind-of smart.

Yes, he got in, and scored so well that Daddy stopped complaining.  I made some calls and ascertained that neither public school district he could attend offered a gifted program until he was in third grade.  We bought little size five uniforms and sent him to the charter school.

He blossomed.  He is appropriately challenged and never bored in school.  He has many friends and gets along with pretty much everyone.  The school is old and small and doesn't have things like daily hot lunch.  It's not shiny and pretty, and they don't have a grass field for gym class-- just a parking lot-- but the boys (mine included) play football in it everyday  at recess, just like little boys everywhere.

Yesterday I filled out a survey about the school, and asked my son what the best thing was about his school.  "Zero bullying," he replied.  I wrote it down, along with what impressed me the most: with over 200 students, not one locker has a lock on it.  Students don't steal from each other.

Now, I know that every child at his school does not have the same experience.  I know of several kids who have been bullied there.  But the prevalent culture does not look up to bullies, and they are exception, not the rule.  Best yet, my sweet, kind boy has a place in the world where he is okay being himself.  

Do charter schools steal good kids, good parents and good money from public schools?  Apparently.  But my child isn't going to suffer while the system is fixed.  As a parent, I will do everything I can to help my child succeed and help my child be okay with who they are.  My child is not a tool for social action.  He is just a kid, and I don't feel bad for going outside of the system to meet his needs.  If that makes me part of the problem of public school, so be it.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Morning Hair - YAY!

Good Morning!  
This hair was too fabulous to keep to myself. 

I even took down the calendar on the wall in order to provide you with a neutral backdrop so you could truly appreciate the glory of my hair this morning.  You're welcome.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I meant to be a better Mommy.

My mother used to have a house rule that we couldn't talk to her before she poured her second cup of coffee.  I thought she was mean. Now I know that she was brilliant.

Tiny Pants has learned the joy of picking out his own clothes.  This is good, because:

1.  It means less work for me, and I believe we have already established that I am lazy.

2.  I read somewhere once that giving kids control over things that you don't care that much about gives a sense of competence and power and keeps them from having battle of wills tantrum type melt downs.

3. He tends to wear his whackiest outfits to Daddy's house, which I secretly know makes Daddy crazy, or at least I hope it does.  (I am SUCH a grownup, I know.)

But, this morning I had to accompany him to his room (too dark and scary or lonely or something) and wait patiently while he reviewed his options and tried several things on.  Thirty minutes, worth, before coffee.

I snapped and told him to hurry it up, which of course made that sweet little bottom lip go a-trembly and howls erupt, and I felt terrible.  How often had I mulled for longer than 3o minutes over the perfect outfit?  Was it worth yelling at him about? What else did I have to do today anyway?  Oh yeah, I have to drink coffee.

I scooped him up and hugged his tears away and told him to take his time. Luckily, the dog came and found us and whined to go out, allowing me to blame the dog  for my own impatience.  

I do have to say that after years of begging him to wear any clothes -- at least underpants -- that I should be happy he finally wants to wear anything at all.  

I did all I could do. I went into the kitchen and ate 3 cookies and one Dove chocolate square, the kind with the uplifting saying inside the label.  It said "Enjoy Today" or some such bullshittery.  I threw it in the garbage and would have yelled "F - YOU DOVE CHOCOLATES AND YOUR UPLIFTING PLATITUDES!" except the kids were in the next room.  Sigh.  All chocolates should say, "life is hard, you deserve all the chocolate you need, hunny, and don't worry about your weight, you are perfect the way you are and besides Marilyn Monroe was 155 pounds."  Wait, I think they'd need a bigger wrapper for that.

I rescued the wrapper from the trash just for this photo op.

Friday, April 19, 2013

I have a PMS and I am a joy to everyone I encounter!

I used to have PMS and would get easily saddened by life. I was emotional and overwhelmed and often couldn't get out of bed.  Then I realized that I was turning all of that angst inside, and I really needed to place all that emotion where it belonged; on everyone else I came in contact with.

Here are some reasons why:

I am too hot and my boobs hurt.

I look fat in everything I own, I also look fat in everything in the stores and everything in existence.

The dog, cat, and children are underfoot.

The cat is purposefully trying to kill me by tripping me, rubbing fur on my nose when I sleep, and shooting death rays from his eyes. 

I trip over toys.

I open a cabinet and toys fall on my feet, requiring me to bend over and pick them up. Bending over reminds me that my boobs hurt and my stomach is too fat.

For some reason I am really clumsy and spill things which makes me madder, which makes me spill things more.

The dog smells bad and won't quit following me.

I am growing a new pimple or 12.

My coffee is too hot or too cold.

The children want to be fed AGAIN.

Because the cat food is located below the coffee pot, every time I go to get coffee the cat attacks me.

NO ONE HAS DELIVERED CHOCOLATE TO MY HOUSE, and if they did. I couldn't eat it because I AM TOO FAT.

Did I mention I am convinced that my eyelids are starting to droop, which will make me feel tired for the rest of my life, reduce my peripheral vision and make me look old?

The dog is making wet mouth noises.

No one gave me a puppy today.

I could go on and on for ages, but I think you get the picture.

I think perhaps PMS is designed to make you happy when you get your period, or, perhaps, it is just to keep men in check.  And if a man, ever, ever suggests that my mood might be due to PMS he better run fast and far and not come back unless he is carrying chocolate covered orgasms. Or puppies. But not chocolate covered puppies. 

No, there is no accompanying graphic to amuse you. It's all about you, isn't it? Did you not read my blog today? Then why are you bothering me?

Monday, April 15, 2013

My Hoarder Children

My children are hoarders. Here's a sampling of things they collect and refuse to throw away:

pistachio shells
receipts from the grocery store
broken toys
empty spools from thread
dried out play doh
clothes that are too small for them and yet too big for stuffed animals

My plan is always to wait until they are at Daddy's house then ditch their crap but I always forget.  When they catch me trying to toss stuff out I cave to their tears and let them pull whatever sacred item it is out of the trash.  I suck at being the tough guy with things that really aren't threatening to a person, a piece of furniture or window. (After Big Pants broke the picture window with his bottom a few years back, I learned to yell quite loudly in defense of inanimate objects I don't want to replace.)

A friend came over and after looking at my house they suggested instead of cleaning it my best course of action would be to move away and start over with a clean slate.  This seems brilliant.  My new plan is to pack up their things so that things can be strategically "lost" by movers.  When we get to the as-yet-unpurchased home they can play in the empty boxes, which is actually all they really need.

Wait, I was supposed to put the toys in the box....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Law of Natural Consequences

My oldest child is a dream today.  He has taken his little brother to the bathroom, offered to make me coffee, offered to fold laundry, and made his own breakfast.  No, it's not Mother's Day, that little bugger wants something and we both know what it is - the most wonderful, perfect glass and liquid construction called a Hand Boiler.  Oh My God, he just refilled his own cup of milk.

Looks awesome, doesn't it? Don't tell him it only costs $5.99 please, you'll spoil my fun.

Yesterday I was in the kitchen, doing something productive and motherly, and crash!  Of course I went running into the living room to find a pile of broken glass where the hand boiler had been.  The one he got for Christmas and we kept way up high to keep it from breaking.  

Big Pants:  I broke a rule.
Holds out small soft baseball, bursts into tears, burrows into couch.

Punished by God, not Mama! Or, if you don't believe in God, punished by Santa, the giver of the gift. Or Mother Nature, creator of the Law of Natural Consequences.

I let that boy cry and whine and pout for hours. I said, "Too bad, so sad. Next time listen to Mama.  I make rules for a reason."  Surprisingly, he did not find this comforting.

At bedtime the tears were renewed once again, but this time he asked if he could do extra work to earn a replacement.  I hemmed and hawed and finally agreed that was possible, and conceded I knew where to buy one. (In reality, I do all of Santa's shopping around here. Don't tell the kids.)

I would have to say that this Law of Natural Consequences is working out pretty well today. I have a super helpful beautiful boy, and I didn't have to yell once.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Winning is Way Better Than Losing

Winning is way better than losing, although you aren't supposed to say that. You're supposed to believe that, "it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game," or so I was told all through childhood.  Bullshit.  Winning is way better than losing and it does matter.

I got to watch my oldest win his first trophy today and I wept, because I am a big wuss. I was so proud of him.  Would I have been just as proud if he lost? Honestly, no.  

Here's why:  He entered a competition for something he wasn't particularly good at, and for the first time in three years he worked really hard at it.  He spent hours working on his project on his own.  We went over the grading criteria and looked at areas he could put extra effort in to make up for his lack of skill in other areas.  I knew he didn't have as much creativity or skill as some of his competitors, but he really tried.  He went out of his way to help a teammate who was struggling and worked diligently without getting visibly frustrated for over an hour and a half and did I mention he is only seven? 

When the judging was over,  everyone wanted or had to leave before the awards were announced, but my kid refused.  He believed in his team.  He wouldn't budge, even when I was pretty sure someone else was going to win.  He had faith that even if they didn't win, they would be contenders. 

They called his team name out for third place in his division and he was the only one there to accept the trophy.  My shy kid who hates crowds and chaos pushed through a crowd of big kids on his own and walked on stage to accept on behalf of his team. 

He had done it.  His team really had done it, but he was a part of that team and done his fair share to earn it.  He played to his strengths - effort, teamwork, and telling me, "Please don't talk to the judges, Mama!" as I have had a tendency to talk too much and may have gotten told to be quiet and sit down in the past.  OK, every time we competed previously the judges sent me to the penalty box.   So maybe I get some points for keeping my big mouth shut. (If you had any idea how hard that is for me, you'd give me a freaking medal.) 

Tiny Pants also contributed, by staying quiet and sitting on a chair for nearly three hours without complaining.  He only cracked a little when his brother got a medal and he didn't. I was amazed at how non-demanding he was.

They came in third, not first, but it was the best we have ever done. They and got medals and a team trophy. I don't think I could have been prouder if he had won 1st place.  Did I mention I cried? Yes, I think I did. 

We don't get to keep the trophy- it goes to the school - and even though it will never have the names of our team members etched in it, I'm still proud of something unexpected.  I feel like we gave honor to our school by winning, and we added to the prestige of the institution.  OK, that sounds so grandiose I want to puke writing it, but it's true.  I feel like our little trophy helped, even though it will be dwarfed by Best-in-Show trophies, and First Place trophies and People's Choice trophies won by other students.  We did our best, we got rewarded, and added to the trophy case.  

Next year will I care if he wins? Probably not.  I realize that there are a lot of factors that go into winning a judged event, and sometimes you lose for reasons totally out of your control. But I was surprised at how good it felt to win.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On Humor

I'm funny, I think, but I didn't know I was funny  for years.  In fact, no one knew I was funny, because my brother had the corner on Funny in our family.  In my nuclear family, my brother was the family clown and I was the hero child.  We had our roles and made sure not to step on each other's toes. He agreed never to succeed in high school and I agreed to not be funny. (Ok, that part's not true, but it will make my mom laugh.)

It's not that I  didn't want to be funny, it's just that it was impossible to out-funny my brother.  Not only could he think faster than me on his feet, but he could raise one eyebrow, allowing him to silently poke fun at people.  I spent hours holding down one brow and trying to raise the other to no avail.

If you think perhaps I am am overstating the case of my brother's supreme funniness and how I languished in his shadow, I have proof.  When my mother, my MOTHER -- my supreme cheerleader and the person who thinks I am tops above all others-- read my blog for the first time she told me, "I love it! I had no idea you could be funny!" to which I replied, "I said on Facebook that you thought I was smart and funny! How did you not know I was funny?"  To which she hemmed and hawed and I think tried to cover up the fact that although she may have said I was funny before, she didn't really believe it until now.

Funny people are cool. Funny people get invited to parties and things because they are, well, funny. I am hoping that telling you that I am funny will get me invited to more parties, but what will probably happen is that you will see from this blog that my brother is funnier and just bypass me and invite him instead, because as I said, in his wake I am really not very funny at all.  

There are several types of humor:

1. Mean. My brother is never this type of funny.  I am only occasionally this type of funny, but then I feel horribly guilty about it.  This is the easiest kind of funny.

2. Joke telling. This is my father's speciality, but if you are going this route, you really have to know your audience.  The wrong type of joke told to the wrong person makes you smarmy. 

3. Whacky. This is probably what my brother does far better than I; the willingness to be funny even if it makes you look weird, or unmanly, or a lot bit strange. This always works, except if you are hanging out with a bunch of  conservative people who worry a lot about public appearances, but then again, why are you hanging out with a bunch of stiffs if you could be hanging out with funny people?

4. Snappy Comebacks. If you can master this, you can avoid bullies forever.  The snappy comeback is the bread and butter of childhood.  I suck at it.

OK, so in review, I am occasionally mean-funny, I know a few jokes, I'm somewhat willing to be whacky, and I suck at snappy comebacks.  Now I'm not sure I am funny after all. 

But, and this is a big but, my kids are hysterical.  The boys fill my life and blog with funny little one-liners that increase my funnitude by eight thousand percent.  

Here's an example from each:

Tiny Pants (age 2) walks by the bathroom, pushes open door, looks at my mother, fresh from the shower. "Nana, I like your nipples!"
Nana replies, "Well, at least I've still got it for the toddler crowd."

Mama: Kitty, if you don't stop meowing I am going to put you in the oven!
Big Pants (Age 2): Mama, don't put Kitty in the oven. Kitty will cough.

See? If you read my blog with any regularity you can probably tell when they kids are home and when they are not based on the quality of my humor. When they move out, I'll probably have to cover board meetings or something and give up on writing anything entertaining at all.  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Marriage Reformation Act

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know I'm not the biggest fan of marriage.  I am actually not a huge fan of divorce either, but I figure no one is really "rah, rah, divorce is awesome!" so that goes without saying.  Still, I have a few idea that I think might improve marriage, and I don't mean relationship advice, but rather changing the bones of the institution.
There are two parts to my Marriage Reformation Act - Parts A and B (yes, I did steal the catchy Part A and B name from Medicare):

A. Marriage should be a  five or ten year renewable contract with set terms, not a "for life." 
Here's why:

1.  To a young person (I got married the first time at twenty, which I think qualifies as young) the concept of  ten years is practically like life anyway. It's a really long time. It's really hard to wrap your brain around the idea of something that goes on that long. It's like saying, "On my God, I was at the dentist's office forever!"  Australia was contemplating changing it to a five year renewable contract, and that seems like a really good idea to me.

 To those of you married for more than ten years, you may think ten years is nothing, but if I look back at who my best friends were ten years ago and look at how much we are involved with each other now, it is a radically different group of people. My interests have changed as well.  

2.  You would not be able to get out sooner, so there might be less divorce.  If at year three or year eight the shit hit the fan, you would be stuck legally entangled with that person until the set time was over.

3. If you realize that your significant other is not stuck with you for life you might not let yourself go.  You might go to the gym, shower more frequently, and use words like please and thank you if your mate could ditch you easily. I am betting the phrase, "I don't have to do that now that we are married," would never be uttered.

4.  Last but not least, If you knew a couple was setting up a life together for just five or ten years, you would feel less obligated to buy them a big flashy wedding present. (on the other hand, renewals of vows might necessitate several presents over the years, so this might not be the win it appears.)

B. I don't think you really know someone until you divorce them. Therefore, you should negotiate terms of any potential divorce before marriage. Now, I was against prenups back in the day. I didn't want to go into something with a backup plan if it failed.  But if you know the love of your life is planning on screwing you over if you leave, you are better off knowing before you say "I do."  I think divorce and custody would be a lot more equitable if you agreed on the terms while you still care for each other.  What is right and fair is quite different from punitive damages.  I'd like to think if you love someone, no matter what you don't want punitive damages, though the divorce industry proves me wrong on this.

In sum, if you knew you could get out, and exactly what getting out meant, people might take relationships a little more seriously, and take each other less for granted.