I love being married. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. But I would never insult you by droning on for 2,000 schmaltzy words about new levels of real emotional intimacy and being part of something greater than yourself or anything like that even though all that shit’s true.

That’s not what you came here for. Ostensibly, you came here for amusement and/or to laugh. So, instead of reheating every crappy relationship article you’ve ever read and nauseating you with esoteric personal details about my life with Lady E, I’m going to share with you 5 Surprising Ways Marriage Improves Your Life. If you’re like 99% of guys everywhere, these are actual real things that happen after the big “I do.” And they shocked the hell out of me.

So here we go…

1. There’s always more food in the house.

After you move out of your parents’ house, and then after that requisite first year in the dorms (which CSU requires), you live in your own place for the first time ever. And it takes awhile to learn how to shop properly. Limon and I siphoned our bank accounts quickly those first couple months of sophomore year picking up Taco Bell and ordering calzones and shit all the time until we learned to buy Hot Pockets, Little Juan burritos, and Tombstone Pizzas in bulk. And then we’d run the supplies down until there wasn’t but 6 Ritz crackers, some hot dog buns, and half a jug of salsa left in the whole house by the time we made it back to the store. I repeated this general pattern for the next 6 years.

I remember when I lived by myself for that year after college, making real money and everything, and I was still dumb enough to live this way. I remember one Sunday night I was hanging out with Lady E and her friend from out of town. I actually left whatever we were doing early so I could go home and cook a big batch of jambalaya and turkey kielbasa so I’d have something to eat for lunch at work for the next week. Why this was preferable to just going to the store still escapes me, but that’s just how things were done.

Fast forward two years later and Lady E and I are married. She’ll go into our pantry and proclaim, “We don’t’ have anything to eat.” This blows my mind because by my calculations, there’s roughly 2.5 weeks worth of food left. Then I realize we’re actual adults and don’t have to live like peasants anymore. Now we almost always have two fridges full of food, can adjust on the fly and make something really cool when we want to (green chili wontons!), have an actual spice rack (I didn’t even keep salt in the house when I lived alone except for whatever comes in takeout boxes), and behave like functioning adults. It’s food paradise!

2. Dishwasher capacity is maximized.

I used to think I was good at loading the dishwasher. I was not. I was just playing AA ball. Living with a girl means moving up to the majors because when you were by yourself it was probably all just pint glasses and plates. Now there’s coffee mugs, Tupperware containers, crazy utensils, food preparation apparati and a shitload of oddly shaped bowls you got as gifts for your wedding. Fitting it all into you’re your increasingly small looking dishwasher is like trying to re-pack a suitcase after you’ve bought presents for all your relatives on an exotic vacation.

I’ll think it’s all loaded and will resign myself to leaving a handful of cups and Gladware in the sink for the next round of dishwasher loading until Lady E walks up. She’ll look at how the dishwasher is loaded, typically mutter a slightly bewildered “Jesus…” and then go to work. And watching her work is a thing of beauty. She’s playing what appears to be the most efficient game of 3 Card Monty in history, loads in all the stray cups, finds a spot for the amorphous Gladware and will somehow make it look like there’s even more space than when she started.

It’s totally mystifying. And I totally don’t give a shit because if that means less individual instances of having to unload the stupid dishwasher, then fuckin’ a.

3. I’m less of a financial pussy.

As a kid I was an unbelievable tightwad. I talked about my dilemma of spending, like $11, when I was a kid on a WWF Championship belt replica in this Mother’s Day post, and while I’ve gotten better about that, living with Lady E has really loosened me up. Part of the reason is that I’m just plain old doing better financially than I ever have been.

The other reason is I’ve learned not to go apocalyptic when an unexpected financial speedbump arises. Last year we owed the government money on our income taxes. This is doubly painful since a) usually you get a refund; and b) sending money to the government feels like lighting it on fire. And this was no small amount either – more than $1,000 which was money we were saving to go to Europe. After cutting that check, I figured Europe was off and slid comfortably into Pissface Mode.

But we talked through it, we adjusted some of our spending, and we went to Europe without a hitch. We came out way better than I expected too. I even spoke Spanish to strangers at Oktoberfest!

As we look at the history of our big purchases, she’s been right about our Black Friday TV, our bedroom furniture, and, as of two days ago, my new car. I don’t lament any of those purchases, nor any of the ones where I thought I’d have to return to eating Ramen after cutting the check. Thankfully moments of financial anxiety usually pass in this charmed life of ours, and I’m just happy we’re fortunate enough to be able to buy new shit. Because if it were solely up to me and my lack of long term financial vision, we’d probably still be living in the apartment, we’d have the same furniture we had in college, and I’d drive my ’97 Civic until it literally looked like Fred Flintstone’s car.

4. I actually watch more baseball and UFC.

Crazy as it sounds, this is true. Lady E knows baseball having played in her younger years (Quick tangent: I may have fallen in love with her when she told me she was a catcher and was the first one in her age division who could throw out a runner at second from her knees), but she doesn’t follow the Major Leagues the way I do. Watching someone’s love of your favorite sport grow is like falling in love with it yourself all over again. And this is like my 3rd baseball renaissance. You’d think I’d get tired of it after a while, but I don’t.

Same with UFC. I roped her in on a lazy Saturday at my old apartment during an Ultimate Fighter marathon of Season 5 where Jens Pulver and BJ Penn were the coaches. That season was decent fighter-wise (Nate Diaz, Gray Maynard, Joe Lauzon and Cole Miller came out of that season), but the trash talk between Pulver and Penn was top notch. I hooked her. And then one night we went out and got loaded at a place where UFC 80 was on in the background. That night saw BJ Penn pound the living shit out of Joe Stevenson and lick the blood off his gloves in victory. It was horrifying and exhilarating at the same time. And if seeing that charges you up, you’re made to watch fights. Thankfully, that was Lady E.

This one speaks to the only question you ever need to ask when considering whether or not to marry someone: “When I think about the rest of my life, will it be better or worse with this person in it?” If that answer is, for any reason, “worse,” don’t get married. If it’s “better,” get married. Everything else will take care of itself. Case in point: I don’t need to escape to a guys’ night to watch UFC or catch a Rox game. I can just do both those things with my wife I want to. And considering I refer to her as my “drinkin’ buddy,” (thanks to my friend Fizz for that one) I think I’ll continue to.

5. I have a legally bound focus group for my comedy stylings.

I’m a dude. Worse, I started my own comedy website with my friends. That means I spend roughly 85% of any given day trying to make someone laugh. I was lucky enough to attend a VIP Rockies Season Preview last January and they allowed audience members to ask questions. This was right after Tulo signed that massive contract extension, and he was there.

So they call for questions and I’m the first one to raise my hand. They call on me. I get real serious and I say, “Tulo, I’m going to go ahead and cut the tension in here by asking what’s clearly on everyone’s mind as we head into the season…” Tulo leans forward and looks REAL intense. So I continue, “What is going to be your walk up music this year?” Everyone laughs, even Tulo. Success! Ultimately I’m sad though because I had real things I wanted to ask the players (Chris Nelson, Dexter Fowler, Chris Iannetta and Huston Street were also in attendance). Joke’s on me. But I don’t regret it, I got the laugh.

Now, getting the laugh from my wife who has to put up with this shit all day everyday is different. That’s a tough ass audience because she knows my shtick front to back. If I get a solid laugh out of her, I know that shit’s golden anywhere I want to use it. Granted, sometimes I throw off the proper response calibration because I’ll get an easy kitty laugh by making Buttfor goosestep to “500 Miles” by The Proclaimers or narrating Bumhug’s thoughts while he watches “Auction Hunters,” but in general, she’s the best gauge for when my shit’s funny.

It’s like living with a comedy club owner, which is awesome because I sharpen my game. As a dude, you want that functioning at the highest level because you’ve got friends to entertain, dammit! And since she’s legally obligated to listen to my bullshit, that means I get her humor appraisal services in perpetuity. Victory!

Plus if you make her laugh, you feel more alive than you ever knew you could… But that’s part of the article I promised not to write.

Enjoy marriage, everyone. And if you’re yet to get there, just remember that more food, more efficiency, more financial balls, more sports (amazingly), and better jokes could await you too.

edagger@crujonessociety.com