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Serge and Monica Bielanko

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Serge Bielanko spent nearly 15 years living in a van and cheap motel rooms as a guitarist/songwriter in a rock-n-roll band called Marah, before turning to marriage, parenthood, and writing. For the past several years, he has written about the humorous side of being a dad and a husband on his personal blog, Thunder Pie. In addition to writing daily for Babble Dad and Babble Voices (He Said/She Said), his writing has appeared in places like Esquire magazine and The Huffington Post. Nowadays, this 41-year-old dude spends way too much time working on his first book in his garage in central Pennsylvania, where he chases trout, drinks beer, and lives with his wife, the writer, Monica Bielanko, and their two kids, Violet and Henry.

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‘Do NOT Talk To Her In The Morning:’ 15 Marriage Tips From A Foolish Husband

By Serge Bielanko |

In the jailhouse now…

There are a few things that I can do pretty well.

How many’s a few?

I dunno…four? Maybe five?

Three?

I can make a stir-fry that I learned years and years ago from a cookbook by my idol, Nigel Slater. It’s a Thai one, and I can whip it up swiftly with my eyes closed (though I usually have no reason to close ‘em). And friend, I truly believe it is damn near perfection every single time.

I can catch trout on flies. Not all the time, mind you, but enough of the times so that I consider myself a decent enough fly fisherman to keep going.

I make good feta/basil/tomato omelets.

How many’s that?

Okay, one more.

I can play medieval castle with my kids for way longer than they can. Not once, I tell you, have I been bored and walked away from the imaginary moats or the fake plastic dragons before they have.

So, as you can see, I have my hands full with enough being good at this’n'that that it would almost come as a surprise to many of my inquisitors to discover that I seem to lack quite a bit of suave when it comes to doing one thing in particular: being a husband. Now, don’t get excited, this won’t be a tale of my debauchery, of my endless drinking and womanizing and gambling, of me being a flat-out rogue in matrimony.

I’m afraid that I’m far too vanilla-bean to offer you up such a generous silver platter of morsels and tidbits. Instead, what I stand to offer any man (or woman!) who is either bumbling through a marriage of his/her own or engaged to be married in the near future (and thus completely blinded by something very shiny which they think is a diamond but which turns out to be a teensy sharp shard of dangerous glass), is the very useful and hard-earned knowledge of a dimwitted fool who has been married for thousands of days.

What I am saying is this. Follow me down this familiar rabbit hole of mine if, and only if, you’d like to become a better spouse by learning from the best, ahem…I mean the worst.

I’m the best of the worst, okay?

So, just listen up…

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Lessons For a Happy Marriage

The Turn-Away

I'm someone who is pretty good at foolishly putting pride before just about anything else. The result? I have often found myself smothered by my own simpleton ways, buried under layer upon layer of aggravation and suppressed emotion. Listen, there is something to be said for the 'strong silent type,' but that's not at all what I am talking about here. What I am saying is this: if you don't learn the fine art of very open communication very early in your marriage, you will end up hurting alone later on.

 

 

 

You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.

And on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep up with Babble.com on Facebook.

More from Serge:

Big Daddy: The Life And Times Of A Beating Heart

No Neckties/No Cologne: 20 Father’s Day Gifts I Really Want

25 Things About My Daughter, Violet

MORE ON BABBLE

10 things you should never say to your husband… but probably do
5 compliments ALL women want to hear
7 things I wish I knew about men before I got married
23 hilarious wedding photos gone wrong
5 sexy things men THINK women do on girls’ night

More on Babble

About Serge Bielanko

sergebielanko

Serge Bielanko

Serge Bielanko writes about fatherhood for Babble Dad and about marriage stuff for Babble Voices at He Said/She Said. His writing has appeared in Esquire and The Huffington Post, as well as on his personal blog, Thunder Pie. He lives with his wife and two kids in central Pennsylvania. Read bio and latest posts → Read Serge's latest posts →

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27 thoughts on “‘Do NOT Talk To Her In The Morning:’ 15 Marriage Tips From A Foolish Husband

  1. stella says:

    Good on you, Serge. It takes some balls to talk about this relationship stuff and your marriage will benefit from your ability to take some responsibility for your roll in the challenging times. It’s hard work and I think it should be because it is so precious. Love you both and keep keeping it real.

    1. Serge Bielanko says:

      Thanks a lot, Stella. I appreciate that.

  2. paul hastings says:

    seems kind of strange that few years ago i just knew about you because i loved Marah but your blogs are really enlightening and brave. Really admire the way both you and monica manage to be so open about your relationship on your blogs

    been married 16 years myself and these are great tips and many i will take on board (although my wife isnt really a marah fan and didnt like dave when we saw him live so i still need to take the p out of her music taste!!)

    1. Serge Bielanko says:

      Paul, thanks for following me out of my music into my writing. I sure do appreciate you coming along for the ride.

  3. Kristin says:

    The posts the two of you put up when you first started He Said/She Said were funny, but these posts are so much more constructive. I love that the two of you have shifted from pointing out each other’s faults to digging deep to examine your own faults. It’s so much more constructive and, as others have said, it is so brave. My husband and I will celebrate our 15th anniversary in August and it’s been 15 very good years…often great years. But we can all use this kind of reminder and you have stated it so, so well.

    1. Serge Bielanko says:

      Hey, that IS a nice comment. Thanks so much, Kristen.

  4. Monica Bielanko says:

    @Kristin – I didn’t notice that… that we’ve shifted from pointing out each other’s faults to self-examination… So thanks for drawing that to my attention! And thanks for the kind comment.

  5. Jen says:

    Average looking? Seriously? Sorry, had to point that out – so – not – average. You are both lovely looking folks. And you know what, nicer on the inside because you are wise enough and clever enough to know that forever is a long time, too long to be unhappy and frustrated. I am approaching 15 years this September which seems insane and three kids later I often wonder how did we get here.

    And, yeah some years were great and some not so great and we are guilty of many of the things Serge (and Monica too) have talked about, but still we keep trying. Failure at this marriage is just not an option for us.

    It’s like at some point when stick all this together it is going to combust, but that is ok…as long as you want to put it back together. I love your approach to marriage and how you guys are gutsy enough to say what everyone else won’t -it is not rainbows and unicorns,

    Just had to put in my two cents…I think both of your posts are the best thing I have read about marriage and relationships in ages. Real talk about flawed people who want the best for each other…what more could you ask for.

    1. Serge Bielanko says:

      Jen, thanks a lot!

    2. Stressed says:

      What do I do my husband always thinks that everyone is talking bad about him or to him when they are joking … even when it’s family him n my older brother got into a lil tiff about my brother calling him a old man …. My husband even tried moving out ! I mean I am a very easy going person all the time I know how to take a joke n let things go 5 minutes after it happens …. I am a stay at home mom so I do the house hold chores all the time but I do t like it when he makes me feel like im lazy and I feel like he is very threatened by my family when we lived around his whole family our entire marriage I feel like he’s very jealous n angry all the time

  6. Kim Q says:

    Buzz Lightyear, HAHAHA! :o )

    But seriously, it is so, SO important to have this insight and be able to honestly critique yourself and what you need to work on and improve to make your relationship work. It is a whole lot easier to make a list of “faults” about your partner than it is to really scrutinize yourself. But a relationship isn’t about one person, it is about how the two people work together to make it successful.

    1. Serge Bielanko says:

      Kim Q, “….to infinity and beyond!”, right? Thanks for reading and commenting with insight. Have a great weekend.

  7. LK says:

    Really insightful stuff here – love that you guys are working so hard on your marriage and being open about it. Helps a lot of us out there feel less alone in our own struggles to maintain a healthy marriage while raising young kids. But I must say, the whole “she’s so beautiful and I’m so average-looking” thing just won’t fly. You’re both pretty far above average on the looks-o-meter. No need to self-deprecate in that arena, man.

    1. Serge Bielanko says:

      Hey, LK….thanks a lot for the cool message. I’m super glad people like you seem to be digging this piece. Have a great weekend.

  8. BonnieLee says:

    Wow, can I get an Amen? I’m sending this link to my fiance and maybe with one thoughtful blog you will have saved us many future arguments/fights/screaming matches. We are just starting out at 37 and 41, which according to everyone else means, we are already very ‘set in our ways’ and so I’m going to make a special effort to avoid pitfalls that both of you have mentioned. Thanks for letting us learn from your mistakes (meant in a very sincere way!:)

    1. Serge Bielanko says:

      Hey Bonnie Lee, thanks for the kind words. Good luck in your nuptials; just keep a copy of this post in your wallet at all times. ;)

  9. A friend says:

    Oh my goodness, please forgive me for mentioning this even. Long time reader.
    Is the menstrual one related to THAT cab incident?

    1. Serge Bielanko says:

      A friend, I hear you! Hahaha! Thanks for the comment! ( I have no clue what you are talking about.) Have a great weekend!

  10. Beth Hendricks says:

    I think these are great tips for John and I, especially since he also married a “tough girl”. 9 times out of 10 I KNOW that I’m withdrawing. I get so frustrated with myself, because I know it would be so much easier on us to lay it all out in the open. Other times I withdrawal to SPARE his feelings. That’s harsh…but being a tough girl (for me) means sometimes being a bit critical. It seems like if I withdraw, I have time to process what I’m going to say and still be respectful. I can’t wait to have hubby read this blog. REALLY great tips in here…you guys so remind me of John and I. Cheers you guys, for being so attentive to your relationship. Most people are lazy assholes and don’t care.

    1. Serge Bielanko says:

      Beth, thanks. Tough girls are hot, I think. And they will also be the death of me.

  11. Serena from Italy says:

    wow… this is a true and huge declaration of love. Or, at least, that’s how I’d see it if the author was my husband. Your words made me think, and made me also happy for you both, ’cause it seems that you’re trying all you can to stick together, and that you love each other, a lot.

  12. el-e-e says:

    love the idea of looking in the mirror and laughing. thanks for that little tip. also, the slide/photo for that part looks like it’s straight from a movie, somehow. Cool. :)

  13. LouiseM says:

    I would say that this is not gender specific. Many tips apply to how a woman ought to approach things too. I’ve picked up a few of these along the way and practice them. I wish my partner would pick them up too, but he probably won’t read the article. He already knows everything there is to know . . . . Unfortunately, a lot of men are like this and should read this wonderful article.

  14. Kermit says:

    Protein also helps make meals more satiating so you eat less and won.

    Think of it like this, the more you move, the more you lose.
    A good Hypnotherapist for Weight Loss should have a background in
    Nutrition, Exercise, or both.

  15. Molly Skyar says:

    This is a very sweet piece, and great advice for couples. We noticed the constant theme throughout your piece: communication and balance. They pretty much sum up the key ingredients for a happy household! If more couples talked out their issues from the beginning, maybe we’d get less letters like this: http://conversationswithmymother.com/how-can-i-get-my-husband-to-help-out-more/
    We’ll be sure to share, keep writing!

  16. please send this teachings so i can give it my wife to read and understand somethings.

  17. Jessica Jacob says:

    I don’t know how I stumbled across this but after reading it I have the laughing itch right up in my stomach that won’t go away! Great post.

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