Marriages are rare in adventure stories, but only because it’s hard to swashbuckle and disarm traps while cleaning the oven. That and authors seem to love killing off a spouse to get the survivor riled up. Tradition, thy name is revenge story. Anyway, Ichabod has a happy marriage even though he travels for work a lot. He’s also very busy with the release of The Life & Times of Ichabod Brooks. So, he left a note with a few tips on how to stay married when you also have to worry about dragons, fireballs, necrocasters, trolls, harpies, ocean storms, lying bards, lightning bolts, and getting goblin blood on the pair of boots your wife just bought for you. The stain might get out, but we all know the smell will remain.
- Always say good-bye and I love you before leaving for a job. Hugs and kisses are good too, but the words are more important. Make your spouse be either the last or second to last one you interact with as you go out the door. Having kids be last can be unavoidable since they cling and it’s hard to be romantic after your wife needs an enchanted crowbar to free your leg. Don’t even get me started on when the kids lurk on the roof and pounce as you leave.
- No gesture is too small when you’re home. Although, only one small gesture a day will get you in trouble. What I mean is that even cleaning the dishes or fixing a single floorboard will help your marriage. Especially if you’re out a lot, so doing things at home instead of being an obstacle goes a long way. Keep in mind, I’m saying this when I have a chore list as long as my forearm. So, it doesn’t even have to be a repair or cleaning up. Taking care of dinner is always a safe way to go.
- Make time for yourselves. Work is tiring. Parenthood is tiring. Maintaining the house is tiring. Everything is tiring. Still, you need at least some time to be together even if it’s just curled up on the couch with books. Words don’t have to be exchanged because it’s more the act of being together. Besides, there’s something to be said for relaxing in silence.
- Spontaneity can keep things exciting, but think before you act. Sure, the dragon-scale armor you found on sale might be just what she was looking for. Yet, she might also appreciate a bouquet of her favorite flowers. Expensive isn’t always better, especially since some of the pricier items lose their luster after a few battles. You can also go out and gather the scales then talk to a blacksmith friend to do the forging. Dragons are happy to share their shed skin for a deal as long as you ask nicely. This tip also includes playful pranks and surprise trips.
- It doesn’t hurt to expand your domestic skill set. Look for hints as to what your spouse might want you to improve on. This way you can surprise them when you learn how to sew, cook, or dust. Whatever chores can be shared is appreciated. On the downside of things, it means your chore list can be made longer. We’re talking full length of the arm. Longer if there are warnings at the bottom.
- Never be afraid to let each other go off for a solo adventure. Yes, it’s nice to do things as a couple, but you need to maintain some individuality. If you and your spouse are only into the same things or never do anything separately then you could drive yourselves into a rut. Remember that your uniqueness is a factor that attracted you to each other. Always try to maintain that because it makes for more interesting conversations.
- If you do find yourselves working together then don’t argue over who’s in charge. You take stock of the situation, consider your experience, and let the person most qualified take the lead. There are a few more stages to this. Debate what constitutes experience in an attempt to puff up your own position. Remind each other who made the last mistake or failed in a similar situation. Bring up something that has nothing to do with the situation. Casually kill the one enemy that always hears the debate and wanders over at the wrong time. Apologize while stuffing the body out of sight. Then, the most qualified person takes the lead and things go wrong instantly because the guard never finished his patrol. Battle your way to victory and agree to pay the babysitter extra since you’re now going to take a quiet day in town. (This one might just be us.)