I’m so glad you asked!
First things first, marry someone funny.
No, wait. Marry someone who thinks you’re funny, especially when you’re really, really trying to be. There’s nothing worse than teeing up a really great joke and having a person who allegedly loves you give you nothing but a polite chuckle when you were aiming for a guffaw.
Marry someone who wears your clothing size—double your wardrobe, even if there’s a stack of off-limit T-shirts from his high school days that he gently explains are so precious he doesn’t want you stretching out the arms. Laugh about that later.
Marry someone who likes the same things, sure, but, more important, hates the same things. Someone who will catch your eye in the middle of the conversation to telepathically let you know, Yes, I heard that jackass at Starbucks try to brag to this poor barista that he is personal friends with The National and that he lives in Brooklyn like it’s some far-off exotic land. We will laugh about it later until one of us pees. And that someone will be you, because you just had a baby and things are still a little out of control down there.
Marry someone who has seen you ugly-cry.
Marry someone you like. Someone you’d want to sit next to on a cross-country Greyhound trip with no bathroom or air- conditioning, because he’s the only person who could somehow make that fun and also, he’s the kind of person who would have packed a snack for you.
As a rule, I don’t advise people to “marry their best friend.” I’m generally wary of people who tell me that their spouse is their best friend, because what happened to their actual best friend? You know, the one who prank-called boys with them in middle school and poured a beer over another girl’s head in college for looking at her wrong? Did she suddenly and tragically die, or did she just get left in the dust once you found the partner of your dreams? I cannot stress this enough, folks: you are going to need to have an actual best friend because sometimes the person you marry won’t agree with your DVR choices. Or, even worse, he will click on the wrong Hulu ad experience and you’ll be stuck watching commercials about bone density medication when you could have been watching a commercial about lotion featuring your future best friend Jennifer Aniston. And who will you run to then? Who will you text? The animal who disregarded everything you hold dear with the click of a mouse?
Marry a person you’d marry in a church or in an art gallery. On a boat or in an abandoned factory in Russia. Someone you’d marry with the biggest blood diamond money could buy, or with a little piece of string tied around your finger. Marry someone who doesn’t care about table settings or wedding favors unless you really care about those things, in which case, it’s opposite day. Just be on the same team. Especially on your wedding day.
Marry someone brave. “For better or for worse” means promotions and babies and cancer and loss. It means having the bathtub leak into the basement because one of you didn’t know you aren’t allowed to fill a bathtub to the very top because that little metal thing on the side? That’s an emergency drain.
Marry someone who holds his breath in every tunnel your car drives through, even when the old lady ahead of you is driving perilously slow, just so you can each make a wish that you never tell to one another because then it might not come true.
Marry someone who always chooses to sleep in the hospital bed with you, no matter the fact that you’re both too tall for a twin-size bed even on your own.
Marry someone your parents like. Marry someone with parents who you like. Really, this matters, and when you’re all having Thanksgiving together as a giant group and you see all of their smiling faces, you’ll be glad you took my advice. Also, if your families don’t get along, and you both think you were spawned from garbage people, who cares? You’re making your own family, fuck ’em.
Marry someone patient. Let’s face it, you’re not always a walk in the park. And when you throw a fit because you can’t find your keys and he says did you check your purse? and you say of course I checked my purse, do you think I’m a moron?? and then you really check your purse, and there are your keys, you want a person who will just shake his head and smile, and call you an idiot under his breath. But lovingly.
Marry a person who is perfectly imperfect, because if you’ve ever watched a true crime show you should know that the “perfect” spouse always murders you in the end.
Marry someone you admire, but more important, who admires you. If you are like me, you spent much of your twenties pursuing people who needed convincing that you were awesome. I am sorry to say that was a waste of our collagen-rich, blazing-metabolism years and that those people were never worth our time. Not when there was someone out there who would wake up every day thinking, Fuck yeah, I married this human!
You are worth a “fuck yeah” every day. Even (and especially) if you are still wearing your high school retainer to bed. That means you are dedicated and also frugal, two very good qualities for a person to have.
Marry a person who loves you a lot, but more important, loves you best, because quality beats quantity any day.
From IT’S OKAY TO LAUGH (CRYING IS COOL TOO): A Memoir by Nora McInerny Purmort. Copyright © 2016 by Nora McInerny Purmort. Published on May 24, 2016 by Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Excerpted by permission.