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Navigating a Geek Marriage? 1146

Posted by kdawson
from the waiting-for-taco-to-weigh-in dept.
JoeLinux writes "I am soon to marry my true love (a girl! yes! they do exist!). She is a literary geek, whereas I am a gaming/Linux geek. Being the RTFM-style geeks that we are, we have been reading up on marriage, making things work, etc. Unfortunately, all of the references seem to be based around an alpha-male jock and a submissive cheerleader-style wife. A lot of the references to incompatibility in the books don't apply to us (neglect due to interest in sports, etc.). What are some of the pitfalls and successes learned in the course of a more geek-oriented marriage?"
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Navigating a Geek Marriage?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:04AM (#28953617)

    A lot of the references to incompatibility in the books don't apply to us (neglect due to interest in sports, etc.).

    Sports is an example, not the only cause of neglect. If your girl is a literary geek, she can probably explain this concept to you. Ask her about it when you've finished a gaming or Linux debugging session which prevented you from installing the bookshelf that you promised her 2 weeks ago.

    • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross AT yahoo DOT ca> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:17AM (#28953759)

      No I think what he is getting at not bookshelf, but self-absorbed.

      Here is an example. My wife loves books above everything. Me I work on my computer all the time. On the weekends she is ready ALL THE TIME. Normally this would bother somebody. It did bother her family quite a bit. Me, I did not actually care at all.

      So what was the compromise? I have a little desk in the living room with two notebooks that are joined and connected to my trading desk downstairs. Thus when she reads we are both in the same room. Granted not talking much to each other, but still together. That is I think what he is getting at.

      Whenever we buy a house we always make sure that my office is big enough so that the couch, TV, and my computer array fits in. Thus she spends most of her time in my office. This time our house has the office in the bunker (seriously its a bunker) and its too damp and hence we put a little table in the living room.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by loki_tiwaz (982852)

      I have a geek friend, she's more of a punk freak geek but still, geeky, and she and her WoW addict man have got the same basic issues as your average non-geek couple. I suspect those books you are reading are equally applicable just substitute your relevant geek interests and geek social networks and it should all be much the same (assuming the books are not just pop psychology twaddle).

    • by FCAdcock (531678) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @08:28AM (#28956169) Homepage Journal

      I was going to make this same comment. When you read those books pretend that the word "sports" says "favourite hobby." Even if you have the same hobby as your wife, if you're doing it alone all the time it will only harm your marriage.

      My ex-wife used to come home and play the nintendo ds all night. It wasn't sports, but it was her hobby. The time we could have spent together talking and working on our relationship was spent with her face and attention glued firmly to something else.

      The judge signs our divorce papers today at noon. Out of spite, I kept the DS even though she got to keep all my money and can just go buy her own.

      My advice:

      *The 5 love languages is a great book for new marriages. You'll learn a lot about your spouse. It will take an honest effort to put what you learn to good use, but it can work wonders.

      *If either of you even think about the Fireproof movie and doing the "love dare," just don't. "sports jocks" and "cheerleaders" go for that, but all the nerds I know who's spouses tried it saw right through it and resented them using a manual...

      *Whatever you both like doing together, do it often. Make it an important time for the two of you to spend together.

      *Make friends with other married couples. Go out together. Enjoy being with your spouse and your friends.

  • Intriguing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Noam.of.Doom (934040) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:05AM (#28953629)
    Being in a similar situation, I'd also be interested in hearing suggestions from married geeks with more XP
    • H'mm, you must NOT be a real geek, since for a real geek, the saying goes

      When ALL else fails, RTFM!

      (Besides, your getting married ... Never the less, I suppose your going to live with your mother ...
  • Forget the books (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fazz (122375) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:06AM (#28953635) Homepage

    Intelligent people do not need the kind of rubberstamp advice you find in self-help books. As long you remain honest, open and calm, you are very well off. Not doing stupid thing like playing WoW (ATTN! compare to watching football with you buddies and sipping beer) through your anniversary helps, too.

    • by EvilIdler (21087) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:15AM (#28953737)

      ...unless raiding together IS what the two of them like to do for their anniversary :P

    • by FreeUser (11483) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:33AM (#28953881)

      Intelligent people do not need the kind of rubberstamp advice you find in self-help books. As long you remain honest, open and calm, you are very well off. Not doing stupid thing like playing WoW (ATTN! compare to watching football with you buddies and sipping beer) through your anniversary helps, too.

      I can't second this enough. In the 4.5 years I've been married, the ONLY time we ever ran into any real trouble was when I tried to "manage" information. The excuse you'll typically tell yourself if tempted to do this is that it's to "spare her feelings", "you couldn't cope with it then", or "spare us an unnecessary fight". Those are excuses...the real reason is you don't want to deal with her reaction and the fallout. Don't give in to that temptation. Be honest, and demand honesty from your partner. That, and a good dose of compatabiltiy and love, will take you through just about anything).

      The other underlying principle I'd add is: take the attitude that you're a team, and its you against the world--not necessarily in a combative sense, but in a "we stick together" and an economic (perhaps competative) sense. If you do these two things, you'll do well, and weather just about any storm.

      There are other obvious guidelines, like not tearing each other down to your friends (even joking about the ball-and-chain will propogate memes that undermine what you have, so don't do it), not engaging in activity that can result in relationship-destroying behavior that you'll regret--like drunken "boy's nights out" in nightclubs or pick-up joints, or my personal favorite: these idiotic bachelor parties/stag dos that people go on right before they tie the knot (talk about laying the groundwork for a divorce before you're even married) ... but these are all common sense things that are directly derived from the two basic principles above: be absolutely honest with each other even when (or more precisely, especially when) it is difficult, and stick together as a team against the inevitable external pressures that the rest of the world will exert (in whatever form it takes, be it economic, cultural, external tempation, vicious inlaws, jealous exes, or whatever).

      • by Kokuyo (549451) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:11AM (#28954179) Journal

        I'd disagree with you on those bachelor parties, but then again, only very few people have such a relentless grip on their jealousy as me and my wife do.

        I will agree with the honesty, though. You made a good point: Demand it of your partner. In fact, you might have to TEACH it to her in the first place. I married a geek girl, not the cheerleader-type and she still had to be taught that yes, it is okay to tell me the truth, no it will not result in a fight and yes, I do want to hear her opinion.

        My wife has had to deal with a mother who thought she had to be like her in order to be an acceptable child. You can imagine how puberty impacted on that relationship, though, so this situation might not necessarily apply to other women. Do not forget, though, that the stereotypes of a beer drinking, football addicted husband and the constantly frustrated and nagging wife come from somewhere. They are so prevalent in our media that, it seems, a lot of girls think that's the way it's supposed to work. Some of them have to literally be retaught.

      • by Swizec (978239) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:01AM (#28954497) Homepage

        Intelligent people do not need the kind of rubberstamp advice you find in self-help books. As long you remain honest, open and calm, you are very well off. Not doing stupid thing like playing WoW (ATTN! compare to watching football with you buddies and sipping beer) through your anniversary helps, too.

        I can't second this enough. In the 4.5 years I've been married, the ONLY time we ever ran into any real trouble was when I tried to "manage" information. The excuse you'll typically tell yourself if tempted to do this is that it's to "spare her feelings", "you couldn't cope with it then", or "spare us an unnecessary fight". Those are excuses...the real reason is you don't want to deal with her reaction and the fallout. Don't give in to that temptation. Be honest, and demand honesty from your partner. That, and a good dose of compatabiltiy and love, will take you through just about anything).

        What's so bad about not wanting to deal with someone's reaction? I'm sure they don't tell you the sex sucked right after you're done ... just as you probably don't tell them it's the arse that makes them look fat not the jeans.

        Small lies, it's what holds relationships together.

        • by thesandtiger (819476) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @07:59PM (#28966191)

          White lies are what stupid people tell because they can't figure out how to tell truth gently.

          Do you love that (really ugly fucking sweater) I gave you? Not really, grandmother, but I love you!

          What do you think of (outfit that accentuates every single flaw of a person's figure)? You know I love the way you look, but this outfit doesn't really seem to suit your look.

          At work they made me so mad I (did something really childish in response to a stupid coworker) - what do you think? It's great that you stand up for yourself - you always have a plan. What is your plan for handling the blowback if any of those idiots get upset?

          All of those are honest but they are said in a way that is kind and speaks to the core issue. Allowing someone to look like a fool when they were counting on you for honesty is incredibly cruel.

      • Mod: +6 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by tygerstripes (832644) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:27AM (#28954711)

        Very, very good advice.

        I'm not sure I entirely agree with the last paragraph, provided the first paragraph is properly observed: if you have a history of open honesty (and mutual respect) then there are no hard barriers on behaviour in public - you will both know intuitively what is unacceptable/hurtful/undermining behaviour. Saying that, it's vital to have that well-established foundation of trust and respect before relaxing the rules.

        I would add one important piece of advice though: Remember That You Will Both Screw Up. In any close relationship, you will inevitably end up hurting one another from time to time; sometimes in everyday little ways, sometimes in almighty one-off fuck-ups. Patience and forgiveness from both parties are the only medicine for such ills, and when applied liberally and sincerely, the relationship will often be stronger after the fuck-up than before.

    • by bigmouth_strikes (224629) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:58AM (#28954105) Journal

      Being married (yes I am!) falls in the same category as having friends, being a manager...etc - they are relations that you have, not methods that you apply. That's where all the books have it wrong suggestion that there are techniques to apply instead of being authentic.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by NeutronCowboy (896098)

      Intelligent people do not need the kind of rubberstamp advice you find in self-help books.

      I'd be very careful with that advice. Intelligence does not correlate with knowing how to navigate relationship issues, personal issues and building a life together. Why do you think there's a separate roll for wisdom and for intelligence?

      Warning: that last sentence is a joke. Please do not take it literally. Instead, focus on the fact that even intelligent people can learn from others.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by obarthelemy (160321)

      Intelligent people realize they don't know everything, and are willing to seek advice from a variety of sources. Which they'll then evaluate.

      • by Critical Facilities (850111) * on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @07:17AM (#28955231) Homepage
        I have to agree with this. The real irony is, the GP speaks (rather arrogantly) that he doesn't think intelligent people need to read books in order to get good advice on how to have a good marriage.....and then proceeds to post on how one ought to have a happy marriage. Is it OK to read marriage/relationship advice if it's in the comment section of Slashdot, but not OK in a printed book?

        I agree with the parent here. Just like anything else in life, you can never improve too much. To that end, why should it be bad to seek wisdom/advice from books, or spiritual advice, or therapists/counselors, or family, or other married friends, etc etc.

        That's not to say that one should obsess on trying to be "perfect" (that will never happen), but there is nothing wrong with working toward a goal of being the best you can be. Just like your own life, a marriage is like a shared life. You both exist on your own, as your own people, with your own interests and personalities. At the same time, you have this shared life that must be maintained in the same manner as your own, individual life. In short, don't ever stop growing!

        If you're not growing, you're dying.
    • Re:Forget the books (Score:5, Interesting)

      by martyros (588782) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:42AM (#28954845)

      I couldn't disagree with this more. My wife and I are both intelligent, sensitive, caring, dedicated people. But after being married for 5 years, we were seriously ready to throw in the towel if something didn't change. I'd share with people occasionally that we were having some trouble, and people would ask what it was about; my response was, "Honestly, we don't really know. If we understood what the problem was, it wouldn't be happening."

      By a random chance (aka God's intervention), we were put onto the work of a guy named John Gottman. John Gottman actually did research on all kinds of couples. He'd wire them up with electrodes to measure their sweat and heart rates, and record their conversations. They even had an apartment rigged up where people would live for 2 days, and record their interactions. He then correlated what he saw with with people's marital satisfaction rating, and with the success of their marriage down the road. He got good enough that after listening to a 15-minute conversation about a hot-spot in their marriage, he could predict with 95% accuracy whether a couple would be divorced in 5 years' time.

      We picked up his books, and a lot of what he described I saw in our marriage. Suddenly things aren't so mysterious anymore. We're definitely not out of the woods yet; 5 years of pain and bad habits don't just disappear. But now at least I feel like I have an idea what's going wrong, and even better, I have an idea of what "going right" looks like; and the "going right" is backed by real research, not just "This is my theory". I'd definitely recommend his books to anyone who ever wants to have a long-term relationship, even if it's pretty good right now.

      Recommended books:

    • by dotancohen (1015143) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:53AM (#28954943) Homepage

      Set up a home bugzilla server. Every complain she has she can log into bugzilla, from household repairs to you forgetting the anniversary.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:07AM (#28953641)

    Don't read books to make your marriage work. Don't ask strangers on slashdot like geeks were some sort of alien race. Get advice from people you know who are already married, parents, relatives -- people you know and trust. And then, relax, ignore it all, as the biggest thing is "different strokes for different folks"/"everyone has to learn for themselves".

  • by ma11achy (150206) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:08AM (#28953643)

    Small piece of advice.

    We geeks find it hard to "get in touch with our emotional side" sometimes...

    Concentrate on enjoying each other's company. Enjoy being with each other. Stop trying to analyse the hell out of it and just ENJOY it :)

    • by rve (4436) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:34AM (#28953897)

      Small piece of advice.

      We geeks find it hard to "get in touch with our emotional side" sometimes...

      Oh my...

      The "alpha-male jocks" mentioned in TFA aren't stupid, they're socially so successful because of their high social/emotional intelligence.

      (Some) women may think that what they want in a man is someone who is 'in touch with his emotional side', essentially a girly-man, but in reality a woman with a penis isn't any more attractive to women than it is to men.

      You have to be someone she can look up to. In this day and age this doesn't have to mean huge amounts of muscle bulk. She might look up to you for your leet skillz, your artistic prowess or your meticulously cultivated good manners, whatever, but if that element is missing, but being all touchy-feely is not a plus, but something that has to be compensated for.

      This also explains why highly successful women so often end up single, or go through divorce after divorce. The selection of men they can look up to is much smaller, and in that segment they have to compete with not very successful but seriously good looking girls.

      • by Theolojin (102108) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:20AM (#28954245) Homepage

        (Some) women may think that what they want in a man is someone who is 'in touch with his emotional side', essentially a girly-man, but in reality a woman with a penis isn't any more attractive to women than it is to men.

        You have to be someone she can look up to. In this day and age this doesn't have to mean huge amounts of muscle bulk. She might look up to you for your leet skillz, your artistic prowess or your meticulously cultivated good manners, whatever, but if that element is missing, but being all touchy-feely is not a plus, but something that has to be compensated for.

        This also explains why highly successful women so often end up single, or go through divorce after divorce. The selection of men they can look up to is much smaller, and in that segment they have to compete with not very successful but seriously good looking girls.

        This poster is on to something. I teach a class for engaged and newlywed couples at my church. The poster is, perhaps unknowingly, articulating the biblical instructions for husbands and wives. Wives are to respect their husbands. If he is not a muscular jock (which is not a great reason for respect), she should find reason to respect him (his intelligence, kindness, love for others, character, work ethic, etc.). Husbands are instructed to love their wives sacrificially. The Apostle Paul wrote that a husband's love should be like that of Jesus Christ, who died for His bride (the church, who doesn't deserve His love).

        Advice for the original poster: love your wife sacrificially, even when she doesn't deserve it. Become wife-centered rather than self-centered, focusing on her needs. If you do that, your wife will respect you. Marital harmony will ensue.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kokuyo (549451)

          Wait, what? Christ died for the church? I sincerely hope you're just trolling... or being sarcastic or whatever.

          The christian ideas about marriage are sick to the core and should never be applied without liberal amounts of interpretation. Fact is, the christian interpretation of the bible is very heartless and uncaring, no matter the words they spout.

          Love your wife sacrificially, even when she DOES NOT deserve it? I know that christians tend to sound like crackpots, but how in the seven levels of hell do yo

          • by Theolojin (102108) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @11:05AM (#28958805) Homepage

            Wait, what? Christ died for the church? I sincerely hope you're just trolling... or being sarcastic or whatever.

            Huh? Ephesians 5:25-28: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..."

            The christian ideas about marriage are sick to the core and should never be applied without liberal amounts of interpretation.

            Huh? "Christian ideas about marriage" like, "Husbands, love your wives?" Wow. Nasty stuff.

            Fact is, the christian interpretation of the bible is very heartless and uncaring, no matter the words they spout.

            Huh? "Love your neighbor as yourself." Oh, the cruelty. Dude, are you serious, or are you just spewing anti-Christian hate?

            Love your wife sacrificially, even when she DOES NOT deserve it? I know that christians tend to sound like crackpots, but how in the seven levels of hell do you expect this to work?

            Ah! A great question! The answer is not that difficult. Jesus Christ, the eternal God who became a Man, died in my place and suffered the just penalty for my sin---and I don't deserve it! Because Jesus Christ is able to forgive me when I don't deserve it, I am able to forgive my wife of 15+ years, regardless of whether she deserves my love. I forgive as I have been forgiven.

            Do you really think your it-girl wife will respect you for lying at her feet whimpering for attention like a dog, never saying a word while she throws your money out the window? This is the stuff sitcom-stereotypes are made of and you want to tell us this somehow works?

            No, I don't think a groveling, whimpering man would be respected (and I do not grovel or whimper), nor did I suggest that the OP become such a man. What I told him to do was to respond in love and kindness when his wife is not acting loving. Oh, it's far easier to just respond in kind, but to respond with kindness? That's tough, but without it a marriage is doomed.

            Marital harmony will ensue... It isn't harmony, when half of the involved people have to completely bend over backwards for the other in the hopes that this person will take pity on them for it...

            It is not in hopes of receiving pity. It is out of love for my wife that I bend over backwards for her. If she needed my heart for a transplant, I would gladly give it to her. I love her. That's not an emotional feeling. It's an action.

            Man, you are a seriously fucked up individual...

            Yes, but not for the reason(s) you cited. As broken and fractured as I am, God still became a man and still offered Himself as a substitute for me, and still bore my sins in His body on the cross. That's love.

      • by grrrgrrr (945173) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:22AM (#28954253)
        The question is not about getting girls it is about making living together work. Also your story is bullshit. My father always had lots of women he was not socially intelligent or successful at all he was scary (aggressive drinking manipulative). Staying married to them was a completely different story.
      • by dollargonzo (519030) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:46AM (#28954403) Homepage
        This post, any many other replies to the original question, stink of one thing-- sexism. And frankly, as someone married and a linux/math/science geek too, that's one thing to be wary of. Many geeks end up in extremely male dominated professions and inadvertently it becomes difficult to view women as equals in the workplace for the one reason that there aren't very many of them and the ones that are there are not peers. I think the reason many successful women end up single is because of the men in their lives. I think, unfortunately, that many guys want to be looked up to, not the other way around and have trouble accepting that their SOs are making more money than them or generally more successful... and society reinforces this stereotype. So, the one piece of advice I would give is to always remember that you and your spouse are equals and that women and men process things differently. Talking to your guy buddies about a girl problem isn't necessarily going to help you a understand a problem you're having any better. And please, don't be someone your wife looks up to-- be someone she's proud of :)
      • "but in reality a woman with a penis isn't any more attractive to women than it is to men"

        You should visit bangkok sometime! :o)

  • by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:08AM (#28953651)

    Replace every passage in all the marriage books you've read where it says "Sports" - with "gaming/Linux geek" and you'll have exactly the same result.

    However, don't believe everything you read! :-)

  • by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:10AM (#28953663) Homepage

    Making a marriage work requires three things:

    Communication, communication and communication.

    Learn how to talk, how to fight, and how to consider the other person, and you'll be fine. Don't try to own your partner and let him/her do things with other people that you can't reasonably do together. Don't be afraid to show your feelings, and talk about little issues before they become big issues. Compromises are inevitable, so don't think of these are a failure on either part.

    The single biggest thing that is needed to make a marriage work is simply work. You can't expect a relationship to last without maintenance. Make sure to have time for each other when times are rough, and you'll be fine.

    And ultimately, if things eventually stop working, divorce is not really a failure. It's simply an option to be considered if the relationship is hurting either or both parties.

    • by realkiwi (23584) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:25AM (#28953823)

      Don't get married at all, living in sin is much more fun!

      But if you must:

      1) When problems arise: argue, find a compromise, make up (that is the bit which involves lots of sex if you are lucky!). Couples that don't argue never last, all that suppressed/hidden resent eventually finds its way to the surface...

      2) Stop reading about how to make marriage work

      3) Stop asking questions about how to make marriage work on /.

      • by Kokuyo (549451) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:41AM (#28954361) Journal

        Define argue.

        My wife and I have lived together for over six years now and as far as I know, we never truly argued.

        This is something I hear very often. Couples who don't argue don't last. Well, crap, we're doomed. Why is it good advice to have an outlet for suppressed resent? Why not advise to talk it out (as in discussing it) BEFORE it cann even become suppressed? Why do you have to resent your partner in the first place?

        Us, we don't do resentment. We just don't see the need.

  • Geek Marriage Here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross AT yahoo DOT ca> on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:11AM (#28953683)

    I am an engineer (ME), my wife is an engineer (EE).

    We have been married for 15 years now and things are good.

    1) I dated non engineers and let me tell you those relationships were more "active" in every sense of the word. But you actually tire of it quite quickly because you are constantly trying to figure things out.

    2) The relationship becomes pretty constant since both you are pretty constant people. That is a good thing, but as my wife says NEVER take it for granted. Appreciate each and every day.

    3) Be there for each other. I seriously mean this one. Be there for the other person through it all. EVEN if your logic says that the other person is wrong.

    4) Support the other person. My wife is a director level manager and I have worked for her. Here in Europe some look at that as being a "wuss". After meeting me people quickly realize I am not a wuss, but there is a stigma associated with it. Though times are changing...

  • by tsvk (624784) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:14AM (#28953721)

    The first rule of seeking relationship advice on Slashdot:

    1. Do not seek relationship advice on Slashdot.

  • by Scholasticus (567646) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:20AM (#28953789) Journal
    I'd guess that you being a Linux geek and she being a literary geek won't have much effect on your marriage. Other things, such as what you each expect from marriage, how you communicate (or whether you communicate at all!), how considerate each is of the other's needs, and so on, are more important. Forget the marriage/relationship books. They're pretty useless, and for the most part sell well because lots of people think that there can be manual for everything. It's not true; some things you just have to learn by doing. I've been happily married for 15 years. It takes patience and work to get through rough spots, but the good times make all that more than worth it.
  • Books (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ledow (319597) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:21AM (#28953795) Homepage

    Don't live by books, live by your brain. Books can help provide inspiration but you're not stupid... your brain knows if/when there's something wrong and how to fix it. People normally run off and cry to their friends in order to be told what they already knew. You know this. You know if the marriage is working or not. You know if you want to / need to work at it or not. To be honest, a marriage you need to "work at" in any way probably wasn't started on the best footing ("I don't really love you any more, darling, but let's work at it"? It's almost like saying "I don't find you sexually attractive any more but let's keep trying and see if I can keep it up" - Oh, and marriages based on sex aren't really marriages).

    Ignore therapists, books, courses, "relationship counselling" (Yeurk!), all the other nonsense... live your lives together and be happy for as long as you both can and, if you can't, see what can be done to fix it. Sometimes that means divorce is actually the best way to find happiness for you both... so be it.

    "I'm doing this because I read it in a book" comes nowhere near "I'm doing this because I want to make you happy".

    Now run off and enjoy married life with your geek girl, you lucky sod.

  • by FourthAge (1377519) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:27AM (#28953839) Journal

    There is no stock "off the shelf" marriage; every marriage is self-built, like Linux kernel 0.01.

    You must learn to modify the source to fix problems that come up. There is no manual, and although there is a large user community, all of them have different systems, and consequently may give you bad advice. At least you have a co-author to help you.

    Here is one piece of advice. Neither of you should play timesink online games, such as MMOs, unless you do it together or set clear boundaries about the times when you will play. Otherwise you or your wife will use those games to escape the marriage when it becomes difficult, and avoiding problems will make them worse.

  • by Bongo (13261) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:41AM (#28953957)

    As a geek couple, I can say after 12 + years there are certain real pitfalls.

    This may vary for you, but here's a few key items:

    Your intellect can be very clever at making up lies, hiding what you really feel, and it basically just gets in the way. This hiding and dissociation from your feelings can take different forms. If you're the kind of guy who tries to be nice and tries to be a good partner, then you may find that you hide your natural anger and hide your resentments. Eventually these will bite you hard. If on the other hand you or your partner are basically quite selfish, lack empathy, and lack a basic goodness, then she or you can do the most outrageously selfish things but rationalize them away using your clever intellect. (I know one woman who would cry "sexist" if you said she was behaving badly, on the basis that had she been a man, you'd have complemented him for being "strong" (some people are educated beyond their intelligence)).

    So feeling is very important. But what's also important, and this is beyond therapy now... what is also becoming more important for modern couples is that, once you both accept each other as equals (you're not stereotypical gender roles from the 50s), once you accept each other as equals, doesn't mean you are the same. You still have to be a man and she still has to be a woman, otherwise there is no difference between you, and there is no polarity of attraction, and sex and romance will disappear completely. See David Deida's books for a challenging and difficult slap in the face on this subject. Your woman may often act crazy--she is testing you and she wants to feel your masculine ability to be a solidly dependable rock who can stand there and still love her. Once she knows she can trust you to be a rock, she can relax into her feminine side and blossom and be sexy. And this little drama will repeat itself over and over. If you don't want that, get a best friend and forget about romantic partners.

    • by Fluffy Bunnies (1055208) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:42AM (#28954369)

      As a half of a geek couple just entering into our fourth year, I found myself really nodding along while reading your third paragraph. By all means be nice and be a good partner, but don't forget to tell your SO what he/she needs to do in order to be nice and a good partner to you. Otherwise you may end up harboring resentments because you think your partner isn't putting as much effort into being nice as you are.

      The last paragraph, I didn't care so much for: one of the things that brought us together was our inability to play social games (like "testing your husband"). Takes all kinds I guess, but treating the relationship as a game is not something you necessarily have to put up with. YMMV.

  • by DeathToBill (601486) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:43AM (#28953977) Journal

    Geek marriage is not that different to any other marriage. Three pointers:

    • Talk to each other. When something bugs you, talk about it early, not when you're at the walking out stage. It will make things easier. And make time to just talk to each other about whatever.
    • Cherish each other. Count how lucky you are to have your wife. Regularly. Focus on what's good.
    • Sex. Lots of it. I know this sounds incredibly daft, but don't forget sex in your relationship. I know at least one geek couple (not me, BTW) who ran into serious trouble because she was always playing online games, he was always designing new gadgets and somehow they just never ended up in bed together. Both of them wanted it, but it never actually happened. Make it happen, or you will start looking elsewhere for it, and that is very nearly the end of your marriage.
  • In geek terms (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cybereal (621599) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @04:49AM (#28954017) Homepage

    Marriage is like a static group in any RPG. The same basic facts apply.

    1. You need goals to achieve anything. You need to achieve things to be happy. If one or more of your group is unhappy, the result will inevitably be dissolution of the group. Set goals early, set them often.

    2. Whenever undertaking any task it is important to understand each group member's role. Though not strictly necessary, it is good to have a leadership position to orchestrate any support roles. This position may be shifted around the group based on whatever the scenario requires.

    3. Eventually you will reach conflict, it's inevitable. Practice care in participating in conflicts. Attempt to understand all party's grievances and complaints and effect a useful resolution. Submit the proposed resolution to the group and hope for a diplomatic reception.

    4. Keep the channels of communication open. Be sure all group members understand and approve of any actions prior to taking them. Nobody wants a Leeroy Jenkins in their group!

    5. When you wish for your group to grow, the most important prerequisite is always preparation.

    6. As your group grows in numbers, avoid favoritism. All members should be treated with respect and given the assistance they need to become fully useful participants.

    7. Members of your group are unlikely to be so exclusively! They may still have close ties to the group or groups that nurtured them. Be sure to respect those ties and even assist in maintaining them.

    8. That said, members of the group must understand their priorities. Most successful groups have prioritized with their own goals in mind.

    9. Finally, you are not the group. And the group is not you. Sometimes you must focus on your own goals. Always take time to solo and be understanding of the need of others to do the same.

    Those are just a few tips on successful grouping in World of Wedcraft. Good luck!

  • by Kokuyo (549451) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:02AM (#28954121) Journal

    Dude, how about a marriage-oriented marriage instead? You're not entering some club, you know.

    Honesty is the key. A lot of people will disagree with me there, but if you can't be honest to your effing partner, with whom can you ever be honest then?

    When I asked my first girl out, who happens to be my wife now, I told her my views on life and how I wanted and needed a relationship to be (both sexually and not) from the beginning. She happened to agree with what I said. I was honest and she was honest. That's why we've been married for almost four and a half years now and have been together for over seven.

    No matter if one of the people involved tends toward submissive or dominant, the important part is that the relationship is built on being equal partners. Equal at least in the right to be happy and get from the relationship what they need. But to make each other happy, one must know what the other needs and what they have trouble dealing with.

    I don't know how people can expect to live together for the rest of their lives, ideally, when they don't dare bring up wishes and dreams, fears and basic needs for fear of losing the other. How can people believe that someone whom you're afraid to tell your most important secrets, the things that are such a big part of you, would make a good partner?

    The geekyness... what the heck does it matter? Whether you like being called a geek or not, the fact remains that we all have hobbies and interests. Being a geek is merely a label for how widely spread your hobby is (gaming retains its geeky status only through nostalgic means). Can you accept her hobbies? Can she accept yours? If not, you're going to have trouble that has nothing to do with geekyness anyway.

  • Rating (Score:4, Informative)

    by kentrel (526003) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:10AM (#28954177) Journal
    Give her looks a rating out of 10. Then post that on the fridge. Encourage her to lose some weight to increase her rating. If she objects compare it to levelling up on WoW.

    Name her breasts Han and Chewie.

    Tell her that everytime you put on your Wedding Ring you hear the voice of Sauron calling you to do evil.

    Inform her that her feet are as cute as a hobbits.

    When times are rough tell her that you wish you took the blue pill.

    Remind her that you are a true geek by not having sex with her unless she accepts money first.

    Tell her you hope you both have a kid like Jake Lloyd one day.
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:26AM (#28954277)

    I've had (... still have ... in a way such relationships never die) a 16 year relationship with a woman. We have one daughter, 11 years old. My advice on marrige is quite simple: Don't marry. Or marry with a 2-inch thick marriage contract. The simple fact that either of the SOs can walk away, with (nearly) no legal commitments holding them back contributes greatly to respecting each other and acknowledging each others sacrafices that where done for a relationship. And on this aspect of issues i'd like to quote this:

    "People who are intensly in Love often forget that for it to last you need to actively maintain it. Emotionally and in your attitude towards your significant other."

    Every single day. Don't get me wrong: You can marry, if it is for outside reasons. Maybe you have to marry for tax reasons or because you live in a society where only married couples are accepted. Maybe you or your SO is a federal employee and will have to move to a different state whenever superiors say so and there only are exemptions for married couples. However, what you should do - both of you, at the same time and in the same intensity - is treat each other as if you weren't married. Every day. That's easiest to ensure if you simply don't marry or do so with a thick contract that seals details.

    Me and her, we've each had our share of affairs on the side lately and we actually console each other when things get rough or someone of us is lovesick about it. However, we have never lost our respect for one another. I went through a solid stretch of of near flat-out neglegt by her for years, and simply the fact that I knew I could walk out of the door at any time had me stick with her and my responsibilies towards our daughter. If you marry, it should be under circumstances under which you both feel comfortable with your self and are sure that you can give what the other expects of you and what is required to make the others life better than if they were alone.

    And if you, after all this advice, *do* marry, *don't* spend huge amounts of money on the wedding. Marry, maybe invite your best friends and families to a dinner or party or something, but don't go into huge dept just for a wedding. The positive effect (bragging rights, etc.) wears of quickly and if that's all your doing it for it's pointless to do anyway. And you get the best marriage effect ('My wife' / 'my husband') anyways.

    Congratulations on finding the love of your life and my best wishes to both of you!

    My 2 Euros.

  • by CmdrGravy (645153) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:43AM (#28954379) Homepage

    So called "geeks" are no different to anyone else. So like anyone else your marriage will be a success if:

    1) Your wife has no other man but yourself
    2) Your wife should not encourage any other man to make love to her, or kiss or caress her
    3) Your wife should remember to kiss and caress you, to honour and obey you and obey your every whim and fancy seven days a week and twice on sundays
    4) Your wife should honour your name so that all other women will honour it also
    5) Your wife should no provoke you to anger
    6) Your wife should not search your pockets or night or annoy you with her hearsays
    7) If you are walking in the street with another woman your wife should not shout at you in the street but wait intelligently until you get home where the matter can be dealt with decently.
    8) Your wife should neither drink nor smoke
    9) Your wife should not commit adultery since if she does she risks forcing you to murder her
    10) Your wife should not covet her neighbours dress, nor her shoes, nor her bureau, nor her bed nor her hat nor anything which is hers. Your wife should not call your attention to anything which may be for sale in any stores since you will provide her with everything she needs for her daily purpose.

  • by Jerry Smith (806480) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @05:44AM (#28954387) Homepage Journal
    One thing that I learnt very quickly is that it is worth the effort to set reminders for Birthdays, Wedding-anniversaries, Engagement-anniversaries, Valentines Day et cetera. NOT only on the day itself: 1 month AND 1 week in advance: the month for reservation options for restaurants or gifts that take longer to get, and the 1 week option just in case you somehow did not get to finish the 1-month-idea. And you can just explain that you NEVER would forget $eventfulDay, but somehow are not really good in keeping track of the current date. That she will understand. But you are both German, of is it just you being German, is the wedding taking place in Germany? We Europeans _could_ do with a bit more facts.
  • by vorlich (972710) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:00AM (#28954493) Homepage Journal
    (but I will anyway.)
    No crying.
    No getting in touch with your feminine side.

    The man's job (geek or otherwise) is the three F's.
    Fixing
    Freighting
    Frickin


    The man makes the complex political decisions about whether or not the nation should deploy cruise missiles, bomb anything from orbit, or bail out the banks.
    The woman gets to decide what you spend the money on, where you live, how many children to have, where they will be educated, where to go on holiday and anything else not included in the previous sentence.


    The hard part:
    When the woman makes a remark about something that upsets her you must always resist the temptation to offer a solution. Sympathise.

    But most important of all
    Be excellent to each other.
  • by tverbeek (457094) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:02AM (#28954517) Homepage
    If you two don't fit the traditional gender stereotypes, try reading books for gay/lesbian couples.
  • After 19 Years... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by standbypowerguy (698339) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:09AM (#28954579) Homepage
    I married my favorite geek 19 years ago, and here are a few of the things I've learned:

    Be considerate.
    Shut up and listen when she wants to talk.
    Respect her opinion.
    She's smarter than you are, get over it.
    It's more important to be friends than lovers (sex is fun, but no foundation for a marriage).
    Give her the remote before you fall asleep.
    If she prefers Windows (or a Mac or a different Linux distro), let it go.
    Very few things are important enough to argue with your spouse about.
    Money is the biggest marital stressor, to avoid this, live well within your means.
    Settle disagreements quickly.
    Even geeky girls like tasteful jewelry.
    Make time to take her out on a date at least once a week.
    Don't be an insensitive clod.
  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:27AM (#28954713)
    It's not like mending your car. There are no instruction manuals worth a dam'. Either you (that's both of you) have the depth of character and maturity to enter into the relationship as sensible adults or, like the majority - considering the break-up statistics, you don't.

    Obviously how you approach it depends on the country you live in and the rules, laws and expectations that come from the culture and families you are both marrying into.

    The problem with geeky types is that they ofter think there are/should-be rules or tried and tested techniques for doing things. When dealing with other people (apart from the obivousl ones to do with respect and consideration - both ways) there aren't.

    For a start, what are your plans for having children? - have you discussed it. How much are your / her family going to be involved? Who's going to give up or continue working? What will you / she do if the partner has an affair - are either of you the jealous type. Don't forget, that people change after marriage (though some, who should: don't). Is the motivation to be married, or to be with the other person (if the latter, why marry at all?). Maybe when you have both sat down and had a full and frank discussion about these, and other topics you will be ready to decide whether ot not to marry.

    Finally, remember that when women say "commitment", it frequently means "sacrifice". What are you prepared to give up?

  • by dtmos (447842) * on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:28AM (#28954727)

    At my grandparents' 65th wedding anniversary, my grandfather was asked for the secret to his long marriage. He said, "In any domestic dispute, if it turns out you are right, apologize at once."

  • by olddoc (152678) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:52AM (#28954939)
    I have been an Anesthesiologist for 20 years. I have been fascinated when I see 80 year olds who have been married for 50+ years and they still care about each other. Whenever I have a couple like that, who tearfully kiss goodbye before surgery, I ask what the secret is to being married >50 years. The consistant pattern of advice I find is two things: 1) Be easygoing, compromise. 2) Make each other laugh. I don't know how many times I've heard "He makes me laugh" with people who are married >50 years. So do you make her laugh? Does she make you laugh? Is she willing to compromise a little if you want to do something she isn't in to?
  • by aquatone282 (905179) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @06:58AM (#28954991)

    DON'T DO IT

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday August 05, 2009 @07:01AM (#28955023) Homepage

    Here's the deal. It doesn't matter if you're alpha-male-jock or whatever other type. What matters is how well you accept one another and how you deal with problems together. Most of the time, it is the woman that finds the man intolerable and not the other way around. (Yeah, there are exceptions of course) Usually, it's something that a guy does or doesn't do that leads to things becoming rocky and unstable at home and it's largely the weakness of the woman who quite literally chooses to not accept it as part of who you are. (There are also exceptions to this as well... should she accept sex, drug or gambling addiction? hell no! should she accept gaming addiction? hell no! should she accept failing to pay the bills because you spent money on geek crap? hell no!)

    So putting aside serious detrimental behaviors, if she can't accept that you're a slob or a neat freak, then you shouldn't get married. And let's be clear on what the whole idea of marriage means in the first place. Don't consult a religious leader. Consult a divorce lawyer! If anyone knows what a marriage is REALLY all about, it's an experienced divorce attorney who has assisted in disassembling a marriage and all the things connecting the two people together in a tight relationship. You may find that in this day and age, that marriage is completely obsolete! A limited power of attorney, as it turns out, is all anyone needs unless one of you is from a foreign country. (I firmly believe that marriage is a legally binding agreement that can and will be used against you in a court of law.)

    I have also found that some of the most serious sources of troubled marriages stem from the misconceptions of what marriage is or what function it serves. You'd both better be on the same page when it comes to the preconceptions about marriage religiously, socially and legally because they will lead to stupid friction moving forward. Personally, I have no religion and neither does my wife. That takes out 1/3rd of that problem from the start. Socially, we are on the same page. Legally, I'm fully aware since I have been divorced before (and came out on top).

    Some people need to not be married at all. Both of you need to do some hard personality analyses on the matter. How do you balance "self vs relationship"? How do you balance "self vs family"? How do you balance "self vs child/ren"? If you favor yourself too much and are mature enough to admit it to yourself, then you probably shouldn't get married at all.

    People too often think of marriage in terms of 30 minute situation comedies or two hour romantic comedies. They also too often think of it as a religious and/or social mandate. Get those misconceptions cleared up before you sign those legal documents. I'd say "read the fine print" but there is no fine print!!! Marriage is a bizarre legal construct that is not defined in any one single law anywhere. It's all over the place and frankly most written law is about divorcing if that tells you anything at all.

    And even if you have all of the above completely covered, be prepared for changes that occur down the road. Dynamics and roles shift and change... sometimes abruptly and sometimes so gradually, you don't notice. Be flexible and know your limits so that you don't break when things go too far.

    I'll tell you what works for me -- I'm ridiculously easy to get along with. I know myself well and have little trouble explaining myself to others while at the same time, I am very accepting of others. It also helps that it is accepted by my wife that I TRULY suck at remembering dates and what day it is. Having forgotten my own birthday on several occasions was all the proof she needed that I am an honestly a forgetful person when it comes to things like that. (And it's not like my birthday would be hard to remember. It's the first of a month! I'm just not that guy.)

    Oh yeah, and don't make "the marriage" the thing... not EVER. If "the marriage" was the thing, then you're both chasing something that doesn'

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