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July 4, 2005 // UPDATED 1:56 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Anna Pratt
Anna Pratt

Surviving marriage

In the book, "52 Fights: A Newlywed's Confession," author Jennifer Patterson tells the difference between "I do" and "I don't." She starts off with the stuff that typically makes brides giddy, such as the hunt for the ideal wedding dress, perfectly sculpted hair and makeup. Then she plunges into the less dizzying part.

That is, postwedding days. Certainly, Patterson made some unexpected discoveries in her marriage (since she didn't live with her husband before). In response, she shamelessly enters the region of livability after marriage, flaunting the flaws inherent in suddenly coexisting with someone else's routines (this is where "I don't" comes in).

Patterson experiences numerous Year One hardships.

Although she loves her husband Matt, she wasn't prepared for some of the annoying things he does daily. Sometimes it was just the stupid things that really ticked her off because they seemed symbolic. Minor problems could be all it took to spoil a good thing.

With humorous yet survivor-minded anecdotes, Patterson illustrates how getting married and staying married demands more compromises than an eager bride-to-be might predict. She's not afraid to get personal and talks about her fears of losing independence and what it means to retain the qualities that make her unique.

Her matrimonial crises extend beyond the ring as she wonders how to maintain interests and friends. Eventually, she finds that she must rebel against the rules that are deeply embedded in her mind and become a proficient debater. For example, Patterson addresses obsolete expressions such as "Never go to bed angry," which she explains pertains only to women. It boils down to one simple reason, that is, "men just fall asleep."

She ruminates over the reasons it's so easy for him to sleep so guilt-free. Like any wife would, Patterson gets upset when she comes across photos of ex-girlfriends. Although they're just ghost competition and not actual opponents, she can't help it if she feels slightly jealous (some of them look like nicer people or have prettier smiles).

So she doubts herself, wondering if there's a secretly stashed history buried somewhere, warning of some other larger problem (after all, why does he still need pictures of ex-girlfriends who are supposed to be barely memorable?)

Patterson pens a column called "Newlyweds" for "Minnesota Bride's" Web site, the "Ithaca Journal" and lovetripper.com.

And she's now happily married to Mathias Samuel.

• July 8, noon-1 p.m. Barnes & Noble, 801 Nicollet Mall, Free. 338-2937, www.barnesandnoble.com.