More years ago than I like to think, a group of us were sitting in the break room of the company where I worked, when the discussion turned to what the various female clerks and secretaries had received for Valentine’s Day. Eventually, one of them turned to me.
“Did you get something nice for your wife for Valentine’s?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said, “I got her a saber saw.”
The woman gave me a fish-eyed look, then said, “And I suppose she got you a dozen roses?”
“Nope. Big box of chocolates.”
Absolutely true story. This is what happens when two people understand one another.
My wife and I have been married for about 33 years (together for 34, as she likes to remind me). And, with the exception of a couple of occasions when each of us wished to wring the other’s neck, it’s been a pretty successful run, with no end in sight. Therefore, I feel that I have some insights that may be useful to those of you who are just setting out on this road, contemplating taking the step, or have noticed Paw polishing his shotgun.
Do not take advice from divorced people. Divorced people spend a lot of time explaining how everything was the other person’s fault. The ones that don’t are smart enough not to give advice.
If you marry a divorced person, try to marry one who was hitched to a real jerk. It’s much easier to shine if your predecessor was a loser.
If you’re a man, understand two rules: 1)Your wife is always right; and 2) if in doubt, refer to rule 1. Don’t fight it. You’re going up against a few billion years of evolution. Consider yourself lucky; in some species, the male is good for a jolly and meal – as the main course.
If you’re a woman, let your spouse win once in a while. After all, even a broken clock is right twice a day.
Men, should your wife ever forget your wedding anniversary, memorize the event. Trust me, you will need it at some later date. Women have a natural aptitude for anniversaries, birthdays, and the names of third-cousins-twice-removed. They take slips like this seriously. When you forget the name of her cousin-that-she-hasn't-mentioned-in-five-years at some critical juncture, that one slip of hers from years-gone-by will be your salvation.
Everybody is good at something or at least thinks so. Discover your spouse’s area of expertise; admire it; buy gifts that go along with it; but never, ever, offer advice about it. My wife doesn’t tell me how to fix computers, and I don’t tell her how to make quilts. The fastest way to build animosity is to offer suggestions when the spouse is having difficulty in that area; it’s even worse if you happen to be right.
Chocolate. Need I say more?
We all have good days and bad days. The trick is not to have your bad days on the same day.
If your spouse is really sick, it is not a good idea to either comment about how good you feel or to complain about the crick in your elbow. Just shut up about your own health and be solicitous.
Allow me to close with a touching story. An elderly couple was sitting on a park bench, with the husband lovingly holding both his wife’s hands. A young woman stopped and looked. She came over and said, “Excuse me, but I couldn’t help but notice how sweet the two of you look, sitting there and holding hands.”
The old lady said, “He’d better, dearie, because the minute he lets go, I'm gonna punch his lights out.”
There’s a couple that understands one another.