Into The Night
As of last Monday I've now been married for more years than I was unmarried. And to the same woman, no less. My first (and only) wife is a constant source of amusement, irritation & inspiration. (She's the one who added the "and only" above and edited out "irritation" which I've just put back at my own peril—but I have some amber earrings standing by just in case.)I thought I'd share some of the wisdom I've gained, borrowed or fallen into during my many years of marriage.
MY ADVICE TO MEN: A few years after I was married I went to my friend Kirby's wedding. Before the ceremony I told him my secret to a successful marriage:
1) "Your wife is always right." Years later his wife, Bev, thanked me for giving him that advice—advice which, by that time, I'd forgotten. It's true, though—wives are always right. Even when they're wrong. Men who want a long marriage to a happy wife have to just get over the idea that they might sometimes be right. It may happen once every ten years but you can't make a big deal about it without creating a situation that will eventually require jewelry.
If you think you can be married without this happening to you, then you don't know the female brain. In my experience, women have a frighteningly acute sense of memory, or, failing that, imagination. Everything you say can and will be held against you.A man might think, "I couldn't have checked the spare tire in the trunk because you'd bought that antique anvil coffee-table and had it put on top of the spare," but a woman will come back with, "Yes, but three years ago, right after I got a perm, you came home with the wrong kind of milk which caused..." and somehow, magically, through a process too convoluted for the male brain to comprehend she will have created a logical-sounding path from then to now that points the finger squarely at you.
Men cannot argue with this. Women can clearly remember all the way back to when you first met—what they were wearing and how much they weighed. Men cannot remember what they had for lunch. So don't fight it, and don't take it personally. This is the best possible advice, which someday I'll follow myself.
2) Another important lesson I've learned over the years—women need jewelry. No, it's not a sexist remark. Every race of people since the dawn of time found the time to make jewelry (and usually makeup, too). In the past, males needed it, too. Young men today seem to be realizing this, though I don't think it's necessary for jewelry to go through a person's sensitive parts, but that's another story. Just remember that jewelry is a primal need that must be respected and fulfilled.
I have a few personal theories about the wedding, too. The catchiest: "The bigger the wedding the shorter the marriage." While I'm sure there are people out there who had huge weddings and lived to tell about it, in my experience this isn't the case. Charles and Di. Enough said.My wife and I? We eloped, but only after sending out a few select invitations so that we actually knew everyone at the ceremony. I don't want impressionable young minds to read this and get ideas, but it worked exceptionally well. A wedding is just a few hours. A marriage should last longer.
MY ADVICE TO WOMEN: This is strictly from the husband's point of view, a point which my wife once said was irrelevant (though she denies it and my memory is either bad, or she's made me believe it's bad because it was in her best interest, either way, the results are the same, my memories are negotiable).
3) BE NICE. THAT'S ALL ANY MAN REALLY WANTS. This is the key to getting as well as keeping a man. Remember, we men are simple creatures. Yes, food and sex are good, but we need nice.
4) Don't go to sleep mad. In our many years of marriage we've never gone to sleep mad. We have, however, had to stay up until 8 a.m.
MY WIFE'S ADVICE:
- "Get 'em young, they're easier to train." (I am living proof of that. If I told you how many years we've been married then I'd have to say we were wed as embryos).
- "Retain your sense of mystery." I wish I could explain this in more details, but frankly, it's still a mystery to me.
- "Fatten him up so no one else wants him." If I am any indication, this is remarkably easy to do.
- This one is so secret she wouldn't tell me.
- "Decide if you'd rather be happy or right." Yes, she actually said this. I guess in her case "both" was an option.
- Don't argue when you're hungry—eat first. (This is very true, and perhaps cunningly related to #3.)
- Men take everything as a criticism, even if you're just asking them what time it is. Remember that men are pathetically fragile—that's why women have the babies. (You know I couldn't have made that up.)
- "I'm not giving away any more valuable advice for free."