Tips for a Happy Marriage
I just love Valentine’s Day! For starter’s, it’s a candy holiday. Second, I happen to look good in red. So it’s a win/win. Plus, come February, we need a little reminder to love each other, because we’re smack dab in the middle of winter, and in the case of my husband Charlie and me, our double-wide is feeling a little close.
That’s what I was thinking on Saturday, sitting in my craft room, hiding from Charlie. He’s been constantly underfoot lately, asking, Where is this or that? Do we have any chips? What time are we leaving for the bean supper? I needed a little break. See, Charlie and the boys haven’t been able to go out snowmobiling as much as they usually do, since they’re hogging all the snow down south. He’s just at loose ends.
So, I’m in my craft room doing a little decoupage, you know, to relax, and my mind starts wandering, like it does. I’m thinking about Valentine’s day, and love and marriage, and that got me to thinking about my goddaughter, Hilary, who’s a newlywed.
Last August, she married Ricky, the love of her life. We were there when they took the plunge. They exchanged vows in their bathing suits! Then they held hands and jumped into Hallowell Pond. I believe everyone has the perfect marriage ceremony for them, and Hilary and Ricky’s celebration suited them to a tee.
Their reception was held outside at the Dugall farm, with wild flowers on the picnic tables and a pig roasting over an open spit. Before the dancing got started, I did a little toast to the happy couple. You know, passing along to them some of my insider marriage tips. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share them you.
Now, Charlie and me have been happily married for forty years. That don’t make me an expert, but it certainly gives me a lot to talk about!
Wives, there may come a time when your husband is getting on your nerves. I mean, he’s breathing too loud. I know this sounds what they call “counter intuitive,” but when Charlie’s irritating the hell out of me, I bake him a batch of his favorite cookies. Doing something nice for him usually turns my mood around. And if it doesn’t, I take a bunch of them cookies into my craft room and shut the door.
That said, husbands, if your wife makes you some of your favorite cookies, you know you’re in trouble. (It took Charlie about twenty years to figure this out, and I want to save you the pain.)
If your wife is moping around the house and you can’t figure out what’s wrong (and asking her what’s wrong is not going to help you here, because she’s just going to say “nothing” and sink deeper into despair because you can’t read her mind). So if your wife is moping around, most likely it’s because of something you did or did not do. Or the cumulative effect of the many things you did or did not do. It don’t matter what, you don’t have to know. Just go up to her, look her in the eye and say, “Sweetheart, I’m sorry.” Then wrap your arms around her and give her a hug. I mean a big bear hug, and say, “I love you.”
Now, this is the pivotal moment. Here’s where a lot of men mess up. I can’t stress this enough. Do not, I repeat, do not break that hug too soon. If you do, all your hard work will go down the drain. How soon is too soon? Well, you can’t go wrong if you just keep hugging. Rub her back. Let her cry into your shoulder. Wait until your wife breaks the hug. Then give her a kiss or two or three. Before you know it, you’ll be eating cookies together.
In closing, my advise for having a happy marriage sounds a lot like what I’d tell a kid going to summer sleep-away camp:
Always say please and thank you.
Do your share of the chores.
Wear clean underwear.
If you mess up, ‘fess up.
And most important, have a good time!
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
(Listen to the podcast of Ida's column here.)