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The secret to a happy marriage

 In 2015, marriage is as disposable a commodity as that HP bargain desktop computer you got at Best Buy. When the warranty runs out after two years, it goes in the trash can, or recycle place if you are green to the bone (God bless you Al Gore – you saint of a man!).

Let’s start where the man hangs his head… the home. The house belongs to the woman. You get half the garage, one closet, and your night stand. The rest belongs to her. That is written in stone. The sooner you connect the dots, the quicker you can begin trying to stop the invasion of your 3 spaces. Don’t bother to suggest color schemes, furniture replacement, or anything other than kitchen stuff you personally will use. It is perfectly okay to take over all cooking chores, just clean it all up afterward.

Shopping to the female side of your marriage is like hunting or fishing to the male side. Understand this compulsion to shop and honor it and she will reward you by saving you tons of money on the incredibly clever deals she made. Always marvel and compliment her amazing shopping skills. Avoid shopping with her, as you don’t know a good deal from a bad one and the experience is negative for her and you on at least 5 levels.

A common conversation will go something like this, “Honey, guess how much I paid for this?” She will hold up a garment of some sort and frankly I have no idea what it is or what it costs. However, because I am a man who knows his limits, I will automatically say something inflated, like: “110 dollars?”

“No!” She says this with as much melodrama as an Academy Award nominee. “The label was for $129 and you know how much I paid for it (and subsequently saved me money)?

“$89?” I wisely say, raising my shoulders in question to show I am deeply involved in solving this masterful example of shrewd horse trading.

“NO!  I paid just $37.12 and I got two of them!” Blam! Now comes the kicker and I am well trained. “You realize how much money I saved you?” My grin at her exuberance could only be larger if I was intoxicated.

The female side of your relationship needs constant affirmation of commitment and fidelity, but will adamantly deny this. Tell her you love her often and prove it by doing all the stuff she dreams up for you to do. Do not expect to collect on this, even though all women swear they award their husbands lavishly after they do home improvement. Play the lotto instead for rewards, as your odds are often better.

This has always puzzled me; this bizarre phenomenon of tasks in the queue. I never, ever have something lined up for my Bride to do, but there is a never ending list of things I am supposed to accomplish to make her world more perfect.  Here is an example of such goings on: “Lowe’s has bark mulch on right now 10 bags for $10.”

Translation? Go to Lowe’s as many times as is needed and each time come home with 10 bags.  The sooner the better or you will hear this until the sale is off and then it will be, “We should have bought that bark mulch while it was on sale.”  Never mind that the trunk of her vehicle will hold 10 bags.

Our yard is a National Wildlife and Texas State Wildscape and has been since applying for it 20 years ago.  We have a lot of stuff growing in our yard and this provides copious fodder for trimming I need to do.  I usually put it off until I’ve heard about it at least 5 times. This means I only have to do major shrub trimming 3 times a year instead of 4 or more.

The Texas Wildscape sign was made of plastic and it was so badly warped, I broke it up and put it in the recycle bin, but left behind 4 screws which were promptly pointed out to me. Now I could live with those 4 screws just fine and if they bothered my Bride that much, she could get the cordless screwdriver and remove them, but then again how could she pass up an opportunity to have something for me to do if she did it herself?

My oft reply to her list of honey-do’s goes something like this, “When I was taking specialty classes on how to install (insert whatever here), they didn’t cover that aspect.”  In other words, I have no education on said task, so why am I being singled out for a project she is just as capable of participating in and accomplishing?

“The toilet is running again. The electrical wall socket in the bathroom is all wiggly. The bulb is burned out in my closet.” All require the attention of someone else and the sooner he gets it, the smoother his life will be.  Resistance is futile, as all it does is cause a rerun of the same strategy.  I want to qualify my assertions here. I will soon be married for 38 years and everything I’ve written is the truth and the sooner the male side of the partnership plugs in, the better the chances are of staying happily married.


Anonymous said…
Dandy Don Cunningham‎

Bert, I just read your column in The Baytown Sun this morning and it was awesome! The advice you gave in "The secret to a happy marriage" is right on the money. Our wives ask for so little and when we meet those needs, it makes them so happy. After the many years that you both have been married, you know her well enough to know what she likes and dislikes. You can anticipate that and do things before she has to ask. That really is a blessing to her. Of course, when you make Jesus the head of the household and your marriage, that just tops it all, and I know you both do that. God bless you both with many more happy, joyful years of marriage, and thank you for sharing this testimony of what it takes.
Anonymous said…
Julia Taylor: This is good and I can see why your marriage has lasted. Great prospective . Love it. Thanks for sharing .
Anonymous said…
Sarah Pemberton Graham: Im 34 and August 18th will be celebrating 15 years of marriage. It is forever....
Your article is great although in my house he may get a honey~do list, I always find a "Secretary, pay~bill, call this person, grab this at the store LIST" lololol
and I smile and get to work!!.... on the List
Anonymous said…
Susan Bulgier McGuyer: How about a column by Mrs. Bert, giving her side.....all the quirky little things that men do? Can't wait.
Anonymous said…
Stan Roby: Ain't that the truth!
I have a slight modification to the shopping part: When she asks "which (insert article of clothing here) looks better?" ... just smile. smile emoticon
Anonymous said…
Deb Farrington Hearn: Marriages would last longer if men figured this out sooner. Maybe you could teach a class to young men before they tie the knot.
Anonymous said…
Stan Roby: It all boils down to this: "Happy wife, happy life!"
Anonymous said…
Laci Michelle:

Spot on, hilariously accurate. Bert Marshall, your articles always make me giggle, then ponder some, then giggle again.

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