For a happy marriage, you may not want to read this
Burt's Eye View
Ten years ago this month, two kids barely in their 40s (we were about to turn 50) stood before a congregation full of witnesses and said those famous matrimonial words:
“Sure, why not?”
No, no, no. Like I said, we were hitting the half-century mark. There was no time to waste on wisecracks.
We needed to wrap up this ceremony before any senior moment flare-ups sent us wandering down hallways while we tried to remember how we ended up at church on a Saturday afternoon. We practically shouted, “I will.”
We still do. When we’re not wandering parking lots trying to remember where we left the car. And the spouse.
The other day, a newly minted groom asked the secret to a long and happy marriage. I don’t know. It’s only been a decade.
I have learned a few obvious tips, like give her presents that let her know how special she is. If you don’t have a clue what that would be — who among us hasn’t faced that dilemma? — there are handy traditional-anniversary-gifts-by-the-years charts.
For example, the second year is cotton anniversary, the fifth year is wood and the ninth is pottery. Don’t ask me why. Be grateful for the hints.
The first few years, I diligently stopped at gas stations and grocery stores on our special day to buy her flowers in a bucket. The cotton bucket was the trickiest.
This year was really special. I treated Terry to a brake job on her car and got her tickets to a congressional debate. It snagged the iron, copper, steel, graphite, paper and politics anniversaries in one swoop. She wasn’t as thrilled as I thought.
Here are a few other tips to maintain wedded bliss:
• I know the Biblical admonition about doing for others as you’d have them do for you. This does NOT apply to wives.
I hate it when people pester me about my thoughts and feelings and junk like that. I’ll talk when I’m ready. Until then, leave me alone.
To show how much I loved her, I extended that same courtesy of silence to Terry and never asked her about her day or why steam was rolling out her ears. Apparently, that’s wrong.
I know it doesn’t make sense, but ask her anyway.
• Yes, I know she could put the toilet seat down herself. Do it anyway.
• Do your blood pressure a favor — learn the new places where all your stuff is kept. I tried to explain my system, but hers is more logical. Don’t ask me why. It just is.
• I know why I chose Terry, but I still can’t figure out why she let herself get stuck with me. As the great philosopher Henny Youngman put it: “We were married for better or worse. I couldn’t have done better and she couldn’t have done worse.”
Definitely don’t ask her why. Rejoice in your great fortune.
• The great philosopher Maryon Pearson observed: “Behind every successful man is a surprised woman.” Keep surprising her. In a good way, I mean.
• Most important of all, even if grates against your nature, do this anyway: “To keep your marriage brimming; With love in the loving cup / Whenever you’re wrong, admit it; Whenever you’re right, shut up.” (Ogden Nash)
— Tell Cole how to survive the next 10 years at burtseye firstname.lastname@example.org, on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.