A guide to marriage


The following essay was produced as part of my 2013 effort for the November National Novel Writing Month effort. As such, please understand that while I did give it a quick review, it has not gone through the same proofreading and editing I normally try to give all of the material posted on this site.

I always make some mistakes. There are errors to be found throughout this web site, and many exist despite dozens of attempts to correct problems. That said, ask that you approach this material in the spirit intended – a basic thought, slightly worked out and very informally researched, delivered in the hopes of writing more than 50,000 words by the end of November.

Thank you.

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A happy wife, a happy life.

We’ve all heard some form of that expression.

Of course… as a husband… I wonder about it. A bit.

Ever heard the joke about fishing? As I recall it goes something like this… at least the basics of it…

A man was shivering, fishing pole in his hand. It was raining. He was wet and cold. A truly miserable day. And as he prepared to cast out his line again, he was heard to say: “Well, at least she’s not here.”

We can debate the exceptions to the rule… the couples where both love camping, both love sports, and, though I have yet to be able to have it officially verified, I suppose it’s even possible there are relationships where both people love cats.

But they are exceptions.

So why is “a happy wife, a happy life” the expression?

Five minutes to arrive at an answer -- I suppose it’s because rhyming “wife” and “life” is easier than rhyming “husband” with “sandwich” or some combination of “football” and “sex” (unless, instead of rhyming, you are allowed to delve into the regions of a haiku… but I haven’t the time for that right now). Overall though, that’s probably not it, and I likely need more than five minutes.

More to the point is probably some deeper investigation of the following…

When Terry wants to know why the dogs are tracking in mud from the yard, she wants to know all sorts of things. She asks if it’s raining… if I checked before letting them romp through the kitchen with muddy paws… and if I know it should be cleaned up then and not in a couple of hours. (Or, more specifically to the muddy floors drying idea, after it has dried and I decide whether or not you need to clean it up because you can still see it).

In general, she wants details. She wants answers. I don’t have the time for that.

When Terry wants to know why the dogs are tracking in mud from the yard, she wants to know if it’s raining… I just want it to be quiet.

We happen to have a nice, large, living room. Over time, Terry and I… along with the dogs… selected our favorite places for settling in, getting a fire going in the fireplace, and watching television.

About eighteen months ago, Terry was trying to get me to change where I sat. She had rearranged some furniture in the living room, and placed a chair near the sofa where she would regularly sit. She asked me to try it out.

It was an effort for us to sit closer to each other. And… sure… so I did.

And it was awful.

The angle to the television was all wrong and distracting. And while part of that might simply have been that it was just different, the chair was not even remotely comfortable for more than ten to fifteen minutes of watching TV. It was a fine, nice chair. Heck, it still is a wonderful chair. Just not a collapse into it and have it give you a hug comfortable.


Back to my regular chair I went.

Last summer Tigg broke her wrist. She had decided it was easier to sit in a different chair instead of her normal spot, but didn’t like the set up around her. So I suggested she try my spot.

And she did.

Suffice to say, as far as her reaction, since that day she and I have not both been in the living room at the same time with me being located in my chair.

It’s hers now.

(And it’s quiet. Which, I suppose, was what I wanted all along.)

Now look… overall I’m kidding about this.

(Not about the chair. That’s actually true. I had a seat that without putting up signs or some crazy “you’re in my spot” claim on it, had more or less become where I liked to sit in the living room. And Terry sits there now. In some crazy way… some crazy, “sure you can wear my sweatshirt” and happily giving it to her and enjoying that she likes it way… I’m happy that she’s happy.)

But the reality is… I’ve got a pretty sweet deal in this whole thing too.

Just turns out that I’m not as concerned about the color of the dining room walls or other assorted decisions that need to be made.

And it’s quiet.

Now… if I could just figure out a way to make purchasing an Aston Martin seem a bit more realistic and sensible, we could really be on to something.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com