Humorous advice for a successful marriage for young men from an oldie....but shamefully far from PC !
“What’s the secret of a happy marriage uncle Dan?” the lad asked. I’ve always felt guilty about avoiding his question with the flippant reply, “Well if I told you, it wouldn’t be a secret.” I should have been more supportive of the newly engaged. So to put matters right I feel that I should proffer some useful tips to the young fellows of today contemplating that big step. My baby photographs were sepia prints, so maybe I have been around long enough to dispense marital wisdom.
Let me get straight onto the subject of sex, while I still remember. It was much simpler when I was younger. If she fancied a romantic evening, I would pop into the off-licence and pick up a bottle of wine and a box of chocolates. However, since the publication of Fifty Shades of Grey, she might be expecting you to stop off at the garage for a tow rope, and a roll of duct tape. Don’t be afraid to ask her about her preferences in the bedroom — never presume you know. During the height of the Chippendales' fame I thought she would be impressed if I made an effort. So one night I removed my thermal vest, put on the bow tie I wore at my wedding, and rubbed a generous quantity of baby oil into my upper torso. Unfortunately the copious amount of thick grey chest hair matted so much it looked like a squirrel had come in from the rain and was clinging to me for warmth. ‘You thought it made you look sexy?’ she choked. Then her hysterical laughter carried on until breakfast. I was deflated — on many levels. So let that be a lesson chaps — always ask what she fancies. It might only be beans on toast and another cup of coffee. But hey ho, there’s always tomorrow.
Now comes the biggie. Very few get this right. So listen up. If she calls you upstairs to pass judgement on dresses she’s trying on, never use words such as great, very nice, terrific etc. Great is, ‘Are you being sarcastic?’ or, ‘You don’t think it is good enough do you?” For very nice read, “You think this one’s nothing special then.” And terrific is definitely, “It is over the top, and you think I look like a tart.” So don’t use any words at all. When she asks “What about this one?” just blow her a kiss and breathe heavily. Alternatively wink and make that clicking sound with your mouth. She won’t try to interpret those. It works every time. Never ever try to inject humour into this highly charged scenario. On one occasion we were going out to the theatre, and my wife asked me what I thought of the new figure-hugging dress she was wearing. I said, “Wow, that is the one.” Thinking I wasn't being honest she said, “But?” I responded with, “Yes that does rather let you down.” We never saw the play and it took the sale of most of my CD collection to cover the bills from Thorntons and Interflora.
Always treat her with equal respect, and never question a woman’s right. She is capable of carrying out any task traditional to men. But that doesn’t mean you can buy her an electric drill for her birthday — unless you want to encounter a woman’s left.
When you open the fridge and the beer is all gone, and only 48 pots of Greek yoghurt remain, do not shout from the kitchen, “Why can’t we just let the European Union sort out their ruddy deficit!” Instead pop round to the off licence and buy another four cans yourself. Food can be an emotive subject, and it is not worth sleeping on the sofa all week just for a cheap jibe and avoiding a five minute stroll down the road.
She will insist you stand guard outside the changing room when she is shopping for clothes. She doesn’t really want you there constantly moaning — no more than you want to be there. To your left the next occupied cubicle will have a curtain not fully drawn, and to your right will be racks of bras and knickers. As you gaze skywards intently surveying the Z beams holding up the roof, behind you, two amused girl assistants will be scoring your discomfort level against other men observed that day. This is when you can be a good husband, and also improve your wife’s shopping experience. Just pick one of the bras from the rack, and call out to her, “Darling I’m looking at the bras for you. Do you prefer the Sheer Glossies or the Agent Provocateur? What did you say your size was?” I assure you, not only will you be leaving the store very swiftly, but your good lady will enjoy shopping alone so much more in the future.
Tell her you love her every day. Not the ‘I love you — I love you too,’ ritual. Keep up the practice even after many years have passed. And be sincere. Creep round the back of her chair, softly kiss her neck, and whisper gently into her ear, “Darling, I love you.” If she does something similar after ten years of marriage, surreptitiously remove her wine bottle — she’s definitely had her three glasses for the evening. To really guarantee a lasting happy relationship, regularly use those three little words women always long to hear — ’You’ve lost weight.’
It is these thoughtful touches and demonstrations of affection that will ensure your marriage will always be very happy. Heaven only knows what your poor wife's experience of it will be though.