While I'm away, readers give the advice.
Simple tips for how to cultivate a long and happy marriage
Anywhere, USA: On a marriage that will probably never end up on life support the way so many others do:
You know, it's not that difficult to keep another person's bucket full.
A thank you here . . .
A quick chat at work there . . .
A "Hey, my fantasy football is really something I can put aside to concentrate fully on this baby" over there . . .
And even a "Wow, my wife's so hot it kind of turns me on when she shows the rest of the world what I have all to myself" everywhere . . .
It's really not difficult. I'm a husband. I know I'll die someday. I'll take every chance I can to connect with, interact with, cater to, flirt with and ogle at my wife that I can. It comes back to me, and it's all good! And it's all really easy.
Tucson: On another such marriage — a.k.a. "a couple of thoughts from an old guy":
Here are a few rules I try to live by, and believe me, I'm no husband of the year:
1. In relationships, the little things are the big things. I say please and thank you a lot to my wife when she does the dishes that I usually do, or takes care of an errand I usually do. If I clean the litter boxes (which she usually does), she thanks me. It shows respect and appreciation, which are essential for a marriage to last. I don't say "I love you" a lot; neither of us does. But we do thank each other often, and "please" is part of our house vocabulary.
2. Take 100 percent responsibility for your part in any conversation. That means instead of "I didn't say that," you acknowledge that you did say that (maybe you really did — we all misspeak), not in a passive-aggressive manner, but that you truly believe that you did. Then you can add, "What I should have said was . . ." I've learned this defuses many hot issues.
3. I'm a "have to fix it" guy when my wife has a problem. One day, long ago, I had no fix, so I sat there and listened. Afterward, my wife thanked me profusely for just listening. I didn't think I did anything. But I did a lot by keeping my mouth closed and my ears open. Such a concept!
4. When I mentioned I was going to write you, my wife commented that when she came in at the end of the day, I got up from the couch and went over and kissed her. Just that. I never really thought it was a big deal, but to her it really is.
I wish I had known all this stuff 38 years ago when we got married. Then again, I did learn it and, obviously, I'm still learning. Makes me wonder what else I'm missing! But at least I try.
I tell teenage guys to marry women smarter than they are; fortunately for them, that won't be difficult.