Log In

Reset Password

Inside Looking Out: Wisdom for the soon to be wedded

An engaged couple walks into a room to seek advice from experts who are going to try to win over the attention of this engaged young man and woman who want to stay married and be in love for the rest of their lives.

The couple takes an audience seat in front of a married couple, a best-selling author of a book titled, “Five Steps to a Happy Marriage,” and a divorced man. They introduce themselves to Brian and Betsy, who have set their wedding date for three weeks from today.

“We’re Michael and Melissa,” says Michael. “We were high school sweethearts and we’ve now been married for 43 years,” says his wife, Melissa.

“My name is Edward,” says the author holding his book up so Brian and Betsy can see it. “My book contains proven research and studies about marriage and relationships from the last five years.”

“Yo, Mr. Barnes and Noble,” says the divorced man glaring at Edward. “They got three weeks before they tie the knot and you want them to read a book in their spare time?” He looks at the couple who are squirming in their chairs.

“I’m Bob. Been married for 38 years, if you add them all up.”

“To three different women, I’ve been told,” says Edward with a sneer.

“We go first!” says Melissa. “Michael does so much for me without me asking. He cooks and cleans. Just yesterday, he vacuumed the house, washed the bath tubs, and scrubbed the toilets.”

“Oh, how lovely,” says Bob. “I drank beer and watched football in my first time on the merry-go-round. When my wife came to vacuum the rug by the couch, I had to lift my legs for her to get underneath. That wasn’t easy, you know.”

You remind me of that song called, “Three Times a Lady,” says Edward to Bob. “Well, how about we change the title to ‘Three Times a Loser.’”

Melissa cuts in. “Marriage is about helping. We raised three beautiful children and Michael changed diapers, took the kids to sporting events, ran them to the doctor when they got sick. He’s been so terrific!” She flutters her eyes at her husband.

“Geez,” says Bob. “What we got here is a living Hallmark card.”

“My book,” says Edward will give you a 10-step approach to better communication.”

“Oh, you don’t need a book for that,” says Bob. “My wives used the 10-step approach, too. That’s how many steps it took for them to get away from me after we were finished arguing. We lived by the Slam the Door Three Day Rule of marriage. Once I heard the door slam, that meant they weren’t talking to me for three days.”

Melissa says, “Oh, that’s not like us. Michael opens every door for me all the time. The car door, the store door, even the garage door when he comes out of the house to bring in the groceries.”

“Sounds to me that he forgot to open one more door,” says Bob. “That would be the back door to kick you out.”

“Hey Mikey man,” Bob continues. “I don’t hear you saying much over there. Why’s that?”

Michael slumps into his chair. “Happy wife, happy life.” He starts whistling Dixie.

“So, after you master the steps to communication,” says Edward, “then you read chapter five about the keys to staying in love.”

“Oh, I’m the expert of that topic,” says Bob. “Look at these two lovebirds over there. When they were in high school, you think they knew anything about love? I’m past 60 years old and I still don’t know. I married every woman I fell in love with and you see how that worked out. Bob looks at Michael again.

“Now, you listen to me, Mr. Tidy Bowl Toilet Cleaner man. You got to change you’re tune. Don’t be whistling Dixie. You gotta sing (in tune with the song) ‘I Hate Myself for Loving You.’”

“I beg your pardon,” says Melissa. “Michael is very happy with me, aren’t you my dear?”

He looks at Bob. “Happy wife, happy life.”

“You and me got to go out for few drinks, Mr. Happy Life. Christmas is coming. Buy her a new vacuum, put the directions on the top of the box and draw an arrow where she should plug it in. Then here’s what you say, ‘Suck it up, honey. I’m outta here!’”

“Now that’s unfair,” said Edward. “Women should not do all the housework. Michael is taking the responsibility as he should to be a good husband. That’s chapter seven in my book.”

Brian raises his hand. “We have to be going soon. Can we please hear closing comments from all of you?”

“Marriage lasts when two people grow together, raise a family and support each other,” says Melissa. She pokes Michael in the side. “Happy wife ...” His open mouth is frozen. Melissa pokes him in the side again.

“My book has been read by hundreds and hundreds of couples just like you,” says Edward. “If you buy this copy for just $18.95, I will sign it and guarantee you will live happily ever after.”

“I have no clue about how to have a happy marriage,” says Bob, “but I’m an expert about unhappy ones. My advice is to follow the Don’t Do Like Bob Rule.

“Don’t put anyone above your spouse, not your friends, not even your children. Don’t go to bed angry or leave the house that way. When you argue, and you will argue, stay on the topic and don’t insult each other. Most importantly, 10, 20 years from now, when you look at each other with older eyes, don’t ever forget what your eyes will say to each other on your wedding day.”

Brian and Betsy smiled. As they turned to leave, they looked back and shouted, “Thanks, Bob!”

Rich Strack can be reached at richiesadie11@gmail.com