Marriage couch bed

Courtesy Jim Lord, Creative Commons 2.0,

Marriage Experience?

After 24 years of marriage, I am well qualified to write this piece. In fact, I have accidentally angered my loving wife in 10 seconds flat so many times I have lost count. I’m not bragging, but even as amazing and wonderful as I am (snort), I still step into hot water from time to time, even when I’m completely partially innocent! 

Below are five quick ways to earn a free night at the 3 cushion motel:

1)  Tell her to calm down – To get the full effect, do when she’s already red in the face or digging her manicured nails into her palms. Your wife has the uncanny ability to respond to your words exactly the opposite of the way you intended. Try it! Other ones that work are “You still look almost as good as you used to”, “I don’t see what you’re getting so upset about…”, or “Huh, must be that time of the month”. Expect a response something along the lines of “If you tell me to calm down again someone will have to pull me off you before I kill you”.

2)  Politely ask “You’re not going to have dessert again, are you?” – This one works best in front of her best friend, your co-workers or her mother or mother-in-law. Possible reactions include a look that is illegal in 22 states and four Canadian provinces, a swift kick, a punch in the ribs or the most dangerous of all – silence.

Marriage draws out powerful magic entwined in her DNA makes it possible for your words and your very physical presence to evaporate before her. Men have tried to find shortcuts to break this spell, but it remains solely in the will of the caster to reinstate you. Some of you are still trying…relax, she’ll need you to lift something eventually.

3)  Ask “How much did that cost?” – Do this when she is excitedly modeling a new dress upon her triumphant return from the mall wars. Men, picture a Viking proudly holding up the head of the enemy king and his wife reacting by pointing out that he got his chain mail dirty and it’s going to be a real pain to get it clean. Same thing, reverse the sexes.

Oh, and don’t make the mistake of thinking her finding the dress was any easier than killing the enemy king, taking the One Ring to Mordor, or grilling that cheap steak you burned last week.

4) Stare blankly – This one is insidious because you have committed the infraction before you realize it. Your mind is somewhere else (let’s face it, its not hard to catch us this way….) and suddenly your wife shares a decorating idea. You are watching a ball game, thinking about your putting, or wondering if you sent that email yesterday and there it is: 

“Won’t this mauve veil thingy sconce deal look great in the sitting room?”

Struggling to remember which room is the sitting room, you’re done. It’s over.  You delay….too late. “Well, I guess you think all my ideas are stupid….”

Your options now? Agree with her, “Yes, I love mauve” (somewhat disingenuous because you don’t know what mauve is and neither do I; Disagree, “No, mauve is hideous” (you’re already in the woods, may as well set them on fire); Or, attempt a more eloquent response:  “Oh, I was just thinking that may look good in….uh (struggle to remember name of room where TV sits)…the family room.” Depending on how long you delayed before conjuring this response, this could illicit a thoughtful “hmmmm” or, if you delayed too long, “Do you always have to argue with me?”.

This is a dangerous game – be careful. Consider paying more attention next time HGTV is on.  

5)  Choose Sports – Comment to her that you are surprised she forgot that the Bulldogs, Saints, Patriots, etc. are playing against Elusive State today so, no, you won’t be ________ for her. For the true sports fan, this could have side benefits. Want some quality time to watch Monday Night Football? No problem, handle whatever she says in response to your marriage gaffe above poorly and you’ll get to sleep on the couch and doze through the entire game! You may even get to see the Ice Fishing Rodeo Finals on Tuesday night at 11pm and the Dune Buggy Championship from Dubai Wednesday night.

Extending to Thursday Night Football before your humble repentance could have longer term implications…Do whatever is necessary to earn the right to sleep in the same room with your loving spouse instead of the doghouse before kickoff.

Man and The Best Marriage

Let’s face it. If you’re in a marriage or single, draw breath and deal with the fairer sex, you are going to screw up. Guaranteed. The thing that makes our relationships work in spite of stupidity? A bit of humility and a soft heart. If you must choose between being “right” and being happy, choose happy (and realize you were at least a little bit wrong….just a little bit).

Married men, you probably have tips of your own to quick trips to the couch, doghouse or other. What’s that? You don’t? Liar. Please share your mistakes in the comments below! Your pain will make us all feel better.




Jeff McKinney
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Jeff McKinney

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Jeff McKinney
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