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Volume xviii, Issue 6 ~ February 11 - February 17, 2010

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Happily Ever After

One guy’s guide to marital bliss

by Allen Delaney

As I was growing up, I often heard my father mumble under his breath. This often happened when the car or lawn mower wouldn’t start, but mostly after my mother complained about something he didn’t do correctly or didn’t do at all.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I got the privilege of hearing one of Dad’s murmurings. I was visiting my parents, and Mom was serving lunch on the backyard deck. When my father asked for ketchup, she ranted, as she went in to retrieve the bottle, that she never served ketchup with whatever it was we were having.

“What’s that you’re saying?” she demanded.

“Nothing, Dear,” I answered.
“I was just thinking out loud about what I needed to get
done this weekend.”

“Gee, Dad, didn’t you know you’re supposed to read her mind?” I asked. Under his breath, but loud enough for me to hear, he mumbled, “There’s not a lot to work with.” I fell to the ground holding my sides as my mother was inside, yelling, “I know you’re out there talking about me!”

It was, I realized, that most of the times my father had mumbled, he was actually cussing, albeit very quietly, at my mother. That explained how they remained married for 56 years.

I’ve never forgotten that unintentional lesson I learned so many years ago. During my marriage, I have done and continue to do a lot of my own mumbling.

On a rare occasion when I remembered to empty the trash without being cattle-prodded — a Nobel Prize-winning feat if I do say so — my wife snatched victory out of my hands. On coming home, she headed for the trash can, demanding to know why it was empty.

Under my breath, I mumbled, “Because I gift-wrapped the trash and sent it to your mother.”

Out loud I said, “I brought it to the dump. Why?”

She ranted and raved that she needed a sales receipt for some article of clothing she had purchased and why, of all the dumb things, did I have to empty the trash today? It was even worse since the size she bought turned out to be too small.

“Perhaps if you had kept the receipt in your purse you wouldn’t have this problem,” I mumbled.

“What’s that you’re saying?” she demanded.

“Nothing, Dear,” I answered. “I was just thinking out loud about what I needed to get done this weekend.”

Had I not mumbled, I would have been dodging a flying trash can. The truth is, my wife knew it was her fault that the receipt was headed for the landfill; she just needed to deflect the fault to someone else. I’m pretty sure that’s why women get married.

So for all you guys out there who are engaged, I encourage you to start mumbling if you want a long and happy marriage.

If you’re already married, and you’re not currently mumbling, begin to do so today. You may just make it to 56 years, or more, of wedded bliss.

However, there are certain phrases that should never be mumbled. Those are, I’m sorry, You’re right and, of course, I love you.

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