BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - So the big 34 is here, and it's not my age. It was on June 2, 1984, when I married my wife Jill and we're still together.
What's the secret? As a pastor told me years ago, "If you always remember that it's all about her and not about you, your marriage will last."
That was certainly great advice, but I thought I'd offer up some advice of my own.
So then, may I present (for men only) my 34 tips to help your marriage last:
- Appreciate your wife’s cooking, because she can do it better than the wife next door. I always thought my wife could whip Bobby Flay in a TV competition.
- Always keep the kitchen clean. While your sports room can be caked with Cheetos, your wife does not want to see the dishes piled up when she returns from work. I prefer 409 Lemon to add a clean scent and thus simultaneously score brownie points.
- Do a few loads of laundry on the weekend and complete the process by drying and folding the clothes. Fold them in the bedroom where you can watch the PGA Tour on TV.
- When your wife asks you if she looks good in a dress she just put on, say, “Wow, you are getting my motor running.” If she returns wearing another dress and asks the same question tell her the same thing because you know it’s true.
- Once a month take her car and give it a wash. I use the $7 drive-thru, spend another $1 for the vacuum and clean the inside when I get home. Your wife doesn’t have time to wash her car- she just wants to start it up and drive it.
- 25 years ago I bought my wife a jewelry box for her birthday. Bad choice. Your wife does NOT want a jewelry box, she wants the jewelry that goes in it.
- Stay away from buying your wife a vacuum cleaner for your anniversary. Not only is it not romantic, but it will tell her that her house is a mess.
- I’m not fond of husbands buying trips to day spas and beauty salons for their wives so they can get their hair and make-up done. It’s a subliminal message to her that you believe she can use an upgrade.
- When your wife opens her heart and tells you about a problem she is having with family or work, don’t offer her advice. Your wife doesn’t want advice, she simply wants someone to listen to her and then agree with what she says.
- Always butter up your mother-in-law. If your in-laws love you, your life will be much happier.
- If you have small children, get up early on a Saturday, take the kids out of the house and let your wife sleep late. I used to take my son to Waffle House. Yes, a little strange, but the boys in the family spent time together and chowed down.
- I’m not a fan of buying your wife cut flowers like roses, as they will be dead in a week. You don’t want your wife comparing your marriage to dead flowers. Instead, buy her something she can plant- then every time she looks at it she will think of you.
- Trust your wife’s judgment: When I look back at the advice Jill has given me on just about any subject, she’s been right all the time.
- Clean up the kitchen after every meal while telling her to go and relax. As she retires in the living room or bedroom, you can watch game two of the Cavs-Warriors game while loading the dishwasher.
- Take out the trash, not only from the kitchen but from the garage. Like your wife was going to do it anyway?
- If you take her out to dinner, be sure to be the designated driver. That way she can have a glass or two of wine and you can grab a Budweiser when you get home.
- After she invites her high school or college friends over for an afternoon, never say to your wife upon their departure, “Man, after all of these years, doesn’t Stephanie look hot?”
- Remember that she can have a crush on Brad Pitt or John Snow, but don’t you say a word about Jennifer Lopez or Jessica Alba. Keep those movie star crushes to yourself.
- When out in public together, always make sure that she is in front of you or next to you and immediately introduce her to your friends.
- When you win an Emmy Award and you give your acceptance speech, make sure that you gratefully thank your wife. If you forget, you better win a whole lot more Emmy’s. Heh heh…
- Give her the respect she deserves. Regardless of how hard you think you have worked to make your family strong, your wife has done more.
- When you ask your wife if she has 20 bucks you can borrow and she says, “It’s in my purse”, get ready for your follow-up question: “Where’s your purse?”
- When your wife asks for the brown sugar in the pantry and for the life of you it can’t be found, just find it, because in mere moments your wife is going to walk in front of you, reach up to the second shelf and grab the brown sugar.
- Always make sure that during dinner there is plenty of food for your kids to have second helpings. If you scarf up the last of the mashed potatoes and then your son asks for more, you are in big trouble.
- Always put the toilet seat down and make sure that there is toilet paper on the roll.
- When your wife tells you that is appears that you are losing your hearing, don’t be a wise guy and say, “What?”
- If your wife wants to rent a movie and it’s “Sense & Sensibility” or “The Notebook”, so be it. You can sit through a love story for two hours.
- If you meet your wife at a movie theatre for a 1:40 pm movie, make sure that you tell her the movie starts at 1:20. That way she will arrive on time and you will both be happy.
- Always ask her what she needs at the grocery store. I spend so much time at Publix I can tell you where to locate the canned sardines.
- If you are going out to dinner to celebrate your anniversary, let her pick the restaurant. Heck, you would be happy eating at Chick-Fil-A (my pleasure).
- Give the pets a bath once a month. I know your kids once told you that they would take care of the dog if you bought Sparky, but did you really think that would be the case?
- If your wife wants to watch “Naked And Afraid”, don’t make a fuss even if you are afraid because they are naked.
- If you buy your wife clothes or jewelry for your anniversary may I suggest taking her with you? That way she’s going to get what she wants, not what you think she wants.
- Always check with your wife before posting your 34 marriage tips online.
Back to my top tip: Your marriage is about her, not you. So when times get tough, remember that she's right and you're wrong. Swallow your pride, go to bed happy, and remember that you married way over your head.
There you have it: My real life Rules Of Marriage. Follow these 34 tips and it will be a "Happy Wife, Happy Life" for years to come. By the way - I never could find the brown sugar.