Tom Gloger as Husband

If you read nothing else on this page, at least skip to the second section.

Rose and I married in 1976, and thus received several red, white & blue bicentennial wedding gifts.  Soon after we were married, we each got the opportunity to learn about computers, she with DEC equipment, and I with Intel equipment.  Once we had progressed to the point where we could begin to share what we'd learned, we were dismayed to discover she'd been taught in octal, and I in hexadecimal.  Married only a few short months, and already incompatible!

Our working life together was interrupted a few years later by the birth of our first daughter.  We decided the best thing was for Rose to stay home with the children, and we'd get by on one income as long as we could.  An expensive arrangement, but we think it was the right one.

A common bit of folk wisdom that was going around when we got married was "Kissing don't last, cooking does."  I'm not so sure.  After more than thirty years of marriage, we still enjoy the hugging and kissing.  In the mean time, guess what's happened to the cooking.  Low calories, low fat, low cholesterol, low sodium...

Our marriage is a happy one, but has not been so without effort on both parts.  I doubt any marriage prospers until both parties are willing to put in more than they get out.  And it doesn't stop.  Even now, I am still learning how to be a good husband.  (Don't tell Rose!  Maybe I can surprise her with it some day.)

Marriage is not a 50-50 relationship, as some might suppose.  Both partners should approach it as a 100-100 relationship, realizing both they and their partner will sometimes fall short of even 50. Both should be willing to fill in what the other is unable to cover.

I used to wonder why the expression "Animal Husbandry," used to describe the act of caring for animals, shared the same root as the word used to describe the man in a marriage.  I think I finally figured it out.  As the farmer must often determine the needs of unspeaking animals, to keep them healthy and strong, so must the husband, given the responsibility as head of the marriage, determine what needs to be done to tend and care for the health of the marriage relationship.  He must actively make sure it gets what it needs, not just to survive, but to thrive.  And without being told!

Women have a need to be loved.  Husband, love your wife.  Wife, be lovable.

Men have a need to be respected.  Wife, respect your husband.  Husband, be respectable.

Yes, this takes quite a bit of effort from time to time.  If you both work at it, it will become easier.

We were told before we married, and I'll pass it on to you as the best piece of advice we ever got:

Don't keep score.

No matter what the other one has done in the past, don't bring it up again later, in fact, don't even think about it.  It sure has worked with us.  At least, I think it has worked for us, at some time or other.  I'm not sure...

Here's one I heard when Montel Williams was a guest on Fox Network's Outnumbered, one that couples should observe when conflict arises:

Speak without offending.
Listen without defending.

Makes sense to me.  There will be conflict, but the object should be neither to win the fight nor to suppress the issue, it is to work together to resolve the issue, and it's easier if each of you takes time to understand what the other wants.

Another one, that while it requires some practice, helps avoid much pain later on:

After you've picked the one you want, stop looking.

In fact, that applies not only to spouses, but also (to a lesser degree) to automobiles, stereos, ice cream flavors, and probably a good many other things as well.

Another, spoken by the father of the bride at the wedding reception, is a light-hearted bit of advice with a solid kernel of truth:

Son, if she tells you that she's hungry, it's already too late.

It sort of ties in with the
section on husbandry, above.

Another good bit of advice is received from a man I'd thought was a life-long bachelor when he announced his engagement, given to me when I was on the road to life-long bachelorhood.

If your wife cries, hold her.

"You don't have to understand it" he said, "just do it."
Here's a few quotes from the Bible that may surprise those who think Christianity somehow gives a husband license to abuse his wife.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.   – Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.   – 1 Peter 3:7

Please note that last one doesn't say women are weaker, it's a figure of speech, to give an example of how their husbands should treat them.

As a collector of quotes, I've run across several good bits of advice on the subject of marriage.  Here's some now:

In every marriage more than a week old, there are grounds for divorce.  The trick is to find, and continue to find, grounds for marriage.   – Robert Anderson

Marriage is no excuse for not loving.   – Andreas Capellanus

It is a great mistake for men to give up paying compliments, for when they give up saying what is charming, they give up thinking what is charming.   – Oscar Wilde

Never marry anyone thinking they will change.  Or that they won't.

A good husband is never the first to go to sleep at night or the last to awake in the morning.   – Balzac

To which I'll add one of my own:

Help your wife with the dishes whenever you can.  It's a great time to talk when the kids aren't around.

OK, just one more:
Usually the husband regards himself as the head of the household, and the pedestrian has the right of way.  And, usually, both of them are safe until they try to prove it.   – Smiles

Here's some tips I find interesting, but I have no idea where I found them.  I don't buy into all of these, but they might work for you.

  1. Say "please" and "thank you."  This shows your partner you appreciate them and keeps you from taking each other for granted.
  2. Grab your partner's butt every day (or at least every other day.)
  3. Kiss every morning!
  4. Say "good morning" every morning.
  5. Cuddle.
  6. Spend at least one night a week with your significant other and family/friends, i.e. don't hole up all by yourselves.
  7. Use baby talk/pet names very sparingly.  If you overuse these, you could damage your relationship since you won't be able to relate to each other seriously.
  8. DO THE DISHES.  Set up some type of system for who does them when.
  9. Practice listening.
  10. Practice honesty, even when it's uncomfortable.
  11. If you and your partner are indecisive about where to eat or which movie to watch, play the "5-3-1" game.  One person names five choices, the other vetoes two of them, and then the first person eliminates the remaining two.  Ta-da, no more "Where do you want to eat?"  "I don't care, where do you want to eat?" (From 8 Relationship Tricks Happy Couples Use)
  12. If you live together, make sure you each still have your own private space where you can retreat to work, think, or partake in bizarre grooming rituals that the other person wouldn't want to see.
What are your "happy couple" tips?

Written by Natalie Gontcharova for

I'm not so sure I found the correct link for the "8 Relationship Tricks" page, but there's interesting things there too.