With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought I might offer a few suggestions to all of the “guys” out there who’ve recently found their “One and Only” and, perhaps, embarked on what they’re hoping will be a long and happy relationship.
Where to start? My gut tells me that the important thing to remember is that I’m talking to fellow “guys” (who can forget anything) and, therefore, should stick to the KISS principle of advice which states: “Keep It Short and Simple.” And, so. …
OK guys, you’ve found a great lady, settled in, buckled up, and together are ready to face whatever comes your way.
First and foremost: Never lose the thought — no, the belief — that you’ve found a great partner. She’s strong, sensitive, smart, beautiful and obviously willing — as all great women are — to overlook the many foibles, quirks, shortcomings and habits we guys have and seem determined to keep.
Knowing that you have that great partner, whenever you find yourself faced with the problems — large and small — that can jump up and bite you in the butt when you least expect them, learn to tackle them as a team. Talk about them. Get into the details. Look for the causes. Search for solutions. And, no matter what happens, always remember that the goal is to fix the problem, not the blame. The former keeps things focused. The latter leads to disasters untold.
Next, always make time for her — even if it’s Game Seven of the World Series, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, score tied, two outs, their best hitter coming up, and you have a hefty bet on the game. Let her know that, just as it was when you were courting her, she’s your first priority. Hit “record” and come back to the game later.
Never let your job, your hobby, or anything else crowd her out. Do this and you’ll be banking a boatload of forgiveness for those times when we “guys” — knowingly or (far more likely) unknowingly — behave badly. And, trust me, we can behave badly. In precisely the wrong place and at precisely the worst moment. We are masters of this.
Learn to be the first to apologize when feelings have been hurt. Yep. First. Do it. Apologize. No excuses. Really. Neither is it as hard as it sounds nor will you require testosterone supplements after so doing. If it’ll help you to do this, try remembering the words of Ogden Nash: “Whenever you’re wrong, just admit it. Whenever you’re right, shut the hell up.”
If things progress to marriage, remember that “you don’t marry the person you can live with, you marry the person you can’t live without.” Remind her frequently that you still believe this. Doing so will smooth out a lot of bumps along the way.
In the same vein, never keep score of who’s doing what, when, where, or how much. If you did the dishes last night, good on you. Same with making the bed, cleaning the yard, or picking up your smelly workout gear. Just do it and go on about your day. The rewards for so doing will come your way more quickly than you can imagine.
Next, and on a minor note, get used to the idea that it’ll be your job now and forevermore to investigate every noise in the night, dispose of the garbage under the sink, and — at 3 a.m., in pajamas, and while it’s pouring rain — get up to close the car widows that were left open when you came in from the party. Simply accept the job without bitching, moaning or even considering asking her to do it “this time” and everyone will be the happier for it.
Finally, random acts of chocolate — good chocolate, dark chocolate, expensive chocolate — will earn you plenty of the goodwill that you’ll be needing during all the years you’re together.
Note: For all of the guys out there who’ve not yet found that special woman, cut this piece out and put it away in a place where you can find it when you do. I’d suggest placing it in your tackle box, liquor locker, gun safe or taped to the inside of your cell phone protector.
And, since Wednesday is Valentine’s Day (you forgot, didn’t you?), get the chocolate. Now. Flowers are never a bad idea either. Roses are always good. Vary the colors.
Larry Simoneaux lives in Edmonds. Send comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.