Nelson: Staying married

Jerry Nelson

by Jerry Nelson
Special to the Farm Forum

My wife and I have been married for a long time now and we can’t help but feel that we are hopelessly out of style. Why? Well, I’m ashamed to admit this, but neither one of us has ever been divorced.

Not (according to my wife) that the option hasn’t been seriously considered. This is especially true when I forget about the toilet seat rule and she almost takes a midnight swim.

“So,” you might ask, “What is the secret to a long and happy marriage?” According to all those trashy magazines you see at supermarket checkout counters, there are about a zillion such secrets floating around. Sadly, I have only managed to learn but a few. Even so, I will be glad to share what little knowledge I have gleaned.

One of the things that I have learned over the years is that it’s hard to stay mad at someone who makes you laugh. As a result, I have gotten into the habit of making my wife laugh every day, even if I’m pretty sure I haven’t done anything wrong. There are very few days when my comedic efforts are unnecessary.

Every night, just before we shut off the lights, I will turn to my wife and say, “Hey, Honey, look at this. I have a little something to show you!” And then she will laugh and laugh. Fortunately, hers was a sheltered childhood and all of those old Bazooka Joe comics that I collected as a boy are new to her.

Another valuable tip which will ensure many years of contented matrimony is to never criticize the cook, even if she dishes up a hearty portion of cooked moose entrails.

Moose what? Yup, moose entrails. Thanks to the internet, I recently became aware of a news item which bore a dateline of Oslo, Norway. The story was about a woman who found a ring that she had lost three years earlier. She discovered the ring – and this is the part that only people such as Julia Child can ever hope to understand – while cooking a pot of “wild moose entrails.”

I couldn’t help but wonder. Did that mean that the moose was wild? Or just the bubbling cauldron of entrails?

I know what you’re thinking. You are wondering “Why doesn’t my Significant Other ever do something like that for me?” Well, have you ever asked him or her? Have you ever held that person tenderly and whispered, “Honey, what say we do something different tonight. How about you haul out the big kettle and cook up the abomasum of a large and goofy-looking semi-aquatic herbivore?”

Well, have you? I thought not.

And that leads us to another important aspect of a successful long-term relationship: honesty. I bet that in reality, the lady from Norway had simply forgotten where she had put the allegedly lost ring.

Instead of confessing her absentmindedness, she faked losing the ring in a snowdrift while she was helping her dunderheaded husband push their car out of the ditch. Some years later, she put her hand into one of the far-flung compartments of her labyrinthine purse and – whoops! The ring had been in her purse all along!

Her hubby happened by just then, so the lady deftly flicked the ring into a pot of moose reticulum that was simmering on the stove. Later, while serving up a plateful of yummy moose guts, she “found” the misplaced ring.

The husband was an avid outdoorsman and thus predisposed to believing incredibly tall tales regarding anything outdoorsy. He quickly alerted the wire services, who thought that the whole thing sounded too preposterous NOT to be true so of course they ran with it. You can see how one teensy little fib can quickly spiral out of control.

No doubt the poor woman will eventually be invited to be a guest on Martha Stewart’s TV show. No doubt Martha will ask her to demonstrate her method for recovering lost jewelry from the innards of big game animals. Oh, what a tangled web we weave!

The moral of that story is this: It is OK to forget. A little forgetting is good, nay, essential for a healthy relationship.

For example, if my wife will forget that I nearly caused her to receive a midnight baptism, I will drop my plan to publicly announce her true age on the advent of her next birthday at which time she will reach the advanced age of… um… Gee, I forget.