We were visiting with friends the other night and the topic turned, as it often seems to do, to what it takes to have a happy marriage. Yvonne said she feels like we have one of the happiest marriages around. I have to agree, and for my part I attribute this to a consistent application of the “Two simple rules for a long and happy marriage” that I wrote about several weeks ago.
As you would expect, Yvonne has her own set of rules for a happy marriage. I shared her rules in a column about five years ago – a span of time which reaches far beyond the memory capacity of 99 and 44/100ths percent of the readers of this newspaper. And so I am sharing Yvonne’s rules with you again.
As you might expect, her rules are touchy-feely. The overriding principle is, “Treat him like a dog”. Here are Yvonne’s rules.
Rule #1: Always be gentle but firm. Remember, he can be very loving and good company, if well trained.
Rule #2: Keep him on a short leash until you have trained him to stay in his own yard.
Rule #3: Put a dog tag around his neck. If he gets lost you know he won’t ask for directions but maybe someone will find him and bring him home.
Rule #4: Keep him well watered and fed, and if he is well behaved it is okay to occasionally reward him with a special treat.
Rule #5: But be careful with the special treats. You don’t want to spoil him and let him think he can have treats everyday.
Rule #6: When talking about him with friends, always remember to spell treat words – words like “G-O-L-F” and “B-E-E-R”.
Rule #7: When he misbehaves (and you know he will), threaten to take him to the vet for some minor surgery. He will know what that means and should quickly submit to your commands.
Rule #8: Always pay attention to his body language. A vigorous wagging of the tail means he loves you and wants to cuddle. If he gives you that “head down – tail between the legs” look, you will know he has done something wrong. Depending on the miss deed, you may need to consider restricting treats for a week.
Rule #9: When his spirits seem a little down, rub gently behind his ears. This will help him relax, but be careful not to fall for that “Please rub my belly” look, unless you know he has had an especially difficult day.
Rule #10: And finally, never forget that words of praise and strokes of affection will go along way towards keeping him happy.
I have to agree that, for the most part, these rules work. I think I’ll go find Yvonne and give her my “wag of the tail look”.
George Brown is the executive director of Clermont Senior Services.