This Tuesday, June 11, my beautiful bride and I will have been married for exactly 30 years. Although, come to think of it, I probably shouldn't be quite that specific. Now everyone in Gwinnett County knows my PIN number.
Young guys ask me all the time, how do you make a marriage last? The simple answer is, don't get divorced. But a better answer is that you have to find ways to keep the romance alive -- and as a husband, that duty will fall mostly to you.
This topic is addressed thoroughly in my new book, "Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility," which I will be signing at Books for Less by the Mall of Georgia this coming Saturday, just in time for Father's Day. The following is an excerpt from Chapter 2, "Romance and the Family Man."
It is vital that you never stop romancing your wife. Well, OK, you should stop for a few minutes when the kids walk into the room. But remember that ongoing romance is one of the key factors in making a relationship work. Many experts say so, and the fact that quite a few of them have been divorced at least once is probably irrelevant.
Think of your relationship with your wife as a tender young plant that must be constantly fed and nourished in order for it to bloom and grow. If you're one of those guys who has killed every green thing he's ever touched, then come up with your own metaphor. Or consider hiring a good lawyer.
I think romance is important to a marriage for several reasons. First, it strengthens the bond between husband and wife by enabling them to recapture the affection they felt for each other when newly in love. This can offset years of watching each other apply underarm deodorant.
Secondly, romantic attention from you will help your wife feel better about herself, which in turn can have a positive effect on the peace and tranquility of your home. I mean, what woman, having spent fourteen hours juggling the demands of insistent supervisors, screaming toddlers, and capricious teenagers, doesn't long at the end of the day for her husband's loving caress? (Note to my wife: don't answer that.)
Finally, romantic interludes, or "dates," provide a great excuse for breaking free of the confines of home. Don't worry about the kids. You can simply entrust them to the care of some seventeen-year-old babysitter that you've never met and who might, for all you know, belong to a sun-worshipping cult.
Like many men, you may have been accused of lacking romantic sensibilities. If you resent that accusation, despite the fact that it's probably true, then it's time for you to crank up the romance. That will earn you the undying love and devotion of your wife.
Or, at the very least, she probably won't leave you.
Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and author of "Family Man: The Art of Surviving Domestic Tranquility," available at Books for Less in Buford and on Amazon. E-mail Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit familymanthebook.com.