I was sitting in the kitchen just drinking my coffee and pondering, when it occurred to me that after many years of marriage, what have I learned that would be helpful to young men just starting out on the wonderful and rewarding endeavor of matrimony? You know, things I had to learn the hard way that could help them avoid similar pitfalls. In short, what advice would I impart to them.
It comes down to just one thing fellas. Get yourselves a lot of “atta boys” to cover the accursed “AW SHITS!” that are certain to come your way.
Let me begin by dispelling a myth some of you might believe. Don’t think for a minute that you are going to be an exception to this. As sure as God made little green apples, you will draw upon this friendly advice a lot sooner than you think. And secondly, understand that this rule is quite fluid and subject to change at the whim of the fairer sex. But at least this will give you some guidelines that may make married life easier. For the sake of emphasis in this post, atta boys will heretofore be in lower case and AW SHITS in uppercase.
Let’s start with atta boys. These are moments when by some act of commission on your part, your wife says something like “thank you, honey, that was sweet.” This is an atta boy moment and should be highly valued by you. Now, to be sure, she may not always verbalize it, so if you have even the slightest indication that it might have been an atta boy moment, ask! Get her to affirm it. You’ll be thankful later.
Even acts of omission can be important. For example: your wife comes back from a hair salon appointment crying and says “she butchered me, I hate this haircut!” Give her a big hug, but say nothing! Believe me, “it doesn’t look that bad” is not a compliment and entering into this world is fraught with peril. You may not get a confirmed atta boy from your silence, but I guarantee you have avoided an AW SHIT that could spell disaster.
There is some good news here. Fortunately for men, women inherently do not have the highest of expectations of us. Yes, they might say that they expect nothing but the best from us, but deep down, they don’t really believe it’s possible. Therefore, some of the smallest acts of kindness and consideration can merit an atta boy. Helping carry in the groceries – definitely an atta boy. Picking up your clothes – atta boy. Emptying the dishwasher – big time atta boy. Making the coffee in the morning – can’t go wrong there. Going with her to the PTA meeting – excellent atta boy. It’s amazing how the simplest things that a woman does without a thought throughout a normal day can garner us atta boys whenever we do them.
Hint #1: get as many of these coveted atta boys as you possibly can on a daily basis. You”ll understand why in the next paragraph.
Now the bad news. It only takes one AW SHIT to wipe out all the atta boys you have built up that day. For example: you have been the model husband all day and piled up a vast number of atta boys. Later that evening you spill your beer all over her newly upholstered couch. That, my friend, is a major AW SHIT and will cancel out those atta boys faster than you can hit Ctrl/Alt/Del. Should you be so unfortunate as to have more than one AW SHIT in a day, you will be scratching around for atta boys for the next several days just to get back to even.
Hint #2: (There is no such thing as minor AW SHITS).
Even more bad news. AW SHITS carry over, atta boys do not! If, unfortunately, you ended the previous day with an AW SHIT, negating all your atta boys, but think you can cruise through the next day with little concern about atta boys, immediately dissuade yourself of that notion. Don’t wallow in how unfair this is, as it will only impede your quest to rise out of the depths. That’s just the way it works. And yes, Prince William did have to learn this about Kate. This aspect of marriage applies to all levels of society, even royalty.
Hint #23: Don’t ever, ever get an AW SHIT for the same offense twice. You would need an extremely rare “you’re the best husband in the history of the world” type atta boy to overcome it. This is an extremely uncommon occurrence and invariably involves very expensive jewelry.
Well, I suppose I could go on with more examples and advice about what to do and what not to do, but in truth, it’s really quite dependent on each individual marriage. You will learn slowly what your wife considers an atta boy, but very quickly what she considers an AW SHIT.
I’ll leave you with this paraphrase of a famous axiom used in AA, “one AW SHIT is too many and fifty atta boys is not enough.” You will thank me later.
Oh no! I just now heard my wife coming home and I forgot to clean up my mess in the kitchen. AW SHIT!!