Don’t Call Me Ma’am …………… And Other Fine Print in My Marriage Vows

Recently my wife and I celebrated our three month wedding anniversary. Although we had dated for a year before marriage, there is, as I soon discovered, still much to learn about one another. One topic recently discussed dealt with why women have a love affair with pillows. The fact that pillows number in the double digits upon our master bedroom bed prompted a debate, which I soon lost. My new bride made the observation that I had obviously failed to read the fine print in our marriage vows. Said fine print being that the husband shall not complain about the number of pillows upon any bed in our home.

Since that defeat, I have spent many a restless night, tossing and turning until late one night, sitting straight up in bed – amongst a sea of pillows – a moment of enlightenment hit me upside the head like a ball peen hammer. I finally realized the source of my insomnia……..an unanswered question…….What else is in the fine print?

I purposed to find the answer to that haunting question. Tempted to wake up my wife to detail what I had obviously overlooked, it occurred to me that such an action was also likely to be found in the fine print. Instead, I located my super-sized magnifying glass and prepared myself to read whatever my wife had snuck into our marriage vows.

When dawn broke and the question was finally put forth, my Irish-American love just smiled and stated I was actually doing a pretty good job at fulfilling the marital “fine print” vows that I had somehow overlooked. At which point she began to articulate the marital expectations a wife (at least this one) has of a husband.

  1. Demonstrate proper toilet seat etiquette by putting the toilet seat down. Apparently, I was doing a good job with that one as she expressed appreciation for my thoughtfulness. But there’s more…..
  2. Never leave the toilet paper roll empty and always have it rolling in the right direction — that is toward you. Who knew there was toilet paper etiquette too?
  3. Don’t leave your clothes on the floor. I am your wife, not your mother. Fortunately, I have a long-established habit of placing my dirty clothes in their proper place, ever since I heard the Reverend Wellington Boone speak at a PromiseKeeprs conference advising those men present that you can’t act like a man at night if you act like a boy all day long. Got it Rev.
  4. Last one out of the bed, makes it up. I had little to say in this matter. During my career, I was always the first one out of the bed and it was my late wife who always made up our bed. Now that I am retired and my new bride still works, guess who is the last one out of the bed?
  5. Always lock the doors before going to bed — batten down the castle doors. No problem with that expectation. Men like security and safety as much as women do.
  6. If the wife asks you to turn up the heat, the proper response is “yes dear”. Same response if she asks you to turn down the AC. No doubt, comments about the power bill are just as unacceptable.
  7. If the husband should accidentally melt one of her rubber spatulas, he should replace it before the wife founds out. Apparently, she loves her spatulas.
  8. Take out the trash without being asked. Ok, Ok, I may occasionally need to be reminded.
  9. Don’t buy birthday cards from Dollar General. The spelling is usually incorrect. No problem here, I usually write my own birthday cards and I am gud at cheking my spellin.
  10. Do not drink out of the orange juice bottle or milk carton, pour it into a glass. OOPS, the habits of a single life have been exposed. Guilty as charged.
  11. If money is found in the laundry, it is his or hers to keep. Who doesn’t like to get paid for a job well done. Since I actually do the laundry sometimes, I will not debate this one.
  12. If the wife ever asks her husband if this dress makes her look fat, the proper response is always “No dear”. No comment.
  13. Husbands may Run the house…..so long as they run the lawnmower, run the dishwasher, run the vacuum and run to the grocery store. I have always been a good runner.
  14. Wife shall receive at least one 30 second kiss per day from the husband. Now you’re talking.
  15. Husband shall become an expert in cuddling and snuggling. No problem, I gave up my teddy bear 60 plus years ago
  16. Don’t Call Me Ma’am. My wife Patrice expressed admiration and appreciation to my late wife Tootie. Although I have been a widower for six years, Patrice observed that Tootie must have trained me well as I am fulfilling most of the above expectations. There is, however, one final expectation. That is, “Don’t Call Me Ma’am”. At first, I feared such a demand reflected some sort of feministic linguistic politically correct indignation. Until Patrice explained that she spent some of her younger years in England where the only woman referred to as “Ma’am” was the Queen. I wisely took my cue and explained that my momma taught me to always say yes-sir to men and yes-ma’am to women. It was a sign of courtesy and respect, at least in the American South. But if it was ok with her I would like to still address the Queen of my home and my heart as ma’am. It was at this point that my wife just grinned and reminded me I had yet to fulfill my vow #14.

Putting away the magnifying glass, it suddenly occurred to me that I can live with the fine print.

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