Jewish World Review July 20, 2001 / 29 Tamuz, 5761

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Bride showered with sage advice -- I WAS doing the gymnastics number at a bridal shower, balancing iced tea on one knee and a slice of coffee cake and giant strawberries on the other, when I realized this wasn't a bridal shower at all. It was crash course on men: Husband 101.

Amid the glowing bride-to-be, the beautiful flowers and the chattering women, some 30 marriages were represented in the room. Protocol at this shower dictated that as the bride opened your gift you were to offer a pearl of wisdom regarding marriage. Pity the younger sister of the bride who was furiously writing down who gave what. If instead she had written down the many wonderful tidbits on sustaining a marriage, she could have authored a best-selling book and paid cash for her remaining three years of college.

With a few tidbits scrawled on a scrap of wrapping paper, and the rest reconstructed by a faulty memory, I give you the highlights of Husband 101 or How to Maintain a Marriage:

Never talk to a husband when he's hungry. Make sure he's had a full meal before you bring up something important.

- Say you're sorry even when you're not the one at fault. Sometimes it doesn't matter who is right; what matters is that someone breaks the ice.

- Cherish your husband. Treat him like a precious piece of fine china. Treat him tenderly and gently, treasure him, value him.

-Kiss your husband goodbye in the morning and goodnight when you both go to bed. Even when you've had an argument, it's a small way of saying you're still in this together.

-Take a cue from the old Tammy Wynette song D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Resolve to never say the word; Tammy could only bring herself to spell it. You may think about it, but don't say it. Never let the word cross your lips.

-When the sink plugs up, the car needs major repair, and termites are feasting in the basement, say to yourselves: "If this is the worst thing that ever happens to us, things aren't so bad." It puts life in perspective.

-If you enter a marriage as a perfectionist and live by "perfect or nothing" creed, you're going to have a lot of nothing. Relax your standards.

-Your parents love you very much and naturally you want your parents to love your spouse. So when you're mad at your husband or at something he's done, don't tell your parents about it. They'll remeber what your husband did long after you've forgotten it.

-Listen to your mother, she's an excellent resource.

-When you think you're right, close your mouth and pray first.

-Enjoy your hours in the kitchen. Think creatively of ways to serve others.

-Learn to share your husband's interests. Cultivate common interests.

-Remember that no matter how long you've been married, his socks

never land in the hamper. They always land one foot from the hamper. Inside out.

-Make it a priority to find time for a cup of tea and conversation.

-When your husband gives you a gift, no matter how awful it is and how much you don't like it, say, "Isn't that precious! Bless your heart!"

The bride to be received many lovely gifts. There were pots and pans that will be used weekly, china that will be used on Sundays and crystal that will sparkle on holidays. But the gifts the bride will use everyday, the ones that will get the real heavy-duty wear and tear were the nuggets of advice offered by women who themselves were glowing brides years ago.

JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman