Wednesday, March 14, 2012

9 Habits Of Highly Effective Marriages
According to Redbook, there are nine specific habits that successful couples practice to help make their marriages more "intimate and resilient" and reduce the chances of divorce. I have already written posts about many of Redbook's recommended behaviors, which must explain why Kellie and I do so well together. Here’s a summary on how we practice each of these habits.
1. They use terms of endearment
I call her Smellie and she refers to me as geek, dork, and nerd.  Also included in this category: assigning pet names to your spouse’s intimate body parts.  Kellie and I don’t that, unless her calling me an asshole qualifies.
2. They do stuff together
Does sex count?
3. When the going gets tough, they don't call Mom or Dad
Neither one of us typically goes crying to our parents when we disagree, although I do call my sister Dina.  But I’m not sure that she’s always on my side.  My sister reads my blog and sometimes makes comments about my posts on Facebook. Here are a few quotes I pulled from her wall.  As you’re reading them, please recognize that Dina doesn’t always say exactly what’s on her mind, so it’s often hard to decipher the point she’s trying to get across.
Despite the revolting picture my brother has so artistically tattooed in my minds eye...I think there’s a greater lesson to be learned here and it is to obey your wife.” (The Serrano Pepper Incident)
“Oh Joseph you will be lucky if she [Kellie] doesn't knife you in your sleep....” (I’m Hot, She’s Cold)
“This blog is about my brothers ass (I think) not to be confused with the fact that he is an ass.” (An Introspection).
"Oh Joseph BITE ME ! ! !" (Sleep Battles)
Do you see what I mean? It’s very hard to tell if she supports me.
4. They stay connected to their parents
Staying connected with my family is tough; my parents live in New York, and Kellie and I have always lived on the West Coast or in Hawaii. My mom flew out to Hawaii for our wedding. We got married on a sailboat and my mom got sea sick. Several years later we flew my mother out to California for a visit and we took her on a little side trip to Vegas. She fell in front of the Paris Hotel and broke her arm. I don’t think the staying connected thing is working too well for my mother.
Kellie’s mom lives just three miles from us, which allows her to stay really connect with her grandchildren and our dogs when Kellie and I take off to see the world on our 30-day (plus some) vacations. The next trip, a 35-day excursion from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, starts in mid April.
5. They don't nickel-and-dime about chores
Now that I’m retired, Kellie would like me to assume some of the household chores. We’ve agreed that I will do the laundry, but I’m not very consistent about getting it done.  As a gentle reminder, Kellie dumped the contents of both laundry baskets on the floor at the entrance to our closet. I didn’t get the hint; I just walked over the pile for the next week.
Then Kellie suggested that I should clean our toilet, something that I have not done in the 10 years that we’ve lived in this house. She may have a point, especially since I did considerable damage to the commode following the bowel prep for my colonoscopy last week.
6. They fight constructively
I’m not sure if our routine counts as constructive, but after 15 years, we’ve established a fairly consistent pattern when it comes to disagreements. First, we each stake out diametrically opposed, mutually exclusive positions. Then, we avoid any discussion about the merits of our respective views and get right to the name calling and accusations.  After that, Kellie gives me the silent treatment for as long it takes for me to apologize.  
7. They give each other gifts
Kellie listens well and has a good memory.  So when I mentioned that I would love to learn how to play the guitar, she gave me one the very next Christmas. I picked it up once and never took lesson. When I told her how I cut class in college to play ping pong, she gave me a ping pong table for my next birthday. I don’t think I ever played a single game on it.
I never seem to give Kellie the right gift. She didn’t like the gold bracelet I selected for her birthday, she doesn’t like roses, and she didn’t like the electronic toilet seat position sensor that I gave her. There’s no satisfying her and I’ve run out of ideas.  
8. They never lose their sense of humor
On occasion, Kellie is not too thrilled with my blogging.
9. They take "for better or for worse" seriously
We both definitely prefer the better, but I’m a little worried if things take a turn for the worse in the future. Kellie refused to help me prepare for my colonoscopy when I needed assistance giving myself an enema. This doesn’t bode well for me should I become an incontinent invalid in my golden years and need someone to change my Depends.

Overall, I think Kellie and I scored fairly well, at least an 8 out of 9.  We may not be performing these behaviors exactly as Redbook envisioned, but it works for us. I don’t see a divorce in our future, but if I die under mysterious circumstances, then please pass all of my blog posts to the authorities.


  1. Like you, Joe, your sister Dina IS sometimes difficult to ascertain.
    "What's the problem Gianna? I said you make shit shine. It's a compliment" (yelled to her daughter over 3 bleechers of baseball parents)
    "I guess they have just totally given up on life" (to the slightly apparent weight gain of an aquaintance)
    and of course, my favorite
    "What do you mean he dosent have reason enough to take a viocodin? MY reason enough to take a vicodin is if somebody has an EXTRA!"

    1. Yes, that's my dear sister. She lacks the filter that most of us have between what we think and what we say.

  2. I got that non-filter gene as does not always bode well for me, but who the f-k cares? (oops, did I say that?)