"Marriage Needs Top Diplomacy"

Donald P. Ames
Janesville, Wisconsin

(The following article appeared in the June 6, 1958 issue of the Janesville Daily Gazette, and bears some good thoughts for us men today-married, or still looking.-D.P.A.)

"In spite of all the plans for world peace, there will probably be the same number of June weddings."

This rueful prediction appeared the other day in the Augusta (Kan.) Gazette and no doubt reflects a widespread feeling, namely, that J. F. Dulles can commune with Nikita Khrushchev till the cows come home and still not settle mankind's bitterest war.

This of course is the war between men and women-specifically between husbands and wives.

Every man in this war is his own secretary of state. His negotiations with "enemy" (marriages are a sort of endless Summit meeting) fail or succeed according to his grasp of protocol or, as it's called in the war between the sexes, Etiquette.

How's your domestic diplomacy?

Do you nag your wife? Many a man, it's been said, has dug his marital grave with a series of little digs.

Do you criticize her in public? "Honey, must you tell THAT story again?" falls appallingly in this category.

Do you try to make her over in your own image? Unless your name has three letters, begins with "G" and ends with "d," don't do it.

Do you compare unfavorably her cooking, housekeeping, dress or deportment to your mother's? To your ex-girl friend's? To Bill Smith's wife?

Do you open her mail, thinking it's "just an advertisement?"

Do you bring home unannounced guests?

Do you spend your recreational hours glued to the hi-fi, buried in the evening paper, doing-it-yourself in the basement, or otherwise behaving like a fellow without a wife to his name?

Do you holler at her from afar, expecting her to come running?

Do you give her just enough money for the household expenses and not a penny extra to spend as she pleases?

Do you blow your stack at her because the boss blew his at you?

Do you call her "the missus," "ball and chain," or "mother"?

Do you speak of "my house" and "my children," when the plural possessive ("our house," "our children") is usually more factual and always more diplomatic?

Is green your characteristic color when your wife receives the friendly attentions of another man? Is purple? (Neither shade is fetching.)

Do you eternally ask her to wait on you "while she's up"?

Was her wedding day the last time she received a flower from you? And do you chronically forget her anniversary, along with her birthday and what her favorite color is?

Do you reserve your polished manners (hat-tipping, chair-holding, etc.) for secretaries, bosses' wives, young widows down the street and every female under the sun . . . except your wife ?

Roar "No, never to these questions and you're either Henry Cabot Lodge or deserve his job.

Truth Magazine II:11, p. 14
August 1958