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By Staff | Jun 24, 2011

It seems like nothing lasts like it used to, especially marriages. It’s the rare espousement that outlasts the warranty of a toaster given as a wedding present.

Couples nowadays split easier than an ice cream parlor banana. And this is by no means limited to just young people.

My wife and I know several folks who have made several trips to the altar. One friend of ours gets married so often, he keeps his minister on speed dial.

“You never know when you might want to quick tie the knot,” is his explanation.

Hmm. Maybe if his unions weren’t made so hastily made, they wouldn’t all be slipknots.

Certainly it’s tough to be a post-matrimonial young person. Getting married is child’s play compared to being married.

Part of the problem has to do with expectations. Guys wed hoping she’ll never change, but she invariably does; women get married expecting she can change him, but he never will.

For young couples, the problems can begin almost as soon as the “I do’s” are done.

The young guy suddenly finds himself wedded to a member of the planet’s most highly-valued and sought-after demographic.

During her childbearing years, the average female will annually spend more than the gross national product of Luxembourg.

After the wedding, the groom has to reconcile with the fact that shopping is now a major part of his life. And no, it generally doesn’t involve hunting for such manly items as a new depth finder or that classic Harley.

We’re talking incredibly unmanly stuff here, things like Winnie The Pooh wallpaper and a “layette” – whatever THAT is.

As a newlywed, I soon learned that shopping expeditions are best left to the experts. And also that some people actually like snooping from store to store.

I began to beg off these voyages and my wife was wise enough to grant my wish.Besides, she said, it was much quieter when she shopped alone.

“I don’t hear that high-pitched whingeing noise that goes ‘Are we done yet? When can we go?'” she explained.

As young dairy farmers, we couldn’t afford many of the things we wanted. My wife, thank goodness, had no problem with buying stuff for our growing family at rummage sales. I think she enjoyed rummaging every bit as much as going to K-Mart.

My wife went rummage saling one Saturday morning when she was expecting our first son. Suddenly, a large and powerful car swung up to the curb and lurched to an abrupt halt beside the rummage sale.

The car’s driver was our landlord’s wife, Ruth. She threw open the car door, leaped out and made a beeline for the sale table. Ruth’s haste was such that she didn’t have time to shut the car door.

She trotted over and quickly perused the offerings. Seeing nothing that struck her fancy, Ruth jumped back into her idling car and sped off – presumably to the next rummage sale.

Ruth was married to a millionaire. She could have shopped at the best stores, but apparently got the same pleasure from speed-shopping at rummage sales.

Young brides face their own set of challenges, none the least of which is managing a young, testosterone-addled male. She also has to gently transition his behavior from “free-range” to “domesticated.”

These tasks are complicated by the fact that women tend to over-analyze men. My understanding is that being a girl is infinitely more complex than being a guy.

Being a girl is like playing three-dimensional chess with multiple opponents; being a guy is like playing tic-tac-toe with one square left to fill in.

For instance, a guy might mention that he’s hungry. When his Significant Other hears this she may think “What does he mean by that? Is he implying that he yearns for more? Does our relationship leave him unfulfilled? What can I do about it? Does this mean we’re over? I should have listened to Mother! She said it wouldn’t last!”

Meanwhile, the guy – who is totally oblivious to the titanic struggle raging in his wife’s brain – sits and thinks about a baloney sandwich.

My eye often wanders at the supermarket checkout. I can’t help myself and soon begin to peruse the glossy magazines that are there to torture captive males.

Many of these “glam mags” have headlines that shout “101 Ways To Keep Your Man Happy!”

Please. There are just three simple rules regarding this topic:

1. Feed us when we’re hungry

2. Be gentle, but firm when we misbehave.

3. Don’t be stingy with praise and displays of affection.

In other words, keeping a guy happy is much like raising a puppy. But when done properly, he can become a source of adoration and devotion that will last for years and years.

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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