Q & A time with Curt: Christmas, etc.

I didn’t get to ask a question. Is it too late?
It’s never too late. Questions from readers save me the headache
of thinking up something to write about on my own.

What did you get for
your wife for Christmas, and why?
I got her three things:

  1. An I
    Love the ’80s
    board game. She loves this show on VH1 because
    it brings back great memories. The game also involves acting, singing, drawing,
    and trivia, all of which she loves as well.
  2. A package of ten fine-point gel pens with a marble finish, because she
    loves nice pens. When she opened the package and began sampling them,
    I was disappointed to learn that although the pens are ten different colors,
    they
    all contain
    black
    ink,
    which
    is no
    fun
    at
    all.
  3. A copy of the book PostSecret.
    It is a compilation of postcards from the art project of the same name. The
    associated web site describes
    it as "an ongoing community art project where people mail-in their secrets
    anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard." I knew it would appeal to
    Mrs. Happy as an artist and as a "people expert."

And, what did she get you for Christmas,
and why?

She got me one thing: the DVD for Serenity,
because I am a Firefly fanatic.
She made me something else: a shadowbox with four layered panes of glass that
each had some sort of handmade token to express love for our son. The glass layers
are backed by a hand drawn portrait of a sleeping Tater.

What was your favorite event or tradition that took place during
the holiday season this year?

We took Tater to church for the first time on Christmas Eve. He didn’t make
a sound, and he brought a smile to the face of everyone who saw him.

Name one artist, in any discipline, who has affected your life in some way.
C.S. Lewis. He showed me that highly intelligent people can have unshakable faith.

It’s going to be cold and gray for some months to come. There are no
good movies playing. You don’t want to venture far or spend a lot of
money, but sometimes the four walls of your home conspire to drive you mad
and you just need to go SOMEWHERE. What do you do?

I move back to Texas at the end of January. Along the way, maybe I even meet
some blogging friends for the first time. These friends, of course, should e-mail
me and let me know if they live between Long Island and Austin. We’ll try to
work it out.

Q & A time with Curt: Writing, weddings, and stuff

One week ago, I announced a one-week vacation from blogging and made a promise
to return with a Q&A post. Several people left questions
for me, so here goes.

From other posts on your blog, it seems you make your living doing
some kind of writing, yes? If you don’t mind revealing it to the masses,
what kind
of work do you do?

It depends on what you mean by "make your living." When I have a job, it usually
involves writing of some sort. I have written technical manuals, sales copy,
marketing
materials, print ads, and one corporate Christmas card. I have a degree in journalism,
but I have never worked as a journalist and never intend to. You
may
have read some of my work if you have ever purchased a Dell PowerEdge server
and read
the
documentation
for the included OpenManage software, or if you have ever been a member of the
Computer Books Direct book club or the Reader’s Subscription book club. Currently,
though, I am not making any sort of living and not doing any sort of work because
I don’t have any sort of job. I have been on my own financially ever
since March
,
during which time I have worked many temporary jobs, all of which have involved
either writing or editing. Those of you who are praying people might continue
any prayers on my behalf.

Since I’m planning a wedding, what were some of the highlights
of yours, other than the fact that you married the wonderful Mrs. Happy?

Everything about my wedding was wonderful. The location, the music, the well-wishers,
the ceremony, the reception, the night that followed…it was absolutely the
best wedding I’ve ever attended. One thing to keep in mind when you’re planning
your wedding: it’s your wedding. Plan an event you’ll want to remember
for the rest of your life. Not everyone will like everything you plan. That’s
fine. They can forget about it tomorrow—you can’t. Other people don’t have
to approve of or even understand your choices. They just need to support
you in the vows that you make.

Any personal
things you did?

I sang a couple of songs during the prelude, including a duet with my friend
Matt. I also picked
out all the songs Matt sang during the prelude. My song choices were unconventional
(a
couple
of
show
tunes,
one
silly
song,
and
two
funeral songs), but I picked them all for very personal reasons.
This
was something not every guest approved of, but it was one of my favorite parts
of
the wedding.

And what is the funniest thing that happened?
Our youngest bridesmaid (12 years old) became sick during the ceremony. She
handed her bouquet to my sister, ran outside,
threw
up,
and then rejoined
the wedding party. She acted with such poise and discretion that most people
didn’t even notice. That’s what I think is the funniest thing, anyway. Most
other people seem to find a lot of humor in the fact that I cried like a
baby from the moment Mrs. Happy appeared until the moment we left the chapel.

Billygoat Ohio flotsam telegram! Grandstudio turntable blackjack?
I’m assuming you’re either a comment spammer or a Dadaist. Either way, I have
no use for you.

how to understand husband after marriage?
You asked this question through a search engine referral, but I’ll still answer
it. One of the main things that wives seem to have trouble understanding
is that their husbands do not think like a woman. So first of all, accept
the fact that when your husband speaks and acts, his motivations are not
what yours would be. Second, accept the fact that he needs your respect and
support, even especially when he doesn’t deserve it. Third, observe
his actions to discover how he expresses love and how he receives it. These
things should help you understand him. When in doubt, though, just talk to
him.

Would you please post another photo of the cutest baby in the world?
I just can’t get enough.

Neither can I.

Q & A time with Curt

Miss O’Hara had
a really good idea a while back. She asked her readers to ask
her questions
that she
could collect and answer
in a post
. Later, Irene did something
similar when she invited her readers
to ask her questions
about her career in journalism
, questions she later answered.
I’ve considered doing something like that here. I even have a category set
up for
Questions.
I’ve never invited questions, however,
for fear that no one would ask me anything. I imagine people sitting at their
computers thinking, "You’re a husband, you’re happy, and you’re celebrating
marriage. What more is there to know?" There’s a lot more to
know, frankly. I’m a man of
complexity, noble in reason, infinite in faculty, in action like an angel,
in apprehension like a god, the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals,
and still merely the quintessence of dust.
And I quote Hamlet in
certain moods.

Though I don’t really solicit questions, I do welcome them. People e-mail
me sometimes. I don’t receive enough e-mails to fill up a whole post with answers,
so I concoct
a
few to fill out the space:

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
MCF once referred to Dave Barry’s humor as "Hendley-esque." I e-mailed a commenter
once, and she responded by saying, "Getting an email from you is like getting
a letter from Bill Bennett or C.S. Lewis!" Both of those compliments made my
heart skip a beat. But maybe the best came from a reader who stumbled across
my old site and left this comment: "As someone who doesnt really believe in
marriage, I must say that if
such a marriage as yours can exist, then marriage cant be all bad. If
ever I get married, I hope I will find someone who I can love as much as you
do your wife!" That one nearly made me cry.

Did you really say that Rey makes "mistakes born of ignorance that tries to
sound sophisticated and impressive"?

Some bloggers like to put quotes in their sidebars to let readers know what other
bloggers say about them. Rey pulls quotes out of context
and posts them to make it look like people say a bunch of nasty things about
him. He needn’t go to all that trouble. People say plenty of nasty things about
him without his having to pull anything out of context. I did
say that
about
him, but he neglects to mention that I also said, "For the record,
I have no problem with that."

Speaking of sidebar quotes, Amy
Scott
claims that you
called her a "highly competitive porkpier." What the heck does that mean?

Basically, it means she’s zealous in her pursuit of porkpieing. She pulled
that quote from the
same post
Rey pulled his quote
from. Funny how that happened.

What’s one good thing about marriage?
God
ordained it
.

What’s one bad thing about marriage?
I’ve been married for seven years, and I still have trouble believing how fast
a woman can use up a roll of toilet paper.

Pretty much every Christian agrees that God meant sex only for married couples,
but what about kissing?
That’s a pretty thorny question. I once wrote about it in another questions post, so check that out.

Is that all you have to say about the issue?
I suppose not. I remember being young, single, and frustrated with spiritual leaders who would talk
around an answer instead of saying something simple and definitive.
I’m tempted
to say, "Yes, it’s sinful for Christians to kiss if they’re not
married," but I’d have no confidence in that answer. Unfortunately,
the Bible doesn’t give us a commandment on where to draw the physical intimacy
line when it comes to premarital relationships.

How did that play out in your pre-marriage life?
It
was a real revelation to me the day I realized that sex is much more than
just intercourse. James Dobson had a good
essay about that
in his book Love for a Lifetime. Looking back
on my life, I wish I had never kissed a woman other than my wife, and I wish
I had waited longer with her. If I could go back and do
everything
over again, I would kiss her for the first time on the night I asked her
to marry me. The other girls I kissed still haunt my memory sometimes, and
I’d
be a lot better off without that. Anything that robs attention or privilege
from your spouse (current or future) is something that robs you of a great
deal of joy.

Why don’t you ever talk about marriage-related issues like same-sex
marriage, single parenthood, and divorce rates or offer resources and advice
for people
trying to heal a marriage?

Other sites do that much better than I ever could. My purpose here is to celebrate
marriage, to demonstrate what a deep and abiding joy it can be, and to hear
from others that they love marriage too. I stay away from the negative issues
for the most part because there aren’t many places in the world or the blogosphere
where marriage is embraced rather than mourned.

Are you really the only one celebrating marriage?
Recent years have seen the emergence of a number of blogs that also
celebrate marriage, and even more celebrating parenthood. When I started blogging
over two years ago, I couldn’t find any. Now I have a whole sidebar full of
them.

If you search your iTunes library for song titles containing the letters q and z, how many results do you get?
One: Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ by Journey.

You like Journey?
My wife put that on our computer. I swear.

Q & A time with Curt

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may be familiar with the
concept of Q & A With Curt. You may not yet understand it, but
at least you’ve seen it before. For the rest of you, I’ll offer a short explanation.
Readers sometimes send me questions regarding something I’ve written, or about
marriage in general. Sometimes my answers are so profound that I feel driven
to share them with everyone. But most of the time, no one asks me anything,
and my answers are rarely profound anyway. So I make up my own questions to
go along with some actual questions from readers and publish them in a Q
& A With Curt
post. This is one such post.

Why do you devote your blog to the topic of marriage?
I know the pain of divorce (my parents’) and the loneliness of bachelorhood (my
own). I think happily married people don’t encourage each other enough, and
maybe that’s because divorced and bitterly married people don’t want to hear
anything good about marriage. So I stand up and say, "I’m a happy husband,
and proud of it." For more details, see my
first post
.

You’re such a great writer. Why don’t you write for a living?
I do, sort of. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and even though
I’ve never been a journalist, every
job
I’ve had since graduating has been a writing job. They haven’t been particularly
fun jobs—writing
computer manuals, sales
copy, and marketing stuff—but they have been writing jobs. That means
I do in fact write for a living, but not in the exciting reporter/novelist
way
most people mean when they say "write."

Who has influenced you most as a writer?
I have a great deal of admiration for the memoirs of James Thurber, the essays
of E.B. White, the novels of Charles Dickens, the columns of Dave Barry, and
the various work of C.S. Lewis, William Zinsser, and George Will. At times
I do consciously try to imitate them (usually poorly—cf. Charles Dickens
and Baby
Happy
, as
well as Dave
Barry
and this blog’s Q&A
with Curt
feature), but
whether their influence has filtered down to my everyday style, I don’t know.

Who have you influenced as a writer?
Whom. The word you’re looking for is whom.

Who has influenced you most as a husband?
Right before I got married, I read a book by Gary Smalley that gave me a lot
of excellent insight, so he is definitely an influence. I hope I’ve picked up
stuff from my pastor as well, because he has the most loving wife and children
I’ve ever seen. I know I’ve learned a lot from Mrs. Happy, too.

Whom have you influenced as a husband?
I don’t know that I’ve actually influenced anyone, but I hope I’ve
at least encouraged people with my words, actions, and blog.

Why do you call certain people your geek friends?
I only refer to three particular people that way. One refers
to
himself in the third person as The Mysterious Cloaked Figure,
one knows more about comic
books than he does about breathing, and one often
writes about Star Wars on a blog that is otherwise devoted to the Bible and
theology.

Do they call you a geek friend?
Yeah, but I don’t know why. I’m a geek by association, I guess.

Speaking of your geek friends, do you think TheWriteJerry is
insane?

Obviously. I think he admits as much. He at least demonstrates it with the talking
dice
.

We all know that double negatives are a no-no in English, but
have you ever heard someone use a triple-negative construction?

Fourteen years ago, I was on my way to a tire store to buy a new tire when
my father
said
to
me,
"You know, I’m not sure I wouldn’t see if they don’t have a good used tire."
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that one.

Q & A time with Curt

It’s time for another installment of Q&A Time With Curt, the occasional feature
in which I answer questions people have sent me and make up a bunch of stuff
to fill up the space and create the illusion that lots of people value my advice.
Let’s get
started, then:

Q: Is Curt Hendley your real name?
A: Yes. Curt is my middle name, but that’s what everyone calls me. If I made
up a pseudonym, it would be a lot more exotic—something along the lines
of
Nathanael
Wildridge.
(I
didn’t
make
that up.
It’s my brother-in-law’s
soap opera name. Take your middle name and add to it the name of the street
you grew up on. My soap opera name is Curtis Farm-to-Market Road 3097.)

Q: Why don’t you use a pseudonym?
A: Pseudonyms work well on blogs where an author’s demonstrated knowledge is
more important
than his identity. When I started this blog, I thought using my real name would
add a little credibility.

Q: Why don’t you ever mention your wife’s name?
A: She works in a career field in which security and confidentiality are a
matter of law, and the government doesn’t have the resources to track down
and shoot
every reader who learns
her name.

Q: You have mentioned before that both you and your wife refrained
from sex until you were married. How did you pull that off?

A: She had high standards, strong convictions, and steely willpower. I had
pretty spongy willpower, but I also had strong convictions and a geeky appearance.
I think the key to remaining "pure," as they say, is keeping yourself away from
temptation. My closest friends always shared my beliefs, as did the girls I dated.
That, along with my geeky appearance and social awkwardness, resulted in very
few opportunities for real physical temptation. The most difficulty either of
us ever had in that area was with each other.

Q: So how did you make it with each other?
A: I assume
that by "make it" you mean "accomplish your goal of refraining from sex until
marriage." We took a three-pronged approach. First, we attended a lot of
group
activities together, especially with other Christians our age. Second, when
we were alone we tried to be in public as much as we could—restaurants, movie
theaters, and parks were all good places for us. Third, when we were alone
in private, we tried to keep physical contact to a minimum. The third prong
is the most difficult and, for us, was the most dangerous. Willpower goes
only so far.

Q: I’ve heard that if you wait until you’re "ready" for marriage,
you’ll never get married because you can never be ready. Is that true?

A: You can never be ready for marriage in the sense that you can never
be ready for anything you’ve never done. Were you ready to be born? Were
you ready
to move out of your parents’ house and be responsible for yourself? It depends
on what you mean by "ready," I guess. If you wait until you understand every
aspect of marriage and comprehend the exact nature of what you’re getting
into, you’ll never get married. I’ve been married nearly seven years, and
I’m still
working on that.

Q: What about you? Did you feel "ready"?
A: There was a time in my adult life when I was too emotionally, spiritually,
and relationally immature for any sort of serious relationship, let alone
marriage. When I finally let go of the beliefs and attitudes that were holding
me back, I started growing. I was ready to meet my wife when I did. As I grew,
so did my ability to love her. That love grew to a point where it couldn’t
really grow any more unless we committed our lives to each other. I felt ready.
She felt ready. We were ready.

Q: People say the same thing about waiting to have kids until you’re
ready. Are you ready to be a father?

A: No.

Q: So how do you feel about it?
A: I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced such intense joy and fear simultaneously.

Q: Are you taking good care of your wife while she’s pregnant?
A: I’m trying.

Q: What’s something you should never say to a pregnant woman?
A: "I’m so glad I’ll never be pregnant. If I knew there was a life
inside me, that scene from Alien would
constantly replay in my head for nine straight months."

A certain age

A concerned reader e-mailed me an intriguing question: What is the best age at
which
to
marry?
Some time ago, a British professor set
down to develop
a formula for determining optimum marrying age. He came up with M=Y+(1/e[X-Y]),
though some reports spell out the equation as M=(Y+1)/e+X-Y.

M is
the optimum marrying age.
Y is the age at which you begin looking for a spouse.
X is the age at which you would supposedly give up looking.
e is a logarithm that boils down to 2.718 or
0.36, depending on which report you read.

I have no idea what any of it means. I was nearly 26 when I married,
and Mrs. Happy was 23. Go figure.

In my mind, optimum marrying age is different for everyone. Some people
are ready at 19. Some aren’t ready at 40. It depends on a person’s level
of maturity in relationships. It depends on whether they’ve grown to the
point of understanding the depth of sacrifice necessary when pledging one’s
life to another, and whether they are capable and desirous of making that
sacrifice.

Generally, the ages at which one 1)wants to marry, 2)actively pursues
marriage, 3)is ready for marriage, and 4)actually marries are four different
numbers. For me, the answers were

  1. 16
  2. 22
  3. 25.0
  4. 25.916

I am fortunate that my marrying age did not precede my ready-for-marriage
age. I started dating girls at age 15. At 16, I decided I wanted to get married
some day. Six years of insecurity and self-doubt followed. At 22, my loneliness
overwhelmed me and I began concocting marriage fantasies around any female
who was nice to me. I got over that around my 25th birthday, at which point
I realized that my best friend could not continue being my best friend unless
I married her. So I did, and she’s still my best friend by a long shot.

I didn’t mean to go off on a tangent there. To answer the reader’s question,
the optimum marrying age is 27 for women and 32 for men. At least I think
that’s what the formula comes out to. I never was that great at math, though.

Q & A: “Knowing,” games

Ever since I did a question-and-answer
post
, people have been sending me questions.
It’s wonderful. I get an opportunity to actually interact with people online,
and it also saves me the trouble of thinking up an original idea. So keep those
questions coming! Here are the
two most recent questions I’ve received.

Q: how do you know when you met Mrs Happy that you were going to marry
her? how
do you know that this person is ‘the one’ and its not just feelings/emotions?
(from
Anonymous)
A:
The quick answer is that I didn’t know I would marry her when I met
her. In fact, she made almost no impression on me at all when I met her, and
she thought
I was a total dud with no personality or physical attractiveness to speak of.
As luck fate God would have it, we ended up
spending
a
lot
of
time together basically because neither of us had anything better to do. (You
can
read a fuller explanation on the About
my marriage
page.) We became friends, then good friends, then best friends.
At one point during the "best friends" stage, I asked her, "Are we going to keep
insisting we’re just friends until we’re married?" She burst into hysterical
laughter and, once she regained her composure, said emphatically, "I am not going
to marry you!"
With time, our relationship developed into an intimate
friendship, then a romantic friendship, then a married friendship.We married
because we hated being apart, because we shared a love for God, because we believed
in
each
other’s
life goals and because we could accomplish more together than apart, and because
we could not imagine growing old away from each other.

If you’re looking for criteria to go by, check out a couple of posts I wrote
last
year (Part 1 and Part
2
).
They have some good guidelines that were offered by a wise Christian woman.

Q: My brother and I were remembering how we used to play squat with
our father 20 years ago.  Fond memories but, unfortunately, we couldn’t
remember the rules for squat.  All we could remember was that it required
5 dice. So, I did a Google on "squat dice game" and found your site.  Unfortunately,
while the
game is mentioned
, there are no rules.  Would you be kind enough
to either reply with the rules for the game or a link (if you have one) that
would list such?
(from John)
A: I’m not sure my game is the same as the one John played, for reasons I’ll
explain
later. Here are the rules to my game, in any case:

A player rolls five dice
and sets aside however many dice will score points for him. He may then end
his turn voluntarily and accept those points or roll the
remaining dice. He may roll the remaining dice until all five dice have scored
points or else he rolls no points. If he rolls no points, his turn is over
and nothing is added to his score. If he rolls so that all five dice have scored
points, he may pick up all five dice and continue to roll as before. His turn
ends when he decides to stop and accept the points he has rolled, when he rolls
no points, or when he has rolled all five dice three times, whichever comes
first.

The dice count for points in the following configurations:

  • ones are worth one
    hundred points
  • fives are worth fifty points
  • three dice of the same number, taken together,
    are worth 100 times that number (three 4s are worth 400, etc.)
  • (exception
    to the previous rule) three ones, taken together, are worth 1000
  • a single
    roll of 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 (or 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) is worth 1,000.
    This counts only when all five dice are rolled at once.

Players take turns
rolling until someone reaches a previously agreed-upon goal. 5,000 or 10,000
is pretty standard. When one person reaches the goal,
everyone
else gets one last turn. Each player then rolls until he rolls no points
or until he surpasses the high score. If anyone surpasses the score of
the first
player
to reach the goal, all other players get a chance to beat him as well,
including the first player.

Here’s a sample game:
Player 1 rolls all five dice. They land on 1, 2, 4, 4, 6. He sets the 1
aside, then rolls the remaining four dice. Those land on 3, 3, 2, 3.
He sets aside
the three 3s, then rolls the remaining die, which lands on 5. If he stopped
at this
point, he could add 450 points to his score (100 for the 1, 300 for the
three 3s, and 50 for the 5). He picks up all five dice and rolls again,
rolling
2, 2, 3, 4, 6. His turn is over and he adds no points to his score.

Player
2 rolls all five dice. They land on 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. He rolls all five dice
again—1, 2, 1, 1, 4. He ends his turn voluntarily and records
2,000
points on
his score (1,000 for the first roll and 1,000 for the three 1s).

Player
3 rolls all five dice—6, 1, 5, 5, 5. He sets aside the 5s and the 1 and
rolls the remaining die, receiving a 5. He rolls all five
dice again—2,
3, 4,
5, 6. He rolls all five dice again—6, 6, 6, 5, 3. He sets aside
the three 6s (he doesn’t have to keep every scoring die as long as he keeps
at least one) and rolls the remaining dice, receiving a 1 and a 5. Since he
has rolled all
five dice three times, his turn is over and he records 2,400 on his
score (500
for the three 5s, 100 for the 1, and 50 for the 5; 1,000 for the
2, 3, 4, 5, 6; 600 for the three 6s, 100 for the 1, and 50 for the 5).

And so on to the end.

The reason I doubt that this is the game John played
is that I learned the game without a name and later started calling it Squat.
I did this because while
playing with some friends, one was especially dim about counting his points
and another was impatient with him, giving rise to several exchanges that
went something like:

"Let’s see. I rolled two 2s, two 3s, and a 6. So I got 200 points."
"You got squat, is what you got. Gimme the dice."

It’s a fun game anyway,
though, and can be played just as well with 6 dice.

Q & A time with Curt, a follow-up

Wow. I actually received a couple of questions in the comments of the Q
& A
post
yesterday
.
Since I had a spontaneous date night
with my wife tonight, this makes for an easy post tonight:

Q: What is the birth order of you and your wife? There’s a theory
that says oldest children usually marry youngest children, and vice-versa.
Is that true
in your case?
(from George Eliot)
A: Not in our case. I’m the oldest of two (one younger sister). She’s the oldest
of three (two younger brothers). I like her youngest brother a lot, but I don’t
think I could live with him.

Q: Do you and Mrs Happy ever fight? What happens then, do you ever yell at
each other?
(from cheezits)
A: We bicker a little pretty often. We have a deep, impossible argument maybe
once a year. During the worst arguments, our voices get more intense and we may
cry
some,
but
I
don’t
think we’ve ever seriously yelled at each other. Neither of us is really the
type
to
yell,
though. My sanity level rises and falls in inverse proportion to the
volume of my voice, so it’s not good for me to yell.

I have known couples who claim to have never fought, or maybe just once or twice.
I don’t believe them, but if their claims are true I feel sorry for them. Those
who never fight never get to make up.

Q: Do you and Mrs. Happy have a regular devotional/prayer time together? If yes, what do you usually do? (from MaltaGirl)
A: We don’t have a formal time set up for devotionals. We each follow a different plan for reading the Bible through in a year, and some time during the day we’ll discuss whatever we learned in our last reading. We also try to pray together before going to sleep. We’re trying to find a different time to do that, though, because often we’re too tired to be coherent.

I think it’s important for a husband and wife to share their spiritual journey, and for the husband to take the lead in that area. In practical terms, it’s probably the most difficult part of marriage for me simply because I’m not sure exactly how to be such a leader. I have asked other Christian men about it, and if they don’t just shrug their shoulders, they say, “Set a good example.” It seems like there must be more to it than that, but I don’t know. I am learning, though. Maybe some day I’ll be able to give a better answer.

Q & A time with Curt

Some bloggers like to publish disclaimers periodically, saying things like,
"Regrettably, I do not have time to answer every e-mail I receive, but rest
assured that I
read each and every one of them. Sometimes I even work them into a post." The
sad truth about me, though, is that I have ample time to answer each and every
e-mail I receive, since I receive a blog-related e-mail approximately once
a week. Back when I started writing, I imagined that one day I would be able
to
do sort of a Q & A time with Curt post every so often, answering
the questions I heard most often from my adoring fans. But if I waited for
people
to ask,
I’d never get to write such a post. So I make up my own questions and just
pretend
that people are interested in the answers.

Q: Are you and Mrs. Happy the best married couple ever?
A: I’m not comfortable with the idea of best.
It implies an objective standard where none exists. It also implies that there
exists a standard to be achieved after which no improvement is possible. Neither
of us is perfect and neither of us is the best spouse in the world. We’re always
working to get better, though. Hopefully we always will.

Q: Are you and Mrs. Happy the cutest married couple ever?
A: Yes.

Q: What did you do to deserve such a wife?
A: When I was a child, I brightened the countenance of every elderly person who
saw me, I gave my teachers (except for my sixth-grade teachers) hope for the
future of the country, and I often protected my little sister from bees,
fire ants, and crawdads.
I imagine that in the future I will also find a cure for a horrible disease,
and I’m being rewarded in advance.

Q: What did your wife do to deserve you?
A: When she was a child, she must have made a conscious effort to kick every
puppy she could reach.

Q: What’s the secret to a happy marriage?
A: The "secret" is different for every marriage.
Some keys, though, are a common faith, compatible goals, a shared sense of humor,
physical affection, common interests, diverse interests, and an attitude in both
spouses
that
the
other
is
more
important.

Q: What’s something weird about you?
A: Lots. But when I was in sixth grade, I learned how to diagram sentences
and loved it. I ditched my English textbook and wrote my own sentences to
diagram because the book’s exercises weren’t interesting enough.

Q: How old were you when you got married?
A: I was one month shy of my 26th birthday.

Q: What is the stupidest question anyone has ever asked you about marriage?
A: During my engagement, a lot of people asked, "So, are you excited?"

Q: How did you answer them?
A: I usually said "Yes" while thinking, "I’m nearly 26 years old and I’ve never
had sex. What do you think?"

Q: Did you really not have sex until your wedding night?
A: Yes. I mean, no. I mean, that was such a poorly constructed question I’m
not sure how to answer it. Yes or no, bottom line is that the wedding night
was the first time.

Q: You never wanted to have sex before then?
A: Are you stupid? I’m a man. Yeesh. One of the few pieces
of relationship wisdom I possessed at an early age, however, was the idea that
true, lifelong intimacy is best achieved when it’s shared with only one person.

Q: Are you listening to music right now? If so, what is it?
A: Yes, I am. It’s Roger Miller singing You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo
Herd
.
And no, truer words have never been sung.

Q & A time with Curt

I don’t do this very often (actually, I’ve never done this before), but today
I’m going to open the floor to questions. Some of these are questions people
have actually asked. Some are questions people want to ask. Some of them are
questions no one cares to ask. I’m not making obvious which is which in order
not to embarrass people who have asked me silly things.

Q: How old are you?
A: I’m 31 years old. I’ll be 32 in June.

Q: How old do you look?
A: About 20.

Q: How do you stay so young looking?
A: Live clean, drink lots of water, and stay out of the sun as much as possible.

Q: Is that why you’re paler
than an Englishman
?
A: Shut up.

Q: Why should I get married when it would mean the end of life as I know it?
A: Marriage is the end of the single life in much the same way that birth is
the end of life in the womb. It’s a huge change, but wow—so worth it.

Q: How long have you been married?
A: It will be six years on Sunday, May 23.

Q: What has surprised you most about marriage?
A: The rapidity with which a woman goes through a roll of toilet
paper.

Q: What do you think should be the boundaries of physical affection in a Christian
dating relationship?
A: Ideally, hand-holding should be the physical limit, and maybe hugging.

Q: That’s weird. Why not kissing?
A: Anything beyond hand-holding is part of a process that leads to
intercourse. Beginning that process and stopping short of intercourse only
serves to frustrate
your
body and create more lustful desire both physically and mentally.

Q: But isn’t it a little unrealistic to expect a couple in love to never even
kiss?

A: Okay, stopping
at hand-holding hardly ever works out in reality. Personally, neither my
wife nor I had sex before we were married, but we did go beyond hand-holding.
All I can say is that it’s best to minimize physical contact as much as possible
before
marriage.
Develop all the other aspects of your
relationship, and you’ll be ready for the physical part—as it was meant
to be—on your wedding night.

Q: Could you elaborate on that a little more?
A:
Most couples start off with
sex before they bond
emotionally and spiritually, and they’re bored with it by the time their
relationship has developed to the point that sex would really mean something.
That’s why
you hear so many jokes about married people having very little sex. But
marriage
isn’t supposed to be the end of sex—it’s supposed to be the beginning.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received about marriage?
A: I got lots of advice when I was engaged. My dad told me that my
wife and I should agree on whether to hang toilet paper so that it dispenses
from
the top or from the bottom before either of us ever tries to hang it. I’m
sure that isn’t the most profound advice I received, but it’s the only bit
I remember. Probably
because it had something to do with toilet paper.

Q: How do people usually respond when you tell them you’re married?
A: They say, "What?!! You don’t look…married." I’m never
quite sure what they
mean.

Q: How do people usually respond when you introduce them to your wife?
A: They usually say, "That’s your wife? But…she’s so pretty."

Q: Is your wife really as hot as you make her out to be?
A: I use three words to describe the effect women have on men. Pretty is
something we like to look at. Attractive is something we want to talk
to. Beautiful is something we want to look at, talk to, and bask
in. My wife is the only beautiful woman I know.

Q: But is she hot?
A: Absolutely smokin’.