Essential knowledge

Back in 1992, before I had even met the future Mrs. Happy, I had a job in
a door factory where I worked with a married man named Lee.
That was the year of the George Bush Sr./Bill Clinton presidential election.
That was the first presidential election I could have voted in. I didn’t cast
a vote that year, but the outcome made me vow never to miss a presidential
or congressional
election again. Anyway, as you probably know, Bill Clinton won. I was bummed
about that, Lee was bummed about that, and we complained to each other about
how our new president was going to ruin the country. One day soon after the
election, he said to me, "I’m talkin’ to the wife last night and she says we
finally got someone in the White House who’ll actually do some good. Couldn’t
believe it. Been married to that woman three years and never knew she was a
Democrat." They divorced within the year, though I don’t think it had anything
to do with politics.

spouse. Some things are difficult—especially things tied up in memories that
affect a person’s reactions in a seemingly illogical way. For instance, I can’t
stand to hear the song The Candy Man Can. Something about it strikes
me as being vaguely demonic, though I can’t pinpoint why. I assume that I must
have some repressed childhood memory of an unspeakable trauma that occurred
while that song was playing somewhere. I don’t know. The point is, though,
that my wife knows this about me, so she would never do something so insensitive
as to throw me a surprise party and blast that evil tune on a stereo while
30 people jump out and scare me. But I’m getting off track.

Some things are easy to know about your spouse, and downright essential. Knowing
them will enable you to make your spouse feel special, and not knowing them
could get you in a lot of trouble. Here’s a partial list of things you should

  • birthday
  • anniversary
    hint to husbands: The wedding anniversary is vital, but it’s good
    to be aware of as many others as possible. Your being able to acknowledge
    the anniversary of your first date, first kiss, first "I love you," day of
    proposal, etc., can make your wife feel pretty special.
  • clothing sizes (including shirt, blouse, underwear, lingerie, pants, dress,
    shoes, and ring)
  • political affiliation
  • favorite things:
    • color
    • animal
    • outdoor activity
    • indoor activity
    • vacation destination
    • movie
    • play/musical
    • book/author
    • song
    • musical group
    • restaurant
    • meal
    • dessert
    • candy
      hint to husbands:
      It’s best to be as specific as possible with candy. Knowing that her favorite
      candy is chocolate is good. Knowing that it’s Godiva chocolate is better.
      Knowing that it’s Godiva’s Raspberry Chocolate Première (a chocolate
      biscuit topped with chocolate raspberry creme and crowned with luscious
      dark chocolate) is best.

If you think you know these things, check with your spouse and make sure.
If you don’t know these things, ask. In a marriage, ignorance is farther from
bliss than you might imagine.

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