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Washington Voices

Mad money, humor will serve til death do us part

Cindy Hval’s stories of couples married many years are always fun to read. The picture of Andy and Teddi Anderson (Voices, Feb. 24) celebrating 70 years of marriage – with Teddi’s beautiful red fingernails – tells me why Andy never wanted to ditch her.

On the eve of my in-laws’ 25th wedding anniversary I asked my mother-in-law her recipe for success. She confessed, “get mad at them first, so they get caught off balance.” Though under 5 feet tall, her family called her “the warden.” They were married 66 years. It worked for them.

Men have to remember their wives have long memories. They might be good forgivers – but they are bad forgetters. It pays to have a sense of humor. Our standby is “someday we’ll laugh about it.”

When he would leave for sea, my husband Ray would remind me, “If Uncle Sam had wanted me to have a wife he would have issued me one with my sea bag.” He always did have a way with words. I used to order red satin sheets to surprise him when he came home. Now we both look forward to our red flannel sheets. They are warm and you don’t slide off the bed.

People are concerned with high rates of divorce. I’m amazed there aren’t more. Life is stressful – but what else is new? I’ve learned by living that there are usually opposites in a marriage. One is a show horse – one is a work horse. One is a spender – the other a saver.

I’ve heard the big problems in most marriages are money, sex, and in-laws. I told my husband he couldn’t afford to buy a little red convertible or have an affair when I had him read “Men and Midlife Crisis.” He declared, “Then I’m not finishing this book!”

This man who hated to go grocery shopping with me just called from Costco. I can’t keep him out of that store. We each have our own mad money account. It saved our marriage. He spends too much on bullets, and he thinks I spend too much on books. He bought me a Nook for Christmas. It holds 6,000 books. He’s using it until I finish “Bonhoeffer” and the bedstand is going to be a lot neater.

As a young bride, I discovered he didn’t like his shorts starched or tuna noodle casserole. He says I would tax the patience of the Pope. He doesn’t like to be micromanaged and says that I’m the reason for unions. He’s labor and I’m management – so much for collective bargaining.

Our current administration just declared the Defense of Marriage Act would no longer be defended. I think traditional marriage will last longer than this administration.

When I married at 19 my mother-in-law told me the first 100 years were the hardest. My husband and I made a covenant that the first one to leave had to take the kids. We’re coming up on our 50th and that still holds true.

North Side resident Donna Kuhn can be reached by e-mail at

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