DON’T GET ME STARTED: Forget the Anniversary at Your Own Peril

By Kevin Cowherd
The Baltimore Sun

After 31 years of marriage, you learn a few things. Here’s the No. 1 thing you learn: Never, ever forget your wedding anniversary.

That’s why I was intrigued by a recent letter in the syndicated Ask Amy advice column.

“Dear Amy,” a guy wrote, “I forgot my 18th wedding anniversary. I have no excuses.”

Naturally, my first thought was: You’re a dead man. D-E-A-D.

I don’t have to read the rest of your letter, pal. You’re deader than Rod Blagojevich’s career.

“I discovered my sin,” the guy continued, “when I … discovered a `happy anniversary’ note my wife had left. … I was devastated. She was already in bed asleep.”

Ohhh, not a good sign. Did she cry herself to sleep? If so, you’re even more dead.

Now you’re deader than, I don’t know, Tutankhamen.

“I did notice that she was acting coolly toward me that evening,” he went on. “I asked her what was up, and she claimed that nothing was wrong.”

Listen to me, Mr. Dead Man. When a wife says nothing is wrong, something is very, very wrong.

This is an immutable fact. It’s like Newtonian physics. You’ve been married 18 years and don’t know this?

“Doesn’t she share some of the blame here?” he added. “One of us has to be the first to say: `Happy Anniversary.’ She could have done so when we were intimate that morning.”

Hope you enjoyed that, fella. Because that’s the last intimacy you’ll have for a while. In fact, I would plan on the two of you being intimate again around, oh, Labor Day.

Of 2010.

“The more I thought about that fact,” he continued, “the more upset I became because, after all, I missed my own anniversary too.”

Listen again, Dead Man. A wedding anniversary is not about you. It’s about her. This, too, is a fact.

If she forgets your anniversary, you’ll get over it in five minutes. If you forget it, she’ll remind you about it on your deathbed.

“I know it’s a husband’s job to not pass up an opportunity to make a woman feel special, but isn’t it a 50-50 partnership?” he concluded. “Doesn’t she owe me the same apology that I gave her? Signed, Anxious Anniversary.”

At this point, I expected a pretty cut-and-dried response from Amy Dickinson.

She generally strikes me as the common-sense type. So I figured she would tee off on Anxious Anniversary and set him straight.

That’s what Dr. Phil would have done. Or Judge Judy. Or Dick Cheney.

But Ask Amy went all wish-washy on her advice to Anxious Anniversary.

“Dear Anxious,” she began, “your letter provoked much discussion in my household.”

Here my first thought was: What are we doing, Amy? Reading these letters at the dinner table?

How does it go at your house: Please pass the pot roast and, oh by the way, listen to this crazy letter I got today?

“The consensus is that you are right to take responsibility for your own forgetfulness,” she continued. “You are also right that your wife handled this poorly. When you asked your wife what was wrong, she should have told you. She tossed away an opportunity to experience the joy of remembering your wedding night together.”

If you ask me, Amy blew it. The advice she gave Anxious was namby-pamby and not helpful at all, as it doesn’t offer a solution.

Now I am going to tell you what she should have said:

Dear Anxious: You are a dead man. By now, of course, you already know this. Your wife is probably not speaking to you. Are you sleeping on the couch? Here is the only way out of this hell: Keep apologizing. I would say 30 or 40 times a day is a good start.

Eventually, she will begin to talk to you again. These will be short snippets of conversation at first, on the order of, ‘I see Nora and her husband went to dinner for their anniversary, imagine that?’

But one day, if you apologize enough, she’ll forgive you. On the intimacy thing, though, you could be in for a long, dry spell. Is there anything good on TV? Do you belong to a gym? Doing 20 miles on the treadmill often helps.

This is the best I can do for you. Good luck.

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