(EXEMPLATORY: Adj. – Exemplary, Meritorious)


This may be difficult for you to comprehend, but even as fabulous and wonderful you are, there may be a small amount of room for improvement – to become even more exemplatory than you already are. Perhaps you will pick up a pointer or two from the following.


What happens to a football team that always runs off left tackle on first down, always runs off right tackle on second down, and always passes on third down? The answer is – they punt on fourth down because they have become so predictable that their opponent knows what they’re going to do before they do it and they stop them in their tracks. And, they are b-o-r-i-n-g.

Hey, Coach, how about shaking things up a bit and passing on first down, running a reverse, using a fleaflicker, or throwing in a fumblerooski now and then to become unpredictable – maybe even exciting.

Of course, we’re not talking about football in this little metaphor – we’re talking about you. Develop an exciting personal game plan so you do not become predictable and boring in your relationship with Abby – not now, not ten years from now, not twenty years from now, not ever. Continue to be the exciting, spontaneous, fun, slightly crazy guy that she fell in love with.


Why do people look forward to seeing what the prize is at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box? Why do people wrap presents rather than just handing over the unwrapped box? Why do people go along with it when someone says, “Close your eyes?” It’s because everyone is thrilled by the surprise of the unknown.

When your wife gives you that steely-eyed, clinched-jaw scowl, known as “The Look,” it means that you have obviously done something wrong, but what? You will find out as soon as she gets you alone.

Likewise, your wife will be thrilled if every once in a while you spring a little surprise on her. Maybe bring her flowers for no reason at all; she might especially appreciate them if they are wild flowers that you picked yourself. Volunteer to help with some household task that you normally don’t get involved in. Surprise her with tickets to a concert or ballgame that you know she’d love to go to. Throw a surprise party for her birthday or to commemorate some milestone or accomplishment in her life.

Maybe you could arrange to have a long-lost friend of hers come to visit or maybe just call her on the phone. Why not take her on a surprise trip out of town for the night or over the weekend?

How about writing her a poem. It doesn’t matter if it’s well written or it’s sophomoric – she’ll love it from the bottom of her heart and will cherish it forever.

Why not give her a special, unexpected, gift. It can be large or small, costly or inexpensive – it doesn’t matter, for it really is the thought that counts. And, while you’re at it, why not give her the gift with a flair.

If it is a small item like a piece of jewelry, maybe you could put it in the bottom of a bag of popcorn that you give to her. Maybe you could place the gift in a small box inside a series of larger boxes that she has to open to get to it. Maybe you could have a mysterious package delivered to your door by a courier or delivery company. Perhaps you could blindfold her and lead her by the hand to the gift, where you whip off the blindfold and dazzle her, just like in the movies or in television commercials.

Maybe you could hide the gift somewhere in the house and then plant a series of notes that she has to follow to find it. Of all the gifts that you give her throughout your lifetime, the ones that you surprise her with will be among the most memorable for her and the ones that she will remember forever. Here is a true story:

The Ring He Could Not Afford to Not Afford

Shortly after Grandma and I were married, we spotted a beautiful, unique ring that was quite expensive in a jewelry store window. Grandma adored it but she didn’t even ask if I would buy it for her since, just starting out, money was tight. We often passed by that jewelry store and we always stopped to admire the ring in the window.

One day, I stopped in to talk to the jewelry store owner and the owner said he’d sell the ring to me on layaway and I could pay him what I could whenever I could until it was paid for. It took a while, but I finally got that ring paid for. I was bursting with pride and excitement as I hid the ring in the house and hid little notes, starting with one behind the sugar bowl in the cupboard, that would lead Grandma to the ring. I will never forget Grandma’s surprise, sheer joy, excitement, and appreciation when she found the ring.

That was some decades ago. Since then, Grandma and I have been fortunate and I have purchased Grandma numerous rings including some very nice ones. Grandma wears those rings from time to time, but the one ring that she always wears is the one that she and I spotted in the jewelry store window those many years ago. It is a beautiful ring, yes, but to Grandma, the memory of my surprising her with it and what the ring represents is the most beautiful thing of all. You have seen that ring many times, Joel – it’s the one she wears on the middle finger of her left hand, next to her wedding ring.

Don’t Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water*

Another time, I bought Grandma a nice gold ring inlaid with several different precious stones and I hid it in the bottom of a bag containing a sandwich. She ate the sandwich, crumpled up the bag and tossed it in the garbage. Fortunately, I was there to retrieve the bag. Learn from this, as I did – if you present a gift to Abby with a flair or some showmanship, make sure you’re there to save the day in case your idea backfires. P.S. Joel, you never knew that Grandpa was such a romantic devil, huh!

Who’s Having the Most Fun Here, Anyway!

The great thing about giving your wife a surprise is that it is so much fun to plan, organize, and spring on her – and it’s just as much fun to watch her reaction. She will love it, guaranteed. And, your surprises for her will form a special bond between the two of you and will create moments that you will both cherish forever.

Besides that, it will be a great story that your wife will recount to friends and relatives dozens of times throughout the years – a true sign that your fabulous surprise and flamboyant presentation made a lasting impression on her.

* If you’ve never heard this saying, look it up. It’s from an earlier era, and you’ll 
be surprised!

Excerpt is from Marital Advice to my Grandson, Joel: How to be a husband your wife won’t throw out of the window in the middle of the night

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