Wives Come With Instructions (but the print is very small)

“What’s with you men? Would hair stop growing on your chest if you asked directions somewhere?”
Erma Bombeck

I recently attended a 1000 person dinner with corporate sponsors and on our table by each setting was a nice give away from Centra Care. I was busy talking to various people at our table and a couple of times the conversation turned to this giveaway with the question “what is it anyway?” I joked that it must be an EpiPen and someone else said it was a breath freshener. Nobody bothered to read the small print and we continued chatting and having a great evening. I eventually put it in my pocket and went home.

breath freshner

The next morning I had a breakfast speaking engagement and thought of the Centra Care breath freshener and decided to give my mouth a nice spritz before leaving. That’s when I realized that I should have paid attention to the small print which said “Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Spray”. Yuk…but that’s what I get for not taking the time to read the small print that came with the gift.

When we get married, our wife is the most precious gift that will ever cross our paths (except maybe our children and grandchildren). Sometimes as men, we just take a look at the package and think we know how to use it, what makes it work, the best way to treat it, etc etc. Then one day we wake up and say “Yuk…what am I doing wrong?”

We know our wives are able to give instructions because we receive them all the time. You may not believe it but our wives also come with instructions on how to take care of them and how to make them operate in a way that they are happy and fulfilled. The print is there but it is small and fine and you have to look for it.

Many a lonely and tough moment has been spent simply because the husband thought he knew how to use this lovely masterpiece and didn’t bother to read the instructions. Here are just a six of the instructions I have found so far. I am sure there are many more but finding them usually takes more and more time and effort. I am sure that by the time I die I will have mastered the art and know how to work more in sync with my wife.

Six Fine Print Wife Instructions

1. Handle With Care: Physical and emotional closeness are not the same thing. You may think that the five minute shoulder rub you gave her was a nice contribution on your part but what really is required is thirty minutes of listening to her concerns that will soothe her soul.

2. This Side Up: Recognizing that there is someone standing in front of you that is supposed to look a certain way will help you know when to compliment a new hairdo or new clothes, or when to reach over and offer a hug. At least try to memorize the color of her eyes and look for and notice the small mood changes. If you are insensitive to which side is up and have a “whatever” attitude you will not notice the subtle but very real opportunities to let your wife know you know something is cool and new with her or that you are by her side and feel her pain.

3. Warning Shock Hazard: You may be in a seemingly good place having a great conversation and suddenly you find yourself on the losing end of an argument that you didn’t even know you were having. This can happen at anytime and you should be aware of it. To minimize the shock of it, try to talk less and listen more. Nod your head slowly and gradually look for the door if a fight occurs. There is nothing you can do at this point so there is no need to die on your sword. Live to fight another day when she is almost asleep and does not have the use of all of her faculties. It is your only chance.

4. On/Off Switch: There is an on/off switch but it is not like a car ignition or a light switch. It is much more like getting the coals ready to grill out…it just takes some time to prepare. Knowing when the coals are ready before you start to cook is the sign of a real grill master.

5. Recharge Batteries: This seems simple enough because you do it all the time. You sit back and watch a good football game, take a nap, drool on the couch etc. When you are tired you just stop working and recharge your batteries. It is genetic. Your wife does not work that way. She just keeps working and working and working. She does not take time to recharge because she doesn’t think she has the time for it. Everybody depends on her and she is an expert and has all knowledge of how the family functions. You will do well to grab her and stop her. Take something out of her hands. Pick up the kids. Take her on a date or vacation. Give her the gift of a good book and the time to read it. It made be hard at first to shake her out of her frenzy but you would do well to try.

               293       joey dock 1       joey beach lake

6. Limited Warranty: Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can take this one back if it doesn’t work out. Your job is to make it work out even if it is hard.

Your wife may have other special instructions that don’t come with the standard model. That’s why you need to take the time to read the fine print and understand it. Don’t just listen to the instructions that she gives you (although that is a good thing to do)…read the instructions about her and find out what makes her tick.

My new camera has over 150 pages of instructions. I still haven’t read them all and consequently, some of my pictures are out of focus. Don’t think for a moment that you can treat your wife the same way. Read the fine print and do it often as it sometimes changes. You need to know when there are updates so you can make sure your marriage has great focus and is a long and happy one.


I promise you that if you will do this, you will find yourself with a partner that is happier and more fun to be with…and you won’t end up using antibacterial hand sanitizer as a breath mint!

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