Spouses earn a ‘Lifetime’ of brownie points

The key to maintaining a successful marriage is for you to open your heart and selflessly make a lot of personal sacrifices so that your spouse will feel really guilty and realize that they owe you big time.

At least, that’s my strategy.

The theory works like this: Whoever does most of the work around the house gets “chits,” or “brownie points,” which later can be redeemed for valuable prizes. It’s measured on a sliding scale. For example: Five brownie points means you get to choose the next rental movie. Seven-hundred brownie points allows you to sleep with a co-worker.

The key is not so much actual contribution, but rather perception. As Mother Teresa once said in a magazine interview: “A good deed is not worth doing unless you get a lot of credit for it.” (Guns & Ammo, March 1992).

Your strategy should be to loudly highlight the slightest thing you do, which is why I always make sure my wife, Marie, is fully aware of any effort I make around the house:

Me:  I just changed the baby’s diaper.

Marie: (Silence.)

Me: She’s completely dry now. Just thought you should know.

Marie: Thank you. I’ve changed her five times today, but hey, let me check the mail to see if your Congressional Medal of Honor has arrived.

There are other ways to earn chits. A trip to your in-laws’ house is worth five points, with an additional point awarded for each time someone mentions the word “gout.”

A wife earns three points for letting her man watch “Monday Night Football.”

A husband gets three points every time his wife watches a movie on Lifetime, unless of course, he actually sits down and watches it with her, in which case ladies, your husband gets 300 points for agreeing to neuter himself.

Surprising your wife with a romantic date night by taking her to a dance recital earns you six points. Subtract nine points if the “dance recital” is at the Fantasy strip club.

And guys, don’t forget that little touches of romance can have a big impact. Make dinner for her. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Anything outside the microwaveable hot pocket family is worth two points. In fact, go ahead and give yourself five points for preparing a quaint romantic dinner by candlelight. You can use that Glade candle you have near the toilet.

Letting your spouse go on a trip without you nets you some serious chits. A husband gets 10 points for letting his wife go to Denver without him. Twenty points if she’s going with a fitness instructor named “Antonio.”

Longer vacations are more complicated.  I won’t mention him here in public, but I have a friend who just got back from an exciting international hunting trip with the guys. For our purposes, let’s just call him “Bill Christensen,” since that’s his name.

Bill went hunting in Africa with another friend who — for privacy reasons — I’ll only refer to here as “Bob Clark of Canyon View subdivision in the Redlands.” I can’t say how many brownie points their lovely wives earned, because researches at the Cal-Poly math department are still calculating it as we speak.

What I can say is that you can lose points by spouting out stupid remarks, as I did the other day when Marie finished submitting her dish to the Palisade Peach Festival recipe contest. She said she didn’t think she’d win a prize. So naturally, I comforted her by telling her the old adage we learned as kids: It doesn’t matter if you win or lose, the important thing is that the judges don’t get food poisoning.

So basically I’m in a serious brownie point deficit right now and looking to reverse the tide. I’m changing diapers. I’m cooking. I’m groveling. I’m basically doing whatever it takes to even our point balance.

Why? Partly because I love my wife.

But mostly because I really hate Lifetime.

E-mail Steve Beauregard at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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