the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Marital Advice for Alissa


While many of you use your blogs to make money or advance your careers, I see my blog as a public service, as a way to help others.  When I read that that Alissa from “I Found a Fatal Flaw in the Logic of Love” was getting married in two weeks, I immediately swung into action.  After all, as someone who is already married, isn’t it my duty to help the soon-to-be-married and give advice, to impart the wisdom that I have gained through experience?   My marriage may be an unusual one, one with many hurdles, but I think the hard work has made me especially equipped to give heart-felt marital advice to a newbie. 

Today, I sent Alissa an email with some important items to remember as she starts her new life as a wife.

Evan and Alissa

1)  Husbands have fragile egos.  Before you go to sleep each night, it is important that you get on your knees in front of your husband and praise him.  Say things such as “Without you, I’d be NOTHING.”

2)  Work out a private signal, so your husband can communicate to you that it is time to go home and have sex, whether it be a snap of the finger or a flick of the nose, like in the movie “The Sting.”  And never say “not now.”  That is very bad for the karma of marriage.

3)  Always obey your husband, like it says in the Bible.

4)  A wife must be a great cook and create delicious home-cooked meals for your husband every night.  It is important to a husband.  It shows that you love and respect him.  Even more importantly, you should serve his dinner while you wear skimpy lingerie.   Four out of five doctors say this is good for his digestion.

5)  No matter how hard YOU worked all day, you must always appear looking beautiful  and smiling.  And always laugh at his jokes, no matter how dull.

6)  The husband controls the remote, like it says in the Bible.

For some reason, Alissa, who is normally a very proper woman, sent me back this email:

Neilochka, f**k you!

Love, Alissa.

Hmm.  Since she doesn’t like my marital advice, I’m going to open this up to other married bloggers out there. 

What is the most important advice that you would give Alissa or someone about to get married?

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  Is it Tom Cruise’s Sports Jacket?


  1. Eileen

    The day I was married I was getting my hair done. In the salon chair next to me was a woman approximately 110 years old. She had been married over 60 years. The stylist asked her if she had any advice for me. She told me “you will marry this man, love him, cook for him, clean for him, sleep with him. Somedays you will wake up and watch him as he sleeps…. and you will hate him. What you need to know is that feeling goes away.” dang if she isn’t right. Somedays I want to smother him with a pillow- but it goes away. We’re at lucky year 13 and still cookin.

  2. miriam

    Train him to put the toilet seat back up after he uses it and not to throw his socks on the floor. It might not make him happy, but it will work wonders for your disposition.

  3. Jurgen Nation

    In your and every other guy’s dreams will a woman ever follow this list!

    Barring your intent, I do agree with the “signal” thing (but NOT FOR SEX, NEIL, because that’s not up to y’alls). It comes in handy when you’re out and cannot bear another minute of whatever public misery you’re enduring. Some sort of eye contact or subtle facial expression is extremely effective so long as it’s not obvious. And it’s a team effort! Because couples are teams and all that shit. Re the “look,” I prefer an expression of narrowed-to-slits-eyes, flaring, red nostrils and a scowl for its subtlety.

  4. Jurgen Nation

    P.S. I was so caught up in your list that I forgot to offer up some advice. I’m not married though, so take it for what it’s worth (read: nothing).

    Teach him through example to fear you. Never be predictable.

  5. nabbalicious

    Well, I’m not the most positive person at the moment, and I’m sorry. But through my own divorce, I learned that if you have reservations or a problem that is huge, huge, huge — work it out BEFORE you get married. And if it doesn’t get worked out, don’t do what I did and say, “Eh. Well. Let’s get married anyway.”

    Seems like obvious advice, but it seems like lots of people make this mistake.

    But advice for when you’re actually married? Never forget you’re a team. Stick together.

  6. MammaLoves

    Make sure he knows how to cook and do laundry. My hubs gets many points for taking the lead on those things around here.

  7. alissa

    Neil, I forwarded your e-mail on to Evan with a few minor changes. You know, changing names etc… 😉

    Thanks everyone for the advice!

  8. Neil

    Well, Alissa, you guys must be pretty confident in your relationship if you are getting wedding tattoos — branding each other for life —

    I don’t even like sharing my sandwich at Subway.

  9. sandra

    I would advise them to keep doing what they’re doing: adoring and respecting each other.

  10. Neil

    Snort. Yeah, like that’s important. Come back after YOU get married, Sandra.

  11. renkat

    Don’t every say to each other, “We’ll never be like that.”

    You will be. Prepare for that.

  12. Finn

    Never, ever assume. Communication is the key to everything. Talk to each other. About everything, even the hard stuff.

    And say “I Love You” every day.

  13. L.A. Daddy

    Neil – could you advise my wife, too? LA Mommy would, I think, really benefit from your expertise. Even though we’ve already been married for almost five years.

    It’s never too late to learn, I always say.

  14. 180/360

    Always keep the “why you married him/her” in the back of your mind. After years of being together, sometimes you lose sight of it and need to remind yourself what it was that you liked in the first place.

  15. 180/360

    That said, my husband would probably completely disagree, because that sex goddess he married is now a thing of the past! 😉 Ohh the good old days…

  16. Chollyson

    Most importantly? Don’t listen to married men.

  17. sizzle

    you don’t even really believe that load of crap anyhow. you’re way too nice for that! heh.


  18. Dariush

    Something I’ve always heard as a key to people who’ve been married for decades and decades is some variation on not letting the sun go down with the two of you upset.

    Communication, they tell me, is everything to a marriage. The closer you are, the better.


  19. Pearl

    Consider your spouse your other half…not necessarily your BETTER half, but your other half. After all — two halves make a whole.In other words, be a team, work together at all aspects of marriage…and eventually parenting.

    Happy Married Life to you, ALissa.

  20. Dating Dummy

    I don’t think I can improve on that advice Neil. Not one bit!

  21. wendy

    I have to be the voice of the contrary her. Sorry folks.

    Here’s my advice. Never stop being who you are, as an individual. Be yourself..grow into yourself. You are pledging your love and fidelity to eachother…but as that good old hippie Kahil Gibran wold say…Be pillars of support..BUT NEVER TOO CLOSE. Your job is to strengthen one another, to bear the load…and belive me..there will be loads.

    my marriage gets stronger..(15 years and counting) as I become more WHO I AM..and not some “version” of what he wants me to be.

    oh…and sex..not a big deal if it’s good..HUGE deal if it’s not. Everyonce in a while, just use eachother..and don’t worry about the hearts and flowers. Everyone has gone to bed angry..just put that anger to good use.

  22. laurie

    Neil, you are hilarious!

    I am a cautionary tale, so I offer no advice. However, I do wish them the best. Mazeltov! (Look at me speaking bilingual over here!!)

  23. Sophia

    I wish I had this list before I married Neil. Then our marriage would have been perfect. He is very wise and I recommend following each step to the letter. From now on, I know I will.


    (as imagined by Neil)

  24. Kevin Charnas

    HHAA!! Neil…damn it, man…too funny.

    Well, listen kind Sir, I’m throwing a Halloween Blogger Party up here in Santa Barbara on Saturday, Oct. 27th and I’d love it if you could make it. It’s going to be in a BEAUTIFUL Spanish barn and all food and drink will be provided.

    I’m gay, remember? So, speaking of “Bibles”, it’s in ours that we throw kick-ass parties. If headquarters finds out that we threw a lame party, that’s it…it’s ALL OVER. We’re kicked out into Breederville.

    Costumes are optional, but strongly encouraged. At least accessories like hats, wigs, assless chaps, you know, the usual.

  25. scarlet hip

    Ward, you were a little hard on the Beaver last night.

  26. Non-Highlighted Heather

    Have a good sense of humor, don’t take yourself so seriously.

  27. Blonde Advice

    If you must marry, do it for the money.

  28. Rach

    Check into a hotel every fortnight, re-connect and order room service

  29. NSC

    Don’t be one of those brides who are smiling because they know they have given the last “BJ” in their life. A man will do the wash, iron, cook, clean, tend to the kids, earn more money, avoid a beer belly, lower the toilet seat, get the dirty clothes in the hamper, never fart in bed, watch “chick flick” shows with you, and never look at other women if you keep that up (or start).

    It’s science.

  30. NSC

    Oh, and never buy a copy of Living with the Passive-Aggressive Man.

  31. echo

    When something is really important to you, don’t give in. Fight (nicely and fairly) for what you want. But, when you realize someing isn’t that important to you, give in quickly. It’s worked for us so far. I’ve gotten to take advantage of a lot of great opportunities and so has he.

  32. Shellie in Boston

    I second what blonde advice says.

  33. schmutzie

    Most things are just not that important. In fact, most of things are there to be laughed at. Do that a lot.

  34. steppingoverthejunk

    If I get married, I ain’t tellin’ YOU!

  35. Akaky

    The hell with it, I’m staying single

  36. laura

    no matter how angry you get, cutting the brake line in the car is NOT an option.

    i learned that one the hard way

  37. teahouseblossom

    Neil, thanks for starting this comment stream. As someone who will be getting married next year, it’s been fun reading through and seeing the words of wisdom.

  38. Jack

    Remember there are no tragedies only funny stories.

  39. V-Grrrl

    I’ve been married 25 years to a guy I met when I was 17.

    My advice: always close the bathroom door.

    And the advice that Eileen received and shared in the very first comment: SO TRUE!

  40. Sara

    it sounds to me like you have a lot of the important stuff down – if that’s the case, you can work through all of the new stuff that’s going to come along in your future.

    one trick I have: During a fight, after it’s getting kind of heated (we are both very opinionated), I will stop and read our vows, which are framed in our dining room. I like the reminder of our pledge to each other- nothing works better to yank me back into our relationship.

  41. brettdl

    My advice is this: Treat Evan as a hero for the things he does for you. He will then do MORE things for you and be more inclined to compliment all the things you do for him.

  42. Atomic Bombshell

    Make sure you’re marrying the best friend you’ve ever known, realize that any relationship is about GIVING not GETTING, and the rest will be okay.

    Neil, I’m so sorry that I had to cut out early from the gig at Lucky Strike before I had a chance to meet you and Sophia! 🙁

  43. Jenny from Chicago

    Seek the common ground, common hobbies and common schedules. The rest will work out itself.

  44. Donna

    When you’re in your car you can scream as loud as you want. Dogs won’t even hear you. You may need to do this from time to time. 😉

  45. helen

    Thank God my hubby dun read your blog. I won’t want him to get funny ideas. lol

  46. nelumbo

    The advice my priest gave me may help with the jitters: “Don’t stress out about the wedding. You’ll end up married no matter what happens, and that’s the important thing.”

  47. August

    CHeck check check and check! No wonder I am super wife extra-ordinaire.

    Remember that you can never take back words so before screaming something cruel and unloving out of rage or hormones or emotion, stop and think first and remind yourself that he is your best friend, and why would you say those things to your best friend? This too shall pass… says so in the Bible.

  48. gorillabuns

    be kind to your wife when she is sick otherwise, it will totally come back to bite him in the ass when it is his turn.

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