Saturday, October 11, 2003


Due to popular demand, I have added a feature which allows you, the reader, to post comments. I have avoided it so far because I thought it would be too difficult and that I would get depressed upon seeing how few people care enough to respond to the things I write. Turns out that it's not that difficult, and I've had enough requests for a commenting feature that I think it might be worth having, so here it is. When you're leaving a comment, just keep in mind that I reserve the right to delete anything without warning or justification because it's my web site and my bandwidth and my mother reads this.

Who'll be the first commenter?

Update: First commenter is Matt! Thanks, man.

Marriage links for the week  

Steven Curtis Chapman married very young, probably before he was ready, and had some difficult problems to work through. But he's still married, happily, and in this article talks about those early days when he and his wife learned to rely on God in their marriage. The article is part of the segment of Christianity Today's web site that focuses on marriage issues.

Anyone who thinks marriage is just a piece of paper needs to talk to these people, for whom the marriage certificate was almost a matter of life and death.

The church used to be the center of all artistic expression. If you wanted to hear the best music, see the most powerful painting and sculpture, etc., you went to church. Modern Christianity for many years has gone in the opposite direction, denying its adherents the opportunity to engage in such "secular" pursuits as superior drama, dance, music, and art. Christian artists are beginning to realize, however, that art expresses what mere words cannot, and I believe we are now on the verge of a Renaissance. Exhibit one: Metron Press, a comic book company dedicated to communicating God's love through well-written stories and astonishing art. Their latest release is called Testament, and it looks to be phenomenal.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Blogger's block  

I've been suffering from a mild to medium case of writer's block for the past few days. I've been trying to write some serious posts, and I've even started a couple, but so far I've accomplished nothing. Thankfully, though, we have technology to help us. Yesterday, I came across an apology note generator, which I don't actually need right now. But when I do need it, it will help.

Just as useful is this love letter generator, which follows sort of a Mad-Lib philosophy of romance. It helped me write this:

Dear Daisy,

How do I love thee, let me build the ways. You are the most fresh person I have ever met. I especially think your are fresh when you wear your sock just gentley covering your ankle.

Please meet me tonight in our special place, the moon, and be sure to wear your sock. I will bring the pet, you just bring yourself. My heart is rancid with anticipation. All of my friends think I am the portliest person alive for finding someone as fresh as you. I hope to live the rest of my life with you, raise 23 fresh children, and move to my bedroom.

Before I met you I was nothing. I didn't know what I wanted. I was completely lost in frustration, But then you came into my life and turned that all around. I will spend the rest of my fresh life thanking you.

Forever you are in my thoughts.

Yours Lovingly,

And, last but not least, I also found an automatic blog entry generator for those days when the keyboard won't do the work for you (if The Happy Husband is the only blog you read, just be aware that most blogs follow the format of the one below fairly consistently):

What can I say?

Pretty much not much exciting going on these days. Shrug. I can't be bothered with anything. I've just been staying at home waiting for something to happen. I haven't gotten much done today, but it's not important.

Current Mood: bored

Hopefully, the weekend will refresh me and I will have something good to post on Monday.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

Off-topic: Movie etiquette  

I like the sci-fi/fantasy/horror genre for movies because it has the greatest potential for the expression of genuine creativity. The writer and director of a fantasy movie can construct entirely new realities to share with the public. They can let their imaginations run wild and really, truly create. The actors involved participate by portraying characters that have never actually existed. Set designers, prop designers, art directors, and everyone else do their jobs in a more purely creative state than any other genre permits. The best recent example of that is The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkein was a genius.

Last week I went to see Underworld with my friend Jerry (Mrs. Happy hates sci-fi stuff, so she doesn't usually accompany me to such movies). I found it interesting, as it put its own spin on the mythology of vampires and werewolves. I also found it frustrating because it had a densely plotted, fascinating story that either the director or the studio felt was unimportant. The writer had imagined a thousand-year history between these two races, with detailed motivations and back stories for every major character, but it got lost among the copious fight scenes and, as Roger Ebert pointed out, people walking through doors. While watching the movie, I could imagine a studio executive saying to the director, "Hmm. Kate here doesn't seem to have as many fights as Wesley Snipes did in Blade, and we don't have as many stunts as The Matrix. We can fix that by adding three minutes to the fight in the subway and adding another in the werewolves' lair. Cut out some of that stuff about her parents if you have to. I don't want this movie being too long."

What irritated me more, though, were the other people in the theater. Jerry and I were able to catch a matinee right after work, so there were not many people there. However, the guy sitting directly behind us took a cell phone call right as the movie started. Jerry glared at him to let him know he was disturbing the people around him. For the rest of the time we were there, the guy never passed up an opportunity to kick the back of Jerry's chair.

Across the aisle from us sat three guys who seemed to have no interest in being there. They had full-voice conversations. They took and made cell phone calls, speaking loudly so that they could hear themselves over the fight scenes. And I can't be sure, but in the movie's quiet moments I swear I could hear headphone-quality music coming from their direction.

This sort of behavior can't be excused by ignorance. Even children know not to disturb others during a movie. Every film in America today follows a public service announcement asking patrons to turn off their pagers and cell phones. Not doing so amounts to willful disregard for others. When I was a kid, ushers routinely asked disruptive people to leave the theater. I think it may be time to revive that practice.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003


I'm always on the lookout for others' (and especially Christians') ramblings on marriage and marriage-related topics. I rarely find any, but today I came across a post in the blogs4God archive in which one of the moderators uses the occasion of her first wedding anniversary to reflect on the reality versus the illusion of love, ending her thoughts with a prayer:

Heavenly Father, we thank you for the gift of love in our lives. Lord, bless those who have been married many years, those who have not been married quite so many, and those who are looking to get married. Show them what your love really is, that it isn't what society makes it out to be, but rather that it is the coming together of a man and woman to live a common life. Bless the marriages of the members here at b4G and help those searching for their soulmate to look to you above all others because you, Lord, know our hearts and to whom we should pledge ours. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Read the entire post here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Duties of a Wife  

Yesterday, my post concerned the Duties of a Husband in 1883. Here are the duties of a wife, according to my grandmother's grandmother, along with comments on how Mrs. Happy measures up.

Duties of the Wife
Make your personal appearance as beautiful as possible for your husband. Your dress may be calico, but it should be neat. While hair dye is not advisable, the eyebrows may be improved by a slight application.

My wife sometimes gets frustrated with me because I think she's beautiful no matter what she's wearing. When she puts on a fancy, sexy dress and I tell her she looks beautiful, she sighs and says "Yeah, but you'd say that if I was wearing a potato sack." She doesn't dye her hair, but she periodically plucks her eyebrows. I don't know if Great-Great-Grandmother Happy would have approved, but I certainly don't mind.

Make every attempt to spend wisely the dole your husband offers for household expenses. Purchase with care.

We're both responsible for the household budget. Sometimes we're good about it. Other times we're more reckless.

Whatever the day's circumstances, greet your husband with a smile.

On the rare days when my wife's mood prevents a ready smile, she doesn't waste time finding something to smile about.

Do not estimate your husband by his ability to make display. His employment may not be favorable for fine show, but his superior qualities of mind and heart are all that matter.

When I proposed to the Happy Girlfriend, I was a college student earning $18,000 a year—my highest salary ever at that point in my life. At the time of our wedding, I was a college graduate earning exactly $0 a year—still the lowest salary I've ever had. I know she didn't marry me for money, and it's obvious to all who know me that she cares nothing about looks. Mind and heart are the only things left.

In your husband's dealing with his employees he is in the habit of giving commands and being obeyed. In his absentmindedness the same dictatorial spirit may possess him at home, so avoid all disputes until he gains his senses.

Mrs. Happy does periodically have to give me time to come to my senses after work, but certainly not because I have anyone to order around.

Maintain dignity in public with your husband. Loud talk or laughter, pointing, running, allowing your skirt to drag or sucking on your parasol handle all show bad manners.

Mrs. Happy is as dignified, confident, and comfortable with herself as any woman I have ever met. To my knowledge, she has never sucked on a parasol handle.

Do not use profanity, slang, or words of double meaning that will bring the blush to your husband.

Though every day she's surrounded by coworkers and clients who constantly use profanity and street slang, she generally refrains and lets no unwholesome word proceed from her mouth. At home, in private, she is not above using words of double meaning in order to make me blush.

I think we'd have a good marriage even in the 19th century.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Duties of the Husband  

Shortly after my parents married, my mother (a.k.a. "Mom") and paternal grandmother (a.k.a. "Grandmother") were cleaning the top floor of my grandmother's house when they came across an old trunk in the back of a long, narrow closet. Mom inquired after the trunk's contents, so Grandmother pulled it out of the closet. They sat down and went through the trunk, apparently unopened for many years, and they found two pieces of paper with short, hand-written essays titled The Duties of a Husband and The Duties of a Wife. Grandmother said that her grandmother had written them in 1883 as a wedding gift for her daughter, who I imagine was my grandmother's oldest aunt. Mom was so taken with them that she copied them herself. Nearly thirty years later, my mother copied the words onto a parchment-type paper, mounted them, and gave them to my wife and me as a wedding gift.

Here are the words written for the husband, along with comments from me about how I would have stacked up in 1883. (All comments made by me have been reviewed and approved by Mrs. Happy.)

Duties of the Husband
Now that you are married do not allow yourself a slovenly appearance. Dress neatly, bathe often and give attention to the trimming of your hair and beard, nature's badge of manliness.

Before I was married I didn't understand how to shop for clothes. I dress better now because my wife tells me what to buy and when to wear it. I shower daily for the most part and get a hair cut about every five to six weeks. I have no "badge of manliness", so I guess I'm failing there.

Take care your clothing or breath is not tainted with the fumes of tobacco or strong drink.

I once smoked a cigar, but I've never smoked a cigarette. I've tasted alcohol here and there (a glass of wine, a strawberry daquiri, etc.), but I've never been drunk and my breath has never smelled of alcohol for long. I even try to brush my teeth immediately after the occasional dose of Nyquil.

Your good manners captured your wife, continue them. Do not sneeze or expectorate at the table, or allow butter, soup, or other food to remain on your whiskers. Do not be a dictator at home, it is your wife's province.

I still do my best to treat my wife like a queen. I open doors for her, help her with her coat, and give her piggy-back rides when she's tired. I mind my manners at the table and wipe my mouth consistently. I probably belch too much, but at least I'm not a dictator at home.

Remember, your wife should be first to be cared for and given the most courteous attention. When traveling make sure the horse selected for her is reliable and gentle.

I hate to admit this as a native Texan, but horses scare me. I've ridden them quite a few times, but I've never enjoyed it. Mrs. Happy and I went horseback riding together once, and afterward she promised me she'd never ask me to do it again. The less said about that experience, the better.

Never reproach your wife for an error which was done with a good motive at the time.

I've been guilty of this, but I apologize once I understand the situation.

Always use the most gentle and loving words when addressing your wife in public.

Amen. I have at times said harsh things to my wife in front of people and had to apologize for it afterward. I've found that when I'm peeved at my wife in public, we're both better off if we discuss it later in private.

Never leave your home without a tender goodbye and loving words. They may be your last.

We make it a point never to part without a hug, a kiss, and an "I love you" or two.

More on Duties of the Wife tomorrow.