good advice, this

Hello Mr. Keillor.

I have been listening to your show for quite some time now and love every minute of it. In fact, your show has been great in helping me bond with my father: we listened to it while sipping hot chocolate. Anyhoo, on to my question: I am getting married this August. Do you have any advice?

Michael Carlisle

Pendleton, SC

Michael, you have come to the right person. I have more experience with marriage than almost anybody else. In general, the rules for marriage are similar to the rules for being in a lifeboat on the open ocean: don’t crowd each other, no sudden moves, and keep all disastrous thoughts to yourself. Beyond that, I advise against long discussions about the Relationship — in fact, don’t ever use the word “relationship” and you’ll be ahead of the game. A relationship is what exists between fruit trees; what you and your beloved have is a hot romance and it is your job, Michael, to keep that romance hot, or at least toasty warm, and you do this by being faithful and avoiding the monster of jealousy, especially jealousy of the past, and also by using your imagination. And by not discussing the Relationship.

Avoid arguments about money. Be generous.

I know a couple in Florida, two of my Republican friends, who for thirty-five years have asked each other every day, “What do you need from me today?” and feel that this habit has kept them on track.

But you do need to stick up for yourself. Some men make the mistake of being passive in the name of love, thinking to avoid conflict, and so they say “Yes, dear” about twenty-two thousand times and one morning they wake up and realize they are living someone else’s life and not their own, and they blow up the lifeboat. So if you like to go shoot small defenseless creatures, and she doesn’t like it, but you need to do it, then go do it.

Michael, I have plenty of advice. Put another nickel in and you’ll get more.