Off the Porch: Wife training, 101 — develop her interest in yours
I’d like to have a dollar for every time one of my friends told me how lucky I was to have a wife that enjoys the same things I do. Cherie shoots better than most of my friends, enjoys fishing, rarely complains, and never loses her sense of humor. She laughs at my stories and rarely gets mad at me because of a practical joke. Fortunately, God created her with some sort of flaw that prevents her from seeing my shortcomings or I’d be very insecure that someone might steal her away from me.
The reason so many men are envious of me is that most men really want their wives to enjoy the same things they do. In most marriages, the man has his ways of enjoying time and the wife has hers. Not many marriages are blessed with common interests. The truth is that when I married Cherie, she was not an outdoor woman. In fact, she was known to spend time at the Mall and other shopping venues. Over a period of time, she developed an interest in a lot of the outdoor activities I participate in. Some might say I just gave her an opportunity to do something she’d always wanted to do. This is simply wrong; her interest in outdoor activities was purely the result of proper training on my part.
A few weeks back, it was 15 years since I tricked this normally smart woman into agreeing to marry me. It was a complicated, intricate plan, carried out flawlessly, that seduced her into saying yes when I dropped to one knee and produced a ring. I began by listening to her when she talked and trying to do things she’d enjoy. I added the enticement of cooking meals for her and taking her places she liked to go. Once she succumbed to my charms and agreed to marry me, I let her choose what kind of ceremony we’d have. When she said she would like to go someplace interesting to get married, I suggested New Orleans, a town with wonderful food, lots of music, and great fishing just a couple of hours down the road.
On that honeymoon fishing trip, I continued to work my plan, making sure she had everything she needed to enjoy the trip in comfort. The guide, a friend of mine named Donnie Thomas, and I continued the ruse by being patient and allowing her to fish at her own pace. I even gave up my fishing time until I was sure she was up to speed and was catching fish. She managed to catch the largest fish of the day, a 12 pound red drum, on that trip and, through the flawless execution of my master plan, she had a good time.
On subsequent trips, I continued with my system of being as considerate as the masculine brain will allow. I did devious things like making sure I was taking her where she could have a good time and providing her with equipment that would work for her and not what I would have preferred. I feigned being patient when she had problems I didn’t understand, and pretended to not be upset when she out-fished me or out-shot me. This went a long way in tricking her into enjoying the outdoors. It’s amazing that when I work the plan properly, she’s fooled into thinking she’s having fun. Paying attention to silly details like making sure I put her comfort and enjoyment ahead of my desire to catch fish, shoot birds, or break targets works so well that it often tricks me into thinking I’m having a good time doing it. It’s amazing. By the way, this training plan also works with kids
I know that I don’t deserve this wonderful woman, God blessed me with her for some reason I don’t understand, perhaps as punishment to her for something bad that she did in her youth. One thing that might have helped is that I found her in the singles Sunday school class at Green Street Baptist Church. I’ve since told all my single friends that there’s no better place to pick up a woman. I can distinctly remember the day… She came into the class late, a habit she continues anytime she’s going anywhere that she’s supposed to be at a specific time. She began to stare at me like a hungry beagle looking at five pounds of pork tenderloin. I will admit this was possible because I changed seats to get a better view of her, but her staring was so obvious, I was almost embarrassed for her. I took her out to dinner a week later.
For our first Christmas, I probably won her heart with my insightful purchase of Christmas gifts, one of which was a pair of L.L. Bean hunting boots in her size, and I’ve continued to make great gift decisions since that time. (Of course, by our second Christmas, she suggested we not get each other anything and spend the money on Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes instead).
It hasn’t always been easy, I sometimes allow her to catch the biggest fish or outshoot me to keep her confidence high. The fact is that the training program never ends; it just progresses to another level. At this point, we’re 15 years into the program. I’ll admit that, in spite of all the work I’ve put into it, it’s been the best years of my life. This week, she’s stretching herself a little further and shooting the National Action Pistol Match with me. She’s so gullible, she has no idea that what she thinks is going to be a fun week of shooting is really just another phase of my training program.
This takes time, but I’m making progress. She shot four deer last year, and she caught a citation drum off the Point of Cape Hatteras, tying her own knots, baiting her own hook, making the cast and fighting her fish to the beach. She’s won three Northeast Side by Side Women’s Shotgun Championships and gearing up for another one at the end of this month.
It’s working out pretty well. I figure another 30 years or so and I’ll have her completely trained.
Dick and Cherie Jones are outdoor writers living in High Point. They recently traveled across the county on a hunting and fishing trip to SHOT Show in a camper with the dogs. They do public speaking for clubs and organizations, host outdoor events, are NRA Shooting Instructors, own Lewis Creek Shooting, and help church and youth groups raise money with outdoor events. You can visit their website at offtheporchmedia.com and contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.