When Betty and I (Bubba) first met, I was a lot thinner than I am right now. (Or maybe I was taller.) I was in high school, eighteen years old, and weighed in at around 170 pounds. I was a little harder on the scale by the time I got to college. I had shot up to about 210 pounds. And the scale hasn't stopped spinning since. Back then, though, I was in pretty good shape. In fact, I was quite the catch. At least that's what I wrote in Betty's yearbook.
Oh, and did I mention I also had permed hair? Betty claims that it was my permed hair that kept her attention off any weight issues I may have had. "I couldn't get past that perm," Betty confessed on our radio show one day not too long ago. I believe the exact words she used to describe it were "that goofy perm."
Goofy perm? And here, all these years, I thought it looked kind of cool, in an electrocuted Tom Jones kind of way.
Isn't that just like a woman, though? We men, as insecure as most of us are already, go out of our way to try to look appealing to our wives. But it seems like the harder we try, the more they laugh at us. Am I right, guys? We tried platform shoes, Nehru jackets, and Elvis hair and sideburns. All we got were snickers, giggles, and belly laughs.
Sorry ... Betty has just commandeered the computer for her version of the story:
"I remember the first day I met Bill 'Bubba' Bussey. Of course, he wasn't 'Bubba' back then. He was just 'Bill.'
"Bill drove up in this gold 280Z, with speakers that were as big as the car. He had 12-inch woofers pointing up, three-way 6 x 9s pointing forward, with a crossover network. Let's just say, you could hear him coming. The ground would start vibrating from a block away.
"Bill was cool. He looked over at me like he really had something going on. But I couldn't react. I was too busy trying not to lose my cookies from the vibration in my chest caused by those speakers. So while I was trying my best not to get sick, he was trying his best to look cool and catch my attention.
"He did catch it, though. And as they say, the rest is history." (Me again-Bubba-and I still say, she really did like that perm.)
This chapter is for any single guys who may be reading this book. If you're reading it, either you're looking for advice on marriage for when you take the plunge into matrimony, or you're trying to figure out what might have gone wrong in your last relationship and how not to repeat those same mistakes.
We're glad you've come to the right source.
Many of today's young men are lost when it comes to the fine art of dating. Frankly, they are way too passive and need to get more aggressive in their search for the right woman. I (Rick) watch these young guys, and it's as if they think that the woman that God intends for them to marry is just going to happen along. Unless she's the Avon lady, it's highly unlikely that she's going to show up on your doorstep.
If the two of us had just waited around for Sherri and Betty to finally decide to marry us, we would probably be living like the Odd Couple, and we're not sure which one of us would be Felix.
Men, when it comes to finding the right mate, you have to be determined and focused. And not give up too soon. We walked right up to the line of stalking these two beautiful women. We didn't cross the line, of course; we stopped before they had legal grounds to keep us away.
But we never gave up.
I (Rick) played the world-famous friend approach in order to get myself into Sherri's company, and then I sort of worked my way from there. I would often talk to her about what losers other men were and how she shouldn't be treated that way. This, of course, implied how I would treat her like a queen if she would just give me the chance.
When I got up the courage, I began to get a little bolder and told her exactly how I felt and that my intentions were to marry her one day. (Sherri claims that if you look at our wedding pictures today, there is a look on my face that says, "Hey, look, I pulled this off just as planned.")
So my confidence played in my favor. Women love confidence in a man, but that's not to be confused with cockiness or arrogance.
Women also love it when a guy seems interested in what is important to them. Guys, when you're out with a woman, ask her about herself, take interest in who she is and what she likes, believes, wants, needs, expects, and dreams about. Get to know the real her; that'll go a long way toward getting her interested in knowing more about you.
And all of you single ladies out there, don't get lured into the "I will not settle" lie. If my wife had not settled for imperfection, we wouldn't be married today. I assure you that when she was a little girl, I was not what she was thinking her Prince Charming would turn out to be. For one thing, I couldn't even get the tights over my knees. I was older, already had a couple of kids, and had plenty of baggage.
But I can also assure you that we could not be happier. The way I treat her and the way I attempt to honor her are much more important than how tight my abs may or may not be or any mistakes I may have made in my past.
So don't look for perfection. Chances are pretty good that you're not without flaws either. None of us are. Find someone whose imperfections you can live with, and he yours, and see if something develops. If you fall in love, put God at the center of your marriage and watch how everything else falls into place.
Rick and Bubba's Surefire Ways for Guys to Know She's the One
For those of you who haven't taken the plunge into matrimony yet, we thought it would be good to give you some tips to know whether the girl you're considering marrying is the right one for you.
You'll know she's the right one if ...
* she believes the "triple option offense" is the greatest offense ever created in football, and she thinks the "spread offense" is ruining the game.
* she knows everything there is to know about you and still wants to be in the same room.
* she will prepare wild game for dinner and never once flinch.
* she encourages you to go off more often with your guy friends to hunt and fish.
* she loves red meat.
* she says, "I just don't think men should change diapers."
* she has her own bass boat.
* she loves to cut grass.
* she enjoys cleaning house and doesn't want anyone else to do it.
* she hates soccer and doesn't want her sons playing it.
A misconception held by many single men and women is that they have more freedom than do married people. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Yet singles will brag that by staying unattached, they don't have to answer to a spouse and they have the freedom to come and go as they please. They will even go so far as to describe a married relationship as "the old ball and chain."
We challenge that notion and will here prove its inaccuracy once and for all. Married people are not the ones who wear a ball and chain. The shackled ones are single guys in unhealthy relationships.
Exhibit One: Whenever we're with our single friends, we don't spend near the amount of time on the cell phone with our significant other as they do. They are the ones with the receiver pressed to their ear and so deep in conversation that they tune out everyone else. We don't know what they're talking about, but there's a lot of uh-huhing going on: "Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh, I'm sorry, uh-huh, uh-huh. Pleeeeeeease, can I ... uh-huh, uh-huh. Oh, all right, I'll be right there, sweetie."
So who's the one dragging around the ball and chain?
Wives are much more secure than that. If a married man calls his wife to check in or to tell her he's going to be late, the conversation will usually go something like this, "Hi, hon. I'm gonna stop by ________ (fill in whatever store). See you in a bit. Love ya. Bye."
We don't have to beg or plead or apologize for the extra time it's going to take. The call is merely a heads-up, a courtesy call, just to let her know that we'll be a little late.
When the guy with a girlfriend calls to say he's going to be late for their dinner date, he barely gets the words out before his date's voice starts blasting through the phone line, in a pitch of whine never before heard on this earth. Never mind the fact that she has just spent the previous hour text messaging him; never mind that this is her third phone call in the same amount of time; never mind that the Goodyear blimp flying overhead is scrolling the words "You're late!" The guy will still insist that because he's single, he has his freedom. He'll even say something ridiculous after he hangs up, like, "You know, I'd get married, but I just enjoy my independence too much. Hey, look, is that the Goodyear blimp? Slow down so I can read what it says ... Well, lookie there. She loves me!"
We husbands and wives have a mutual understanding that we'll tell each other what we're going to be doing so that the other person can go ahead and make plans. It's not a ball and chain; it's called communication. That way no one's waiting at home with dinner on the table getting cold or having to wonder who, if anybody, picked up the kids. A married couple operates as a team, and when the team is running smoothly, it's a beautiful thing.
Exhibit Two: Most of us married men can do anything we want to ... as long as we take the kids. We can golf, go bowling, sky-dive, go to the sporting goods store-the only catch is, we've got to load up the kids and take them with us. Most wives don't care where you go, as long as you're hauling around the offspring.
Our single friends think this is a ploy by our wives to make sure we get home on time. But it's not. They just enjoy knowing that the kids are spending time with their dad. And since we enjoy the company of our children, it works out for everyone.
Exhibit Three: When we take our really fine wives out for the evening we can continue the date when we get back home without worrying about going against God. That's real freedom. Despite what many-even in the church-overlook today, it is still against the teachings of the Bible to live together before marriage.
But after a date night with your wife, you can go home and sleep together and not feel one bit of guilt. When we get that "special" look from our wives over a fried shrimp platter at Denny's, we don't have to wrestle over what happens later that evening. If she has loving on her mind, all we have to do is say, "Oh, really? Well, all right!"
* * *
When I (Bubba) get that "special" look from Betty, it usually means something different. Betty's "come hither" look just means we're having spaghetti. "You've got that twinkle in your eye again, babe. And I know what that means. Italian!"
To be fair, Betty says my own sexy look leaves a lot to be desired too. She says it makes me look like my tummy hurts. I'll give her what I think is a romantic look from across the table, and she'll just say, "Honey, you okay? You got gas again? We've talked about what Mexican food does to you."
I guess I still need to work on "my look."
So there you have it-proof positive that guys with girlfriends, or gals with boyfriends, actually have less freedom than those of us who are happily married. Stay single if you want, but don't do it because of the freedom you think you'll be losing if you say, "I do." The wedding vows aren't a ball and chain; they're a promise to mutually love, respect, and honor each other. If that sounds good to you, if it sounds better than what you've experienced so far in your single life, then jump on in; the water's fine.
Rules of Engagement for Women
1. Your husband-to-be is currently acting like he is fourteen years old. This is not going to change. You might want to lower your expectations to a goal of his maturing to age twenty-one after you have been married for, say, twenty more years.
2. If your husband-to-be loves to watch sports, and he also seems to hunt and fish a lot while you're dating, assume that he will still have those desires when he is your husband.
3. Men are not complicated. Feed your man, and be excited about intimacy between a husband and a wife, and he will be very happy and contented all the days of his life.
4. Men do not care at all about how the house will be decorated. Please don't ask them about curtains, bedspreads, china, paint colors, or, and most especially, duvets (whatever those are).
5. Men do care about the electronics in the house. Don't ever freelance in choosing these. Include your fianc�� in every purchase, or just let him go get that stuff himself.
6. Never tell your fianc�� that you don't want a present for special occasions. He will think you mean it and continue the practice throughout your marriage.
7. If you don't care what dress your sweetheart likes better on you, don't ever put him in the position of picking one out for you. Work this out for yourself.
8. All shoes are the same to a man. Don't even ask.
9. Never buy your husband clothes for a gift-unless the clothes are for you and they have romance as a theme.
10. Men will take alone time with you over any gift, so give it to them generously (unless, of course, it's alone time to discuss long-term-future plans; remember, men live in the now).
Rules of Engagement for Men
1. Women make their rules up as they go.
2. Unlike a man, who never changes quickly enough for a woman, your wife will change into many different women throughout your marriage.
3. Despite what they're telling you, women do care where and what they eat.
4. Despite what they're telling you, women do want a gift.
5. Despite what they're telling you, women really do want you to ask them what they like and how their day went. But before you do, make sure you have plenty of time on hand and a place to sit.
6. Tell her how beautiful she is every single day.
7. Teach her to love wild game, and your sporting life will go much easier.
8. Say good-bye to your single guy friends. They cause nothing but trouble.
9. Do not buy anything that helps with housework for a gift.
10. Add 30 percent to whatever line item is in the budget that involves both her and a checkbook or debit card.
One of the reasons we married our wives is that they are good kissers. It's not the main reason, but it certainly is near the top of the list.
Kissing is important in a marriage. It's a romantic expression of love, and depending on the flavor of lipstick, it tastes good. I (Rick) don't think I could have married a bad kisser. I really don't. If everything else were perfect-great personality, good looks, a compatible belief system, and a great sense of humor-if she had all those qualities but was a bad kisser, I think we would have had problems.
Luckily, I didn't have to struggle over that issue with Sherri. She's a great kisser. I still remember our first kiss. It was an accidental one. Well, sort of. I couldn't hear what she was saying, so she leaned down to get closer, and she got right up on my cheek. So I did the only thing I could do-the classic turnover move. This is where you sort of turn your cheek so that your lips can't help but meet. The next thing I knew, it was contact, and then ... wow! I don't mean to brag on my wife as an amazing kisser ... okay, I do mean to brag. Sherri is an amazing kisser!
Now that I've had a paragraph to think about it, if Sherri hadn't been a good kisser, I still would have kept on dating her. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever met and was off the chart in every other way, too. So if she had been a bad kisser, I probably would have told her we needed to put in some extra time working on our technique-practice kissing sessions to perfect our skills. I don't think she would have minded.
After all, kissing is an art. There's a lot more to it than you think. First, the docking has to be just right. You can't simply go at each other's lips willy-nilly. The tilt and the lockup have to be right-on. They have to match up as perfectly as possible because the lips need to have a good seal. If you miss a few centimeters on the docking, or if you're off on your tilt in the slightest way, you'll forfeit the lockup and lose the seal. It's all scientific.
Excerpted from Rick and Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriageby Rick Burgess Bill "Bubba" Bussey Martha Bolton Copyright © 2009 by Rick Burgess and Bill "Bubba" Bussey. Excerpted by permission.
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