A decade of eagle-eyed marriage

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I’M going to tell you something that will make you as happy as, as ... an EAGLE!

Our Isaac, aged nine, can have a funny turn of phrase.

His latest “happy as an eagle” came straight out of left field.

It’s not a common expression, I grant you, but I’ve no reason to believe the eagle is not happy with his lot.

While its face gives nothing away, in the bird world, the eagle pretty much has it made.

A high-flier, top of the food chain and, though it probably isn’t aware of the fact, a symbol of the most powerful nation in the world.

OK Isaac, I’ll give you that one. Happy as an eagle. It’s up there with our Isaac’s term for something that is truly amazing. “It’s can’tbelievable,” he once told us.

Speaking of can’tbelievable, it was my 10th wedding anniversary this week.

“Make sure you take the day off work on our anniversary,” my wife said.

“No problem,” I said, “When is it exactly?”

Schoolboy error – have I learned nothing in our 10 years? Forgetting the wedding anniversary! Husbands have been divorced for less.

Marriage is a minefield. You have to treat all questions as potential man-traps.

“Do I look fat in this?” being a hardy annual.“No.” is the best response, “you look great.” (smile, and maintain eye contact. They can sense fear you know).

Do not, as I have done, all too often, say “No, you don’t look that fat.”“What do you mean, I don’t look THAT fat?” You live and learn.

As it was, my wife wasn’t sure what day we were married on. She came back to me later.

“It was on October the third,” she said. “I checked on the receipt for the wedding reception.” She kept the receipt? Why? Is there a money-back guarantee if things go wrong?

Perhaps there was some sort of negotiation process involved. A 10 per cent discount if it lasts the decade.

Maybe she was hoping to trade me in. Secondhand husband, good runner, only 10 years on the clock … a fiver anyone?

Our 10th wedding anniversary coincides with the last time I had any power within a relationship.

You know, they can’t marry you unless you propose. I held out as long as I could. It may have been four years. That was some campaign.

Then, in a moment of weakness (yes, drink was involved), I’d proposed.

From that moment on the huge marriage preparation machine swung into action.

A massive operation involving hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions.

I was handed my instructions early on. 1. Turn up. 2. Say “I do.” We stuck with the traditional words of love, honour and obey in the service. The twist was they were not directed at the bride, but at me.

And I had to fight to get the love and honour bit included. She just wanted obey.

This may all sound like a poor advert for married life, but that’s not the intention.

Marriage is great, and it’s apparently good for your health. It certainly helped me cut down on the drinking (she told me to kiss goodnight to the Friday night out with the lads by day three).

Ten years is good going, we should get a medal. Ten years and still happy... happy as an eagle, you could say (smiling, and maintaining eye contact at all times).