What is the biggest hurdle for newlyweds?

Unrealistic expectations.  When I was engaged, I remember feeling incredulous after a married friend told me that she and her husband fought over toothpaste, toilet paper and where the food went in the refrigerator.  Those things were a cliché!  My beloved and I would never argue over something as stupid as the correct way to extract toothpaste.  On the rare occasion when we did disagree, it would be over important things – problems of great significance.

Well, I’m here to report that after more than 12 years of marriage, Mark and I have never once argued over the toothpaste, the toilet paper or the refrigerator.  When we argue, we argue over problems of truly great significance – like the dishwasher (correct way to load it), the kitchen sink (staying dirty) and the laundry (not getting folded).

Despite the humorous tone of the book, you give a lot of practical advice.

Absolutely.  There are ways to keep your sanity in a marriage, but it’s not by griping, complaining, nagging or yelling.  Trust me.  I’ve tried them all, and they just make a man more entrenched in his bad habits.  Women have to dial into the male psyche and get creative.

Can you give us an example?

Well, I’ve tried to cover every area of married life with conflict potential.  For example, I start with the home because, unless your decorating tastes lean toward Superheroes or the NFL greats, there’s about as much chance as a blizzard in Biloxi that you and your new husband are going to agree on furnishings.  After all, what does someone who enjoys color, style and harmony have in common with someone who keeps dumbbells in the dining room?

What’s the solution?

The challenge is to help a man understand that, when it comes to decorating, his home is not his castle.  I don’t know who said that, but they were wrong.  A man might own the castle, pay the mortgage on the castle and even be required to clean the castle, but he is not allowed to decorate the castle.  Except for the “male” rooms, of course, where he can exercise full sovereignty.  Meaning, the garage, the attic, the basement and the backyard – basically, any area that does not have central heat or air conditioning.

What about his stuff?

I suggest a color-coded disposal system.  Red stickers for those things you’ll throw out before the move; orange for what you intend to lose (or break) during the move; and, green for the items you intend to keep temporarily.

Any other tips?

Sure.  Everything from husbands and hygiene to food; mothers-in-law; spending time together; conflict resolution and my personal favorite, the “no-fail method of motivating a man to do housework.”

Whoa!  How do you do that?

With rewards.  The kind of rewards men enjoy.

But isn’t that sexist?

No, darlin’.  After all, you’re married, aren’t you?  That’s what married couples do – especially when the wife doesn’t have to worry about vacuuming.  And listen, men love this stuff.  I strongly suspect that far more men are buying my books than women.  Again, it’s about understanding male motivation – which is very, very different from ours.

Have you always been funny?

Humor is so Southern.  And everyone in my family is hilarious.  My mother should have been on stage.  And her brother, my uncle Charlie, is one of the funniest guys I know.  So are my siblings.  I come by it naturally, I guess. 

How did you get your book published?