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Steve Doocy on Love and Marriage

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During his many years as a reporter, Steve found that the news stories that people liked best were the ones they could relate to. Steve chronicled these real-life stories (from his own personal experiences and that of his best-known friends) in his book. “Ultimately I wrote this book because I love my wife,” says Steve. In fact, to prove how much he loved her, Steve talked her into joining an online dating service. “I wanted a computer to mathematically prove that we were 100 percent a perfect couple,” says Steve. Much to his surprise, Steve did not even make the “Top 500” matches of local men on Kathy’s list!

Steve grew up the son of Depression-era parents. “I have spent the last forty-some odd years going through our house turning off the lights to save money,” Steve says. Meanwhile, Kathy is the spender. “It wouldn’t shock me to go home and hear she’s hired a private tutor to teach our golden retriever to speak Dutch!” Steve says that when both husband and wife are on the same financial page, it’s great. But when a saver marries a spender, trouble usually follows. Steve says during their first ten years of marriage he did his best to redirect her shopping. “I took her to big-box stores and wholesale places,” says Steve. Kathy learned that buying in bulk was fun. So much so that soon Kathy got to the point where she was buying so much stuff in vast quantities that she traded in her Cabriolet for a Volvo station wagon for towing capacity. Steve says, “When in public places like malls, hold hands. It reminds your one and only that you love her. Also if you let go, she’ll shop.”

There will come a time when couples will disagree about something really important. “If you’re in a fight, you should fight to win,” says Steve. “But this is not Ali versus Frazier, it’s you versus your loved one.” The problem with fighting dirty is that we all keep tucked in our heads a file of hideous mistakes our spouse has made throughout history. “As soon as we whip out one of those gems, all bets are off,” says Steve. That argument will disintegrate into name-calling, hurt feelings and tears. Steve says he’s learned to compromise. “I have a new relaxed approach to arguing. In the beginning, I just make sure that my wife hears what I have to say. So I’ll say it a couple of times. If she doesn’t bite, I don’t jam it down her throat.” Also Steve says he listens. Steve says it took him many months to realize that sometimes things are not worth arguing about. Like whether you’re supposed to put paprika on top of potato salad which is something Steve and Kathy have argued about twice a year for twenty summers. “My wife says no. I say yes because it’s the way my mother made it. And Mom is always right,” says Steve. As an evolved spouse, Steve knows the paprika question is not something he needs to develop an aneurysm over. “Argue over big things, not details,” says Steve. “A reddish spice is not worth wasting a valuable chit. Since my wife makes the potato salad, it’s her call; in my head I’ll know it would taste 25 percent better peppered with paprika, but instead I quietly eat in silent desperation.”

When Steve was growing up, he was part of the 4-H Club. The 4 H’s stood for heart, head, hands and health. Now that he’s older and married, Steve says the 4 H’s now stand for:

  • Honesty: liars always get caught and cheaters never prosper; be honest
  • Handling: you can’t put your head in the sand when times get tough; handle problems as quickly as possible
  • Humor: from time to time, cut up a little; humor is important
  • Handcuffs: once you handcuff yourself to someone, be ready to throw the key away forever

Once Steve asked a friend the secret to a happy marriage. “Are you kidding? That’s easy…The secret to a happy marriage is…separate bathrooms.” Apparently the concept of letting people conduct their private business in private worked for this couple. Steve says as soon as couples realize that having separate bathrooms is one of the keys to a good marriage, home remodeling will skyrocket.

How long does love last? “This is a question that has puzzled all of the great thinkers of our time – Dr. Laura, Dr. Phil and Dr. Dre,” says Steve. According the the Guinness Book of World Record keepers, one couple was married for more than 80 years. Their advice: never go to sleep bad friends. Steve says you can always fight to be right or you can go with the flow and compromise to find a happy middle place. “Rock the boat and try to prove you’re right, or go for the smooth cruise and wind up a happier person,” says Steve.

When people buy two or more copies through his Web site, a free copy will be given to a military family via the USO.

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