EDITOR'S NOTE: Men of various ages answer a question about sports and parenting in this extra edition of the regular 20-40-60 Etiquette column that runs in The Oklahoman and on NewsOK.com.
QUESTION: I have been married for six months. There are times when I really would like to stay at home at night and my wife has this “really great” party she wants to drag me to. Is there a way for me to tell her to take a girlfriend and go on and have a good time or am I really required to attend all functions with her?
NICK TANKERSLEY, 30s, Web editor, NewsOK: I can only assume as to what the other answers for this question are going to be; you should just tell her you don't want to go and trust that your wife isn't the type of lunatic who comes unhinged for the least possible offense. That's what I would say to you, but I think, just for the sake of science, that I'll give you the OPPOSITE advice — something to compare to the majority opinion.
Keep your mouth shut. Every time she wants to go anywhere you should jump to your feet, glad that this beautiful woman has decided to include you in her world. The fact that you wouldn't be at her immediate attention for any such social gathering implicates you as failure as a husband and a man. What is it you're bringing to the table? When was the last time you had a really great party to go to? She's out there meeting people, keeping things relevant and you want to stay in and watch the last four episodes of Law and Order: SVU on USA? Why? You already know that nothing's going to happen between Olivia and Elliott and if they don't have a prime suspect in the first 30 minutes whomever they introduce in the last half is going to be the culprit. Is that how you want to spend your evenings? Awash in a predictable sea of procedural crime? I didn't think so. So put your pants back on, find some nice socks and get out there and stand by your woman, and above all, keep your mouth shut.
FORD SANGER, 30s, local businessman: As you mentioned you have been married for six months. You will be faced with these types of situations for the rest of your life.
My suggestion is to pick your battles and if this is one event you feel you need to pass on that is your decision. Just remember when the big game or some event comes around and you want to go to or watch, your wife might have other plans for your evening together. You can always look back at this party and say “remember when I went to your party?”
It's a give and take and hopefully you can look back in your marriage and say you gave more than you took.
BRAD MCNEILL, 40s, owner, A&B Paving: I would like to first welcome you to marriage. Marriage is wonderful, but if you want it to be successful it will require a lot of work. This means sacrificing your needs or wants for things she wants to do sometimes. When you want to watch that football game or go play golf on a beautiful Saturday afternoon you will be glad you did. Marriage is give and take. Put on a smile and good attitude and go to that party, there will be dividends in return.
SCOTT KINNAIRD, 50s, chief executive officer of Al La Mode Inc.: Seriously? You've been married for six months. You don't get to ask your wife to take a stand-in to a party until you've been married for at least six years. If you make it that long. Good luck. You're going to need it.
CLAY HEALEY, 50s, owner, AIC Title Service, LLC: I may be the wrong man to answer this question because it so happens that I married my best friend, and I love her, and I want to spend my time with her. So when she asks me to go somewhere, I say “yes” because it is preferable to spending the time without her.
Coming from this perspective, I say: Put on your man pants and go wherever your wife wants you to go. It isn't hard, it doesn't take much time, and you are with your best friend — your wife! (And son, if you don't think the ideal relationship has all of the above, you probably shouldn't have gotten married in the first place.)
RON JAMES, 60s, independent oil producer: A mere six months ago you took a solemn oath to stick with your mate through “good times and bad times”. This is a perfect example of real “bad times”.
The only way to squirm out of this commitment is to claim a disabling “Act Of God”. Which, in my case, occurs every week. Some of these acts include: rain and/or unseasonably hot weather, the passing of an unknown, but very dear relative, floods anywhere in the world, labor strikes in Illinois ... or the persistent rumors of Armageddon.
Force majeure is your only hope. But, if it's any consolation, I'll see you there.