Brand building through storytelling

The rocks-and-holes theory of marital happiness

I’ve got marriage on the brain these days: one nephew recently married, another about to walk down the aisle and my son just returned from a beachside ceremony in Maui. Since Ben and Beth eloped, we didn’t get to share the excitement of that morning. No mother-of-the-groom peau de soie for me! But I was not to sacrifice the time-honoured parental privilege of giving sage advice to the newlyweds. After nearly 38 years with the man I married, I must know at least a smidgen about what it takes to stay the course. My challenge was to show some restraint instead of casting myself as a domineering elder. Which life-changing insight to share?

Suddenly it came to me. “Did my mother ever tell you her theory of marriage?” I asked Ben. No, he hadn’t. And strictly speaking, it wasn’t her theory. My mother had interviewed any number of prominent experts on marriage; her files overflowed with scholarly papers detailing their latest discoveries. As a journalist who signed her articles “Fredelle Maynard, PhD,” she relentlessly pursued the newest thinking.

“Happy marriages have one thing in common,” I said, picturing my mother’s rueful smile. “The rocks in his head fit the holes in hers.”

Ben grinned—knowingly, I like to think.  (After all, he and Beth have been together six years.)  “That’s good!” he said.

Chances are you’ve seen the rocks-and-holes theory in action. Ever notice how vague, dreamy men gravitate toward take-charge women? Without wives to nag them, these guys would be forever missing flights and leaving their belongings in restaurants.

Oh, one more thing: the source of the theory. My Google search this morning revealed millions of citations, but who coined the phrase is anyone’s guess. Which just goes to show that when it comes to deathless wisdom, sometimes you can’t beat Anonymous.

P.S. For a few of my own thoughts on the vanishing art of staying married (including one just posted), click herehere and here. You might enjoy this one, too. Any thoughts of your own? Please speak up. Otherwise I might get a swelled head and think I’ve got all the answers.

Posted by Rona

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