Marriage is hard. As anyone who’s been married for more than a couple of decades will tell you, it’s very hard. You must be prepared for bad behavior (yours as well as his) injured egos and occasional neglect.

When I was a 22-year-old newlywed, I thought it was my job to come home every day from work and prepare my bridegroom a proper dinner of salad, meat, potatoes and vegetables. (This was the ’60s after all.)

Every night I dutifully brought forth a two- or three-course meal, which my new husband would immediately reject. I discovered he didn’t like meat that had been frozen; he didn’t like leftovers; he didn’t like casseroles. The list went on. One thing he did like, however, was veal parmesan. Couldn’t I make that?

So, one day I found a recipe. I bought the veal, pounded the veal, breaded the veal and sautéed it. I made two sauces. From scratch. I grated the cheese. That evening, I presented my day’s efforts to my husband in triumph. I was expecting words of surprise, delight and gratitude or, at the very least, a pat on the head. Instead, he said:

“Oh . . . I forgot to tell you. I don’t like veal parmesan anymore.”

As God is my witness, he never tasted it . . . never even lifted his fork.


Fifty-plus years later, I am still married to that man. I don’t cook for him anymore, of course. (I’m not insane.) But we’re still married.

The manual explains how to survive veal parmesan as well as other indignities, and why a long-term marriage is worth it in the end.

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