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How to Be the Perfect Wife in 3 Easy Steps

3. Forget your anniversary

When did Arnie and I get married?

Well, I know for sure it was a month with a "J" in it.

What year?

I don't remember that, either. Maybe 2005? 2007?

Remembering our first date is much easier: April 1, 1998.

That is: "April Fool's Day" and "The year Frank Sinatra died."

Since my own family was a mess, I got my ideas about what marriage was like from The Flintstones and any number of movies and sitcoms. One familiar trope was the "forgotten anniversary," and how fatally unforgivable such a memory lapse was supposed to be.

The more glossy magazines and romcoms and The Bachelor and envy-inducing Facebook updates we consume, the more susceptible we are to fits of faux outrage on the domestic front.

"He didn't surprise me with a trip to This Year's Trendy Destination." "I can't believe he didn't plan anything romantic for Valentine's Day/New Year's Eve/Kwanzaa."

Women only "want" overpriced engagement photoshoots or dozens of roses or those frankly charmless Pandora "charm" bracelets because they think they're supposed to. Oprah gave them away for Christmas or something.

Whereas Arnie and I exchange modest Christmas gifts, and celebrate birthdays in a low-key, pizza-and-birthday-cake way. (This year, mine was VERY low-key, upon request.)

Like a post-modern, countercultural Barbie, I came to his marriage complete with accessories – that is, my engagement and wedding rings, courtesy of my late grandmother and mother, respectively.

That’s set the tone for our marriage. I have my own money. I can buy my own stuff.

Too many wives simmer with resentment about un-given gifts and forgotten milestones.