James Thurber, (1894-1961), was an American writer best known for his humorous stories. As a celebrated wit, Thurber highlighted the comic frustrations and eccentricities of ordinary people in his works.
The following essay is about the ways to sustain a happy marriage. Although its tone is hilarious, it reveals the naked truth of marriage characterized by the twists and turns of confrontation and conciliation. The ten rules, nothing less than the manifesto of Thurber’s idiosyncrasies, are intended to amuse rather than preach.
First of all, he mentions the motive for this writing is the fight between a couple in his neighborhood:
The idea just came to me one day, when I watched a couple in an apartment across the court from mine, gesturing and banging tables and throwing objects d’art at each other. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but it was obvious, as the shot-put followed the hammer throw, that he and/or she (as the lawyers would put it) had deeply offended her and/or him.
Witnessing the exciting battle, Thurber began brooding on the subject of marriage. Here come the ten unique rules for the maintenance of a happy marriage: