The phone rang as I typed “Ten Steps to A Blissful Marriage” at the top of the page. When I identified myself, a man said that his was a sales call and asked for 15 seconds.

I looked at the clock and said, “I’m looking at my clock. Fifteen seconds. Go.” I listened for 30.

He stopped for breath and gasped, “What do you think about that?” Of course, I’d only been half listening because I was watching the second hand on the clock.

He asked if I’d like to have my income doubled in case I had a heart attack or got cancer.

I told him my income was so small it wouldn’t make any difference if I doubled it.

He thanked me and quickly hung up – probably to write it down as a useful quip for his telemarketing blog.

Would you like to learn a few more secrets about an average happy marriage? You have recently responded favorably to intimate glimpses into my personal love life, and I might have a good thing going here.

Just the other morning, a professor of probability models in physics, who read that I proposed to my wife, Marsha, while on stage in front of a crowd, was moved to admit that he had proposed to the love of his life while on his knees in the middle of Connecticut’s Merritt Parkway. Being the world’s outstanding authority on probability, he had probably already crunched the numbers on his chances of being accepted against the odds of being run down by a commuting Greenwich hedge fund manager.

Why do people in happy marriages get along so well? My wife, Marsha, The Almost Perfect Woman, is reasonable and logical, which precludes any opportunity for the spirited dissent too often found in matrimonial discussions.

When she told me one morning that Subway has thrown in a soda and a bag of chips with their $6 sandwich – which would seem to negate any health benefits you might get from eating at Subway – I could do no more than shrug my shoulders.

And when I got into the issue of health care for all Americans and mentioned that crushing the poorest Americans with catastrophic medical debt was one of the surest ways of separating them from whatever home and savings they might have – and ensuring that they would be willing to work for whatever wages offered – well, she could only agree that if I were looking for an unlimited supply of slave laborers, I would definitely be against health care for all Americans.

My wife, Marsha, is a top-drawer housekeeper. She snatches clothes from my trembling body before they even start to get comfortable and throws them in the wash. She can’t find enough floors of her own to scrub on her hands and knees, so she scrubs for friends and neighbors like her elderly friend Helen.

Which is why I couldn’t believe my nose when I entered our home one night. When I opened the door, I could smell what could only have been a homeless person who had lived in an Orlando dumpster for most of a steamy summer. I said no more than, “What is …,” and Marsha replied: “Helen took me out to dinner today. I couldn’t eat all of it, so I brought home this cup of chili.”

When she asked me to put up a staging so she could scrape and paint the house, I scrambled to break out the ladders. I only mention this to enrich your marriage by suggesting to you that a caring husband can manifest his love in many unique and wonderful ways.

We complement one another. Who in the world has ever heard of Reese Witherspoon? My young bride, Marsha, who has never heard of Mr. Wimple or Senator Claghorn or Mein Husband Pierre, says that she has heard of Reese Witherspoon. Although a Mercedes now looks like a Volkswagen, she can identify all the modern cars. I groan and throw my hands in the air when actors on the screen drive a 1917 Ford off to a war that was fought in 1914.

You might have heard some of our young so-called experts bleating the mantra, “You have to work at a marriage. Marriage takes a lot of work and effort.” This is not true. I’ve never worked at our marriage, and I never will. For 25 years, I have simply stepped back and got out of the way of a loving wife.

There really are no Ten Steps to achieving anything, but a title that promises to teach you something in a certain a number of steps has been proven to attract readers.

The humble Farmer can be seen on Community Television in and near Portland and visited at his website:

www.thehumblefarmer.com/MainePrivateRadio.html