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I have a new vocation: relationship counseling.

On a recent shopping trip to one of my favorite stores in Conway, I overheard two young female employees giving advice to a young male employee about dating.

I really couldn’t make out everything they were saying, but I decided to tease the guy.

“They’re right. Whatever they’re saying, the girls are right,” I told him. Just joking.

They all laughed, and the guy explained that he wasn’t saying they were wrong. He was just talking about how he handled relationships.

I told them I’d been married 30 years, so they could ask me anything about love. Again, joking.

One of the women asked, “Is it true that you’ll just know?”

“No!” I said immediately. “I sure didn’t!”

The girls laughed and looked surprised. And relieved.

“Nobody’s ever said that,” one of the women told me.

I told them how I’d met my husband at a newspaper, and he was not “my type.” No pun intended.

“If you had told me I would have married him, I would have said you were crazy.”

Then I told her how he and I became best friends, how he made me laugh and how I would date other guys, but he was always there, ready to listen. One day, I realized he was everything I was looking for — trustworthy, smart, funny, honest and much more. So I stopped looking, because I had it all in front of me.

His easygoing, level-headed personality is a good contrast for my type-A, obsessive-compulsive one.

“He’s such a good guy,” I told them, and not just because he cooks, but it’s definitely a perk. He’s a wonderful, thoughtful husband, a great father and a doting granddad to our granddaughter.

The store employees and I talked about how some women like the bad boys, but finding someone who treats you well is much better in the long run.

Sure, some people meet, fall in love fast and last. We all know … one or two of those couples. Good for them.

Even with the right guy, it’s not always easy. Lord knows, I can be high-maintenance.

I try not to leave the refrigerator door open because it sets his teeth on edge. He is aware that scraping his ice cream bowl or chewing loudly makes me homicidal.

We get tired, stressed, short of patience and say things we regret. Actually, that’s just me. He’s a saint.

I do not care a whit about Valentine’s Day. My husband makes me feel special every day. While I was doing an interview one day recently, he had been in the same building. He left a note on my windshield to tell me he loved me.

As I was leaving the store after talking to the three young people, I saw the man again. I thought of another point and told him to share it with his female co-workers: Men usually don’t change. If they don’t treat you well and aren’t faithful when you’re dating, it’s a pretty good bet they’ll keep that up after you’re married.

Pick a good man, and it’ll last. And that’s no joke.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

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  • manasmom
    February 11, 2018 at 11:44 a.m.

    Amen!!! Wish I had known all of this in 1968, but I did learn it in 1987 when I met my second husband!