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An Owner’s Manual for the Second Wife

4 min read

By Josie Garrett
Jun 17, 2021

smiling woman embraced by husband giving a kiss to forehead
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Congratulations on your new to you but "gently used" husband. We know that he has changed his ways, his ex-wife was crazy, and his children were ungrateful brats. We applaud you for taking him on despite all those vicious rumors, and we know that you will have many happy years together.

As a wedding gift and peace offering, your new husband's ex-wife has agreed to provide you with an owner's manual that will guide you through the many difficult, but wonderful years ahead.

We would all like to wish you a long and happy marriage. Best of luck to you both.


His Childhood

His parents were not as rich as he would like you to think. There is no evidence that any member of his family ever physically abused him. He usually brings up these stories of imaginary horrors when he needs your sympathy and forgiveness for one of his transgressions. Don't fall for this. Be firm in holding him accountable for his actions.

His Family

His mother and father have already passed away. His brother and sister have never liked him, and that is just fine because he doesn't like them either, except for when he feels a need to show off their wealth and beautiful homes to impress new girlfriends. His brother and sister consent to be used in this way so that they can evaluate these prospective wives. In your life together, you will probably meet each of them only once, so don't worry about impressing them or getting on their good side. His siblings think he is crazy, and you will never be able to win them over; because if you've married him, they'll assume that you're crazy too.

His Friends

He doesn't have any, but don't worry—your friends will become his friends.

His Religious Beliefs

He was born and raised a Roman Catholic, but never practiced the religion as an adult unless one of his kids needed to be baptized. For the last 20 years, he has bounced from one church to the next, most of them on the far outer fringes of being a reputable House of God. If you are into this kind of religious mania, you will get along fine. If not, wait a few months and he'll lose interest and be on to some other church or activity, which you might like better.

His Physical Health

He is a hypochondriac. He has self-diagnosed himself with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease and many other life-threatening illnesses. He is constantly inventing injuries that he hopes will get him worker's compensation so he can stay home from work and still get paid. He also has a tendency to fall off trucks, so don't let him get on a flatbed or near a moving van. For some reason, he always stubs his little toes. When this happens, he will scream so loudly you'll think he's dying. NOTE: If you have to call an ambulance for any reason, ask for male paramedics. He prefers having big, strong men to carry him around like Cleopatra did.

His Mental Health

See above. Also add depression.

His Social Skills

He gets too close to people and invades their personal space. Please be aware that your new husband does not know how to end conversations in social situations. This is highly distressing for everyone involved, because long after the conversation ends, your new husband will just stand there with a weird smile on his face waiting for the other person to continue talking. Sadly, this is a true story, so you will always have to be on alert for this situation so that you can quickly end the awkwardness and take your undiagnosed weirdo spouse to safety.

His Fashion Style / Ability to Dress Himself

Before we begin, a few basics: he can wash clothes, but he cannot iron. Do not believe him when he tells you that he can iron. He can't. Trust me, I have seen him running through a house with a flaming dress shirt and then watched as he tried to flush it down the toilet. He is unable to remember what brand and what size underwear he wears, so you will have to remember this for him. For some reason, he prefers his shirts to be absolutely skin-tight, but his pants and shorts have to be several sizes too big. This requires him to cinch his belt so tight that it causes the waistband of his pants to gather up and appear like random fabric tulips around his waist. You won't be able to do anything about this. I cannot explain the Velcro shoes. I'm sorry, but I can't. There is no excuse for a grown man who can't tie shoes. 

His Food Preferences

If you don't cook for him, he will eat frozen pizzas and canned chili exclusively. He hates meat with bones, and if you insist on serving him a chicken wing or a steak with a bone in it, I guarantee you will want to ram it down his throat before he's done.

His Cooking Skills

Beyond boiling water or putting a frozen pizza in the oven, he has none. What you should know: He follows box directions exactly. I have seen him burn a pizza because it was supposed to be in the oven for 20 minutes, and it never occurred to him to remove it when the oven started smoking. On the other hand, I have seen him eat around the frozen center of a tray of lasagna because the package told him to put it in the oven for 50 minutes, and he did; so it's not his fault that part of it was still frozen.

His Finances

His finances are always a mess. He frequently bounces checks because he can't remember when automated payments come through; nor can he understand the concept of balancing his checkbook. He is always forgetting to pay his credit card bills, and as for medical bills or other bills he does not want to pay, he writes "deceased" on the envelope and sends it back to the doctor's office. Have fun watching your credit score take a nosedive.

His Cleaning Skills

He can vacuum. For six hours straight. He cannot dust at all. Doesn't even know how. He can do laundry. Sort of.

His Retirement Plan

Other than waiting for your wealthy father to die and leave you money, there is none.


If you are experiencing marital difficulties, please visit DivorceForcePRO to speak with one of our experts. To learn more about our Community, visit DivorceForce.com.

Written by Josie Garrett

Author Josie Garrett presents readers with 27 laugh-out-loud essays about her divorce, dating peculiar old men that other women have already divorced, dodging desperate marriage proposals, and eventually deciding to become celibate (for the time being). Josie's essays range from her warm and nostalgic meeting with a past lover to the riotously mean-spirited owner's manual that she writes for her ex-husband's new wife. The Your Problem Now Club: Humorous Stories on Divorce, Single Parenting and Midlife Dating includes Josie's take on finally being a single mom, working for despots, and the reactions of friends and relatives to her divorce. Josie's book is available on Amazon. 

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