I thought I wanted to marry her — but a catfish dinner left me in shock

I grew up in the Deep South and in my family, there was an expectation that women should always be “ladylike.” That meant, in part, that a woman should never burp in front of others (seriously, I’ve never heard my mom do it). Another thing about the South is that the secret ingredient to 93 percent of entrees is grease, so if you’re someone who avoids fried foods, that requires building up a certain intestinal fortitude to digest the lard that permeates the Southern diet.

Marriage was the one place I couldn’t hide

It was our second year of marriage and my wife wanted me to cook — or else — and she wanted me to do it with a good attitude. That’s asking a lot. I don’t like cooking as it is, and I sure don’t like cooking when I feel like I’m being forced to do it. Raquel was pretty sick though, so I felt obligated to do it, rather than check out like I normally did when she was ill. That’s how I ended up standing over a pot of boiling water lowering raw chicken into it with a bad…

There’s just one way to marry the right person (and anyone can do it)

When I was in college I wrote an op-ed for my local newspaper about the kind of woman I wanted to marry. It embarrasses me to this day. I had three criteria for my future wife: First, she needed to have the body of Nikki Taylor, a “child bearing supermodel.” Second, she had to measure up to the perfection of my mother. And third, she had to be the kind of woman who Mary, the mother of Jesus, would approve of.