The Key To A Successful Marriage

Do you know what’s not good for a marriage? …Flat pack furniture!

Occasionally, just occasionally, we find ourselves at Arse Antiques buying ( hushed voice) ‘new’ furniture. We need a ‘practical’ unit to fit in that just-so-size space and we relent and a few days later, a big thin package gets left at the front door. We rip open the package only to be greeted by some panels and 200 or so nuts, bolts and screws…and of course, an Allen key. And apart from a set of instructions that might as well be written in kanji, there’s nothing but inner strength and the goodwill of your partner to create the promised piece.


It usually starts well. “I’ll approach this systematically”, you think. “I’ll lie out all the individual parts, familiarise myself with their codes, arm myself with the 3cm long Allen key and just crack on with the job”, you think.

10 minutes later you are mildly irritated and a little confused. 20 minutes later you outwardly weeping and lost. 30 minutes later, you are drunk. At one of these intervals, your husband appears. Offers of help are quickly rebuffed (“I can do this! How hard can it be?!”), until stage 3 when you hand over the Allen key blaming him for your own incompetence. The same pattern then repeats itself for him. Soon you are both sad and drunk.

At this stage, friends, we remind ourselves why we love antiques. We could have bought a cool 1950s sideboard with a proven track record of 70 years of sturdiness. We could have updated that vintage piece- spray painted it, or sanded it down – to give it a more modern look. We could have had the pleasure of treasure hunting to find it and the joy of owning a one off.

Luckily – so far at least – our marriages are more robust than the aforementioned flat pack. But everyone has a tipping point… Best not lose that Allen key. Just saying.

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