Relationship and Marriage Advice from THE THIN MAN


Whether you’re married, in a significant relationship, or hope to be in one someday, I think Nick and Nora Charles from THE THIN MAN series have a lot of good relationship advice to offer. My husband and I are big fans of THE THIN MAN films with William Powell and Myrna Loy as Dashiell Hammett’s most popular crime-solving and Rye-sipping couples. Much of the enduring appeal of this classic on-screen duo is that in many ways, they appear to be the perfect couple.

Here’s what I’ve discovered as key to the Charles’s marital success…


*Don’t get more than 5 drinks ahead of your spouse. And if you see that your significant other has arrived to the neighborhood bar much earlier than your entrance, do the classy thing and catch up.


*There’s no room for jealousy in a strong relationship. It’s all based on mutual trust. In every unusual predicament, be on the same page and assume the benefit of the doubt for your partner. Nick and Nora mastered this. Such as…

—the time when Nora was found surrounded by eager suitors as she sits in a gorgeous gown at a nite club, trying her best to help in a case. Then Nick swoops in to save the day (NOT flying in like a jealous hubby and NOT that she actually needed saving because Nora ) and adds a healthy dash of sublime humor, as the two conjure up a quarantine-level of contagion to clear out the crowd. Their impromptu funny fib shows how well they work in tandem. Only a partnership based on implicit trust, and one where you truly know your partner well, can this scenario work. Relationship goals indeed.

After The Thin Man 1936 William Powell Myrna Loy

This leads me to another lesson I’ve learned via the Charles relationship. Sometimes it’s best, especially when life gets chaotic and complicated, to simply roll with the punches. Keep calm and have each other’s back.



*Being charming with witty one-liners is always your best accessory. Whether you’re a cop on the beat, an uncouth mug, a world-class detective, and average Joe or dame, or even a lanky brunette with a wicked jaw… pour on the class, drape the sharp wit, and you’ll always fit in any crowd and in every situation. As Mr. Pratt and I have already discovered, humor and communication are indispensable tools for a successful marriage.


*Like ASTA, always be a smart cookie, but it’s okay to be a coward. In other words, it’s all about being a survivor and knowing your strengths (and weaknesses). Not everyone has the confidence and calm-in the-storm nerve of Nick and Nora Charles. And that’s okay. In those moments, lean in to your ‘inner Asta’.


*Always be well mannered, well-educated and cultured. This is not essential for a good relationship, but it doesn’t hurt. You just never know when your etiquette IQ may come in handy- for either proper seating arrangements at a dinner party, or helping to solve a murder mystery.


*Bottom line, remember to be affectionate and be playful. When you’re both ready to move on to the next step, or next room, or run a detective errand (that is, assuming your spouse doesn’t trick you into a trip to Grant’s Tomb)… don’t simply walk together- SKIP together, hand-in-hand! And if being playful is key to your connection, you’ll need some toys. Just be careful if you decide to give a BB gun as a holiday gift. The inner child of your partner in crime might just break a window then fold up into a fetal position to avoid blame. Nick and Nora know playfulness is an essential part of romance. Wise advice, Mr. and Mrs. Charles.



Lastly, today happens to be National Martini Day. Oh sure, many may say The Charles duo have a serious drinking issue. But keep in mind that glasses were much smaller back then in comparison to today’s magnum portions.



So it only seems appropriate to honor the fun and charming wisdom of Nick and Nora. CHEERS! (or, Slainte! as we say in our house…)


7 thoughts on “Relationship and Marriage Advice from THE THIN MAN

    1. Don’t forget the Charles’ drinking happened after Prohibition & before they became parents, remember Nora’s “NO!” when Nick offers her a morning after hair of the dog (plus her decorating the tree with an icepack on her head), the Charles knew their limits, it just took them a while to reach them.

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