Comedian Mark Cordes, aka The Spouse Whisperer, knows a thing or two about making a relationship work. Turns out the secret to love is the secret to living a long life: laughter! Though you may not live longer after seeing Cordes perform, your relationship might! After all the rose petals dry up and the chocolate is devoured, treat your significant other to a night with The Spouse Whisperer at Phoenix Theatre and maybe learn a thing or two about keeping your perspective light!

When did you realize you were a “spouse whisperer” — were you in a relationship at the time?
Around 2004 I noticed that all the jokes I wrote and really enjoyed performing centered around relationships. My wife and I married in 1998, and she is an incredible source of material …. sometimes unwittingly. She is very funny, and we share the ability to laugh through the good times and the bad. This is when I really started to perform a lot of relationship material …. and people not only laughed, but they told me later that it really made them think about their relationships. And The Spouse Whisperer was born!

Best thing about marriage is:
I think that is a question that has to be answered on an individual basis. To some it may be physical or financial security. To others, it might mean that they no longer feel alone. Some people might see it as a way to start a family. I can only speak for myself…I feel blessed to share my life with my best friend, the one person that I can always count on to be there for me. I’ve been single, married, divorced, single again…and married again. And I know that this is as good as it gets for me.

One thing about marriage that mystifies you:
That people tend to want to compare their marriage to others. You never know what is going on behind closed doors. Don’t buy into the drama. Invest in your own marriage. Most people spend more time checking in on Facebook or watching reality television crap than they do on their own real life.

What do you do when you’ve run out of “firsts” with someone and want to keep it new — without going base-jumping or to extremes?
You can keep the spark alive in your relationship without having to come up with the latest and greatest. One of the best things for us is that we just feel comfortable together. There are times when it’s great to dress up, go out for an awesome dinner, go to a crazy party with tons of people, etc. And there are times when it’s even better to lounge on the couch with some popcorn and watch a movie. About the only thing that’s universally recognized as the perfect night out: catch a session with The Spouse Whisperer at The Phoenix Theatre! It’s like a tune up for your relationship.

What’s some of the feedback you’ve received after shows? Has anyone credited you for “helping” a marriage out?
After every show I can count on someone saying something along the lines of: “Thanks for talking about (fill in the blank). I thought we were the only couple that had that issue in our lives.” I know that laughter is an incredibly powerful force of nature. I heard a great quote, “people fall in love by smiling at each other, but people stay in love by laughing with each other.”

Reader Questions:
I’ve done eight Valentine’s Days with my wife. Kind of running out of ideas — where the line between being cliche and classic?
Don’t worry about being cliché or classic. What women want more than anything is to know that you took the time to do something special. It doesn’t have to be extravagant…just give it some thought and go with what you know she likes.

Am I supposed to do something romantic for my guy for Valentine’s Day?
Something romantic for your guy? That’s so easy…men are very visual creatures. A man’s idea of a romantic evening is you. In the same room. Breathing.

Out of many Valentine’s Days, of what gift/night out are you most proud?
The best Valentine’s Day we celebrated was six years ago. We had just moved into our dream home and spent an evening alone, with a quiet meal at home, as we realized the accomplishment of a goal we had shared together and worked for. Pretty sweet.

In a hypothetical “Battle of the Sexes: The Video Game” — who’s the boss level overlord to be defeated and what is the story behind the level?
I don’t accept the premise of the question. Sorry. I don’t think there should be a “battle.” That’s just setting it up to fail. And I don’t think it should be put into a game situation, because that means, by definition, that there will be a winner and a loser. Hard to see how it can be a long-term success. If you want to frame it that way, treat it more like you’re a team and you’re competing against the foes of boredom, infidelity, etc. Have fun! Remember, no one gets out of this thing alive!

Black Box Series, Phoenix Theatre, 602.254.2151,, Feb. 20 to March 2, times vary, $35 to $60