A LONG time ago I heard a wise man say that if you want to know what the girl you are thinking of marrying is going to be like in 30 years’ time, simply look at her mother.

So, when the time came, I did.

My would-be mother-in-law was as warm-hearted a soul as anyone I had ever met (and ever have), so hitching up with her daughter seemed a no-brainer, and tomorrow we will be celebrating exactly 30 years of marriage.

This means I at last feel like I am in a position to decide if that wise man was right or not.

Take it from me that he was spot-on.

Like mother, like daughter.

Although my long-suffering wife sometimes gets a mention in this column, she’s often just in the background and doesn’t get named, but I think it’s time that I introduced her properly.

Her name is Julie.

When I say that Julie and I are ‘celebrating’ our anniversary tomorrow, I don’t want anybody to run away with the idea that we get all soppy and slushy about Valentine’s Day and anniversaries and things like that.

In fact, she has been picked to play for her tennis team tomorrow, and she doesn’t like to let the side down.

So our celebration may well amount to just putting the kettle on when she gets home and treating ourselves to a Pot Noodle.

We don’t feel the need for champagne or big celebrations on the big day because every day of the last 30 years has been a celebration of what a fabulous idea it was to get married.

I really can’t recommend it highly enough.

That’s odd because, on paper, a successful matrimonial partnership between a man and a woman seems as far-fetched as the England football team winning the World Cup.

The problem, as everybody knows, is that men and women come from different planets.

As far as I can tell, wives are made of sugar and spice and all things nice, but husbands have to face the reality that their DNA compares much more closely to chimpanzees.

This clash of species is especially troublesome for young people.

My over-riding memory of being a young man is realising that neither I nor my mates had even the slightest notion of what was actually going on in their pretty little heads, and it would probably take 30 years of careful study before we would have a clue.

It’s completely different for wives, of course, because a woman usually gets the measure of a man as soon as he’s bought her that first drink.

And the challenge for wives over the years is not sussing out our comparatively Neanderthal ways, but rather developing a suitable strategy for actually putting up with them.

Amazingly, a kind of telepathy eventually evolves between the two of you, which is probably just as well, because I am still not convinced we speak the same language.

I feel really sad for people whose marriages don’t work out, because it is the greatest thing I have ever done, and it provides endless rewards.

But only if you are both loyal and work at it.

This is my theory, anyway, which may be wrong and may be right.

But I think it explains why living with someone after all those years is even better than the joy you get in being newly married.

Further study is obviously necessary, so I will report back when I have worked it out completely.

I calculate this will take me roughly another 30 years.

If they turn out to be even half as good as the last 30, I can’t wait.