Homer buys Marge a bowling ball for her birthday, but she accuses him of only buying it for himself - something which is true, right down to Homer's name engraved on the ball. To spite him, she begins to learn how to bowl, helped by Jacques, with whom she becomes quite attached to. Homer suspects something when Jaques invites Marge to his apartment, but Marge changes her plans and goes to the power plant to see her husband instead.
It is Marge's birthday, so Bart and Lisa prepare breakfast in bed for her. During the surprise Homer thinks it is his birthday but quickly realizes he has forgotten Marge's birthday. He quickly hurries downstairs and heads to the mall. At the mall, Homer eyes up a bowling ball and has an idea.
Back at the house Marge is on the phone with her sisters, Patty and Selma whom both remind her about Homer's lousy gift giving history and deciding on where to go for her birthday dinner. Cut back to the house where Homer hides Marge's present and she informs him about dinner at The Singing Sirloin with the kids and her sisters.
Homer shudders at the thought of spending Marge's birthday dinner with Patty and Selma. Later at the restaurant, Marge receives a bottle of French perfume from Bart and a dried macaroni and glue card from Lisa. She is happy with both presents as the kids worked hard to make her feel loved on her birthday. When it comes time for Homer to give Marge his present, she is offended after seeing a bowling ball fall on her cake, complete with drilled holes and Homer's name engraved on it. Bart, Lisa and Maggie are shocked by his behavior because of it. Whereas, Patty and Selma are not surprised by this due to their knowledge that Homer was being thoughtless as usual. Marge is outraged with him for ruining her birthday and reminds Homer that not only has she never gone bowling in her life, but the ball is also inscribed with his name on it.
Back at the house, before going to bed, Homer tries to defend his reasoning for getting Marge the bowling ball. She doesn't buy it and believes that he only bought the ball so he can use it. Marge decides to go ahead and use the bowling ball just to spite Homer. Homer is upset because his plan for a new bowling ball has now backfired and realizes Marge is determined to learn how to bowl just to teach him a lesson.
The next day at Barney's Bowlarama, Marge goes bowling by herself and clearly does not know what she is doing. A French accented man named Jacques, bowling in the lane next to Marge, comes over and offers bowling lessons to her and she accepts. It is clear that Jacques is to trying to seduce Marge and she is very flattered.
Back at the house Homer does his fatherly duties and provides pizza for dinner and puts the kids to bed. Later on with everyone asleep, Marge finally comes home. When Marge tells Homer she will be going bowling again the next night he becomes suspicious but doesn't say anything to her about it. The next night at the bowling alley Jacques gives Marge a wrist guard for bowling, with her name embroidered on it. The seduction continues and Marge is clearly enjoying herself. Later on Jacques drops off Marge at home and invites Marge to brunch the next day. When she comes to bed late, once again Homer is suspicious but doesn't say anything.
The next morning, before school, Marge gives Bart and Lisa large sack lunches, with extra goodies inside, and showers them with lots of love. Lisa asks Marge if she is going bowling later and Marge says yes. Later on the bus, while Bart comments on the cool lunches, Lisa explains to him that Marge is feeling guilty because her marriage with Homer is starting to crumble. Bart doesn't understand and denies the situation even exists. At brunch with Jacques, Marge is visibly nervous about being seen with another man, and Helen Lovejoy, the Reverend's wife, and local gossip, stops by to chat. Marge starts feeling even more uncomfortable, and when Jacques asks her to meet with him at his apartment she faints. During her fainting spell Marge dreams about the encounter with Jacques at his apartment. In the dream, Marge in a gown and Jacques in a tux dance together and just as Jacques leans in for a kiss Marge wakes up from her dream. Marge sees Jacques staring her in the eyes and she agrees to meet him again, this time at his apartment.
Back at home in the bedroom Homer discovers Marge's wrist guard and fears the worst. Bart comes in asks Homer to play catch. When playing catch in the backyard Homer is too depressed and lost in thought to pay attention. Bart panics and realizes that Lisa is right about their parents' marriage. When he tries to seek her help, Lisa doesn't help him as she revels in her own self pity(probably her own way of rubbing it in Bart's face). Bart offers Homer some advice and tells him to keep his mouth shut to Marge about the situation and maybe it won't get any worse. The next morning while Marge is making the kids lunches for school, Homer tells her how much he likes her sandwiches and mentions he doesn't believe in keeping feelings bottled up inside and then walks out to go to work. Marge is touched by his words. Cut to Jacques at his apartment getting ready for his meeting with Marge, it is apparent that he plans on really putting the moves on Marge this time. Back to Homer at work, who is too preoccupied to eat his lunch. Meanwhile Marge is in the car headed for Jacques’ apartment, on the way there she is reminded about lifetime commitment when she sees various couples together clearly in love. When she comes to a fork in the road with one way leading to Jacques and the other leading to Homer at the power plant she can't decide which way to go. Cut back to Homer who is looking sad and depressed at work when Marge walks in and taps him on the shoulder surprising him and making him forget all his worries. As Homer carries Marge in his arms off to the backseat of their car, he announces that, "I won't be back for ten minutes!"