Homer buys Marge a bowling ball for her birthday, but she accuses him of only purchasing it for himself. This proves to be true, as the bowling ball had Homer's name engraved into it. To spite him, she begins to learn how to bowl. She struggles at first, but is assisted by a man named Jacques, who develops a liking to Marge. Homer starts to suspect a romantic affair when Jacques invites Marge to his apartment.
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, jumps in his car and drives to the mall. At the mall, Homer observes a bowling ball and gets an idea.
Back at the house Marge is on the phone with her sisters, Patty and Selma who remind her about Homer's lousy gift giving history and planning 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 is happy with Bart's present of "French" perfume and Lisa's dried macaroni and glue card of Marge as the Mona Lisa. She is impressed with them working hard to make her feel loved on her birthday. When it comes time for Homer to give his present, Marge is offended when she sees a bowling ball fall on her cake, complete with drilled holes and Homer's name engraved on it. Everyone including Bart, Lisa and Maggie are shocked by his behavior. However, Patty and Selma sit by smugly, due to their knowledge that Homer was being thoughtless to their sister as usual. Marge is obviously outraged with Homer for ruining her birthday and reminds him that not only has she never gone bowling in her life, but the ball is also inscribed with his name on it. Ignoring her outrage, he admires the beauty of the bowling ball and gives heavy hints that if she doesn't want it, he will gladly take it off her hands.
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 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 out of guilt and fear how traumatized they will be. Lisa asks Marge if she is going bowling later and Marge answers yes, says that Homer will take care of dinner and kisses her children goodbye. 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 tuxedo 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 and 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 (and probably her own way of rubbing it in Bart's face for not believing her earlier). 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 as he believes it is the only thing he has left of Marge.
Meanwhile, Marge is in the car headed for Jacques’ apartment, and 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 choose which way to go. Cut back to Homer, who is looking 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 her car, he joyfully announces that, "I won't be back for ten minutes!" Jacques's fate remains unknown after this.