Advice on marriage and the proper deportment for wives begins with the earliest Greek literature. While Homer's Andromache and Penelope provide practical role models, Hesiod (Works and Days 695-705, Theogony 568-612), followed (in iambics) by Semonides (frr. 6, 7), forcefully articulates male concerns about evil wives and women's wicked wiles. Hesiod's imperatival infinitives as well as his viewpoint reverberate more than a millennium later in a poem of advice composed, probably in the early 380s, by the Christian Gregory of Nazianzus for the marriage (νῦν μὲν σοὶ τόδ' ἔδωκα γαμήλιον, ‘now I have given you this wedding gift’, 22.214.171.124) of Olympias, elder daughter of Vitalian, a local Nazianzene worthy. This paper seeks to contribute to recent revaluations of Gregory's poetry—and hence of his place in the larger development of later Greek hexameter poetry—by illustrating how reading of the Olympias poem is enriched by exploration of its literary allusions and intertexts and its poetic craftsmanship. My title adopts Gregory's own image of ‘sugaring the pill’ of instruction for the young by writing in verse, but I extend the expression to include the pleasure that any reader may obtain in recognising Gregory's literary artistry, even when unpalatable prescriptions for female married life are the theme. Since the corpus is not well known, I begin by locating the poem within the context of Gregory's verse.