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Archive for September, 2010

Tips To A Happy Marriage: The Wives Edition

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Me and the Hubby on vacation in Marina

I’ve been with my current husband for 23 years. People ask me all the time how we stay married and happy. The happy part seems to bewilder people the most. Below find my best advice. Next month, I’ll focus on advising the husbands.

Tip One: Realize that your man is not perfect. In any way, shape or form. They want everything their way all the time—along with wanting all the food and beer. They touch up the garage in the wrong color paint. They destroy your bathroom. They forget your birthday. They lose their jobs. They scream for stupid reasons. They demand you do things that you don’t want to do. They watch TV programs you hate. They fart, grab themselves and expect you to have sex with them, all in the same moment. Get over it.

Tip Two: Do not judge his actions based upon your own. If a woman walks by a huge pile of laundry, it means she’s seen it and is choosing not to fold it. If a man walks by a huge pile of laundry, it’s because he doesn’t recognize it as a pile of laundry. It’s merely part of his environment. Like a wall. This is why he steps over piles of shoes, walks around the full grocery bags on the floor and ignores the dishes in the sink. He honestly does not see the mess. This is why I now fold the clothes on Frank’s desk.

Tip Three: Men are not mind readers. You must tell a man what you expect out of him. Using a billboard, a sky-writing airplane and flash cards. Men don’t “instinctively” know what to do around the house. They can’t tell by your huffing and sighing that you wanted them to unload the dishwasher. They may not even know you own a dishwasher. Most men live in their heads. Both of them. At once. It is your job to tell them what you want. Writing your expectations down is best. In big bold letters. On the centerfold from Playboy magazine.

Tip Four: Men are not listening to you if the TV is on. Men are incapable of carrying on a conversation and watching TV at the same time. They will nod and smile and pretend to understand you to get rid of you, but they’ve not heard a word you’ve said. Unless you’ve said the word “sex.” Now when Frank watches TV, I start all conversations like this: “SEX! Frank could you put away the dishes? SEX! And take out the garbage?”

Tip Five: Men aren’t being mean if they don’t listen to you. They’re just being idiots. They don’t mean anything by it. They have no idea they’re not listening to you. They are crunching batting averages, conjuring their perfect fantasy football team, engineering a new way to take out the garbage that doesn’t involve actually touching it, or trying to get you to have sex. Or they’re thinking about food. They are completely disassociated from their surroundings. This is why I now take off my clothes if I want Frank’s attention. Which works, even if his focus isn’t necessarily on what I’m saying.

Tip Six: Men cannot multi-task. Frank says, “We’re more focused.” Ahem. Genetically, women have had to develop the talent of multi-tasking. Every woman I know can recite the contents of their fridge by heart and the date when the milk expires. They know when the kids have to be at soccer practice, band practice and the Chinese language lab. They know all their kids’ birthdays and kids’ friends’ birthdays. When Mom walks in the door after work at night, she supervises homework, cooks dinner, plans the upcoming family vacation, writes a shopping list and responds to fourteen emails, all at once.

When Dad comes home, he absently puts his briefcase directly in the path of the front door, drops his coat on the sofa, stumbles into the kitchen, kisses his wife—which isn’t easy because she won’t stay in one spot—then he heads to the fridge for a much-needed beer. He notices the TV is on. Cute weatherwoman. Nice rack. Going to be cooler tomorrow. But the sportscaster is all wrong about his team. Suddenly, out of nowhere, his wife screams, “Are you going to help me or stand there like an idiot with your mouth hanging open?” Astonished, he can’t figure out how she got mad so quick when all he did was walk in the door.

This is the point where the woman should point to the billboard in the backyard that says “Help With Dinner When You Get Home If You Ever Want To Have Sex With Me Again.”

Tip Seven: Just because he forgets your birthday or Valentine’s Day, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. It means he’s either forgetful or a Hallmark Rebel. Frank doesn’t like having his love shoved in a box of societal expectations and restrictions. In his mind, loving me and buying me stuff have nothing to do with each other. Which sucks. Beating him with the You Don’t Really Love Me Guilt Stick used to net me some cool gifts. But just because I understand he loves me, doesn’t mean I let him off the gift hook. I notify him two weeks before my birthday so he can’t pull the I’ve-been-so-busy-my-computer-died-the-cat-ate-my-date-book automatic response.

Tip Eight: Marriage isn’t fair to either party. He’s the lump that gets in your way and wants sex right after you get off the phone with your mother. You’re the crazy bitch who screams at him for no reason and won’t sleep with him after talking on the phone to whoever that was, he wasn’t listening. Accept this reality. While Hubby needs to come through with his share of financial and emotional support of the family, he is not there to fulfill your every desire. He’s there because you love him. And because he’s a pretty nice guy.

©2010, Janet Periat

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