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Monday, October 03, 2005

Theory # 1: Relationships: Training Husbands

This is number one in my theories because... well, because it's the first one I felt like writing down. Plus, it's something I think I know something about, and am damn good at. After all, I've been married for 21 years, and it's a great marriage. Okay, maybe I'm not good at training husbands in general. Maybe it's just this one. But it's pretty easy, so I figure it's worth a shot.

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  1. Pick the right husband. I'll probably have a theory on how to do this later, so I won't go too far off on a tangent, but put simply: know the guy before you marry him. I knew Carl 6 months before we were married. Doesnt' seem long, but for 4 of those months, we spent every waking moment together, talking non-stop for hours and hours. We still didn't know everything there was to know about each other, but we knew how we thought about things, how we felt.

  2. Acceptance. Even once you've picked the right guy, he's not you. And he won't do things exactly the way you do. If you've asked him to change the baby/fold the towels/clean the bathroom and he does it all wrong--it doesn't matter. The baby won't be scarred for life because the Huggies are on backward, the towels will still dry you off if they're folded in quarters instead of thirds, and if he cleans the toilet with Comet instead of Lysol, it's still clean. Accept it. Doing it over again the right way will just piss him off and keep him from pitching in next time, and it'll make you feel all bitchy and resentful. Let it go. Accept it. It's not that big of a deal.

  3. Appreciation. Yeah, I know. A woman will work all day, come home & make dinner, clean the house, help the kids with the homework, do the laundry, and walk the dog, and nobody will say anything. A man will come home, take out one bag of trash, and expect a medal and a ticker-tape parade. It's ridiculous, I agree. But I suspect it's hardwired. So I say thanks. And I give him a huge hug and tell him I really appreciate it when he makes dinner. Mind you, the appreciation works both ways. I periodically point out everything I do, and get the same appreciation back. Don't expect him to notice when you've worked your ass off--you'll just get annoyed waiting--tell him. He's a man. Men don't do subtle.

  4. Trust. This is often mentioned as the most important element in a marriage, and is usually taken to mean fidelity. It's also important in training husbands, and is related to acceptance. If you ask him to mow the lawn/fix the leaky faucet/supervise the kid's homework, trust that he's going to do it (and accept that it might be different from the way you'd do it).

  5. Clarity. Men don't do subtle. If you want him to do something, tell him directly. Don't hint around, or say "it would be nice if..." He'll think it's just a wish list or a suggestion, and when you start repeating your hints or wishes, you'll get annoyed with him, and annoyed with yourself for sounding like a nag, and who wants to live like that?

  6. Sex. Good god, it's not a cookie, or a doggie treat handed out as a reward for good behavior. Don't tie sex to your husband training efforts--you're punishing yourself as well.

So there it is. Darla's Theory # 1: Training Husbands. Don't worry--I'll probably contradict myself a dozen times or more.

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