Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No husbands were harmed in the making of this post

Don't you think it would be incredibly convenient if our spouses read our minds? It would save so much trouble and pretense.

Wife: "Hi, hun, how was your day?" I had an awful one, and I'm dying to vent to you.
Husband: "Just great." Can you wait five minutes? I gotta pee.
Wife: "Good to hear." Be fast. Then offer to make dinner, please, or I will die.

Of course, sheer honesty would eliminate the need for this, but then there's the whole issue of 'A Gift I Ask For is No Gift at All.'

Sometimes I don't want to ASK My Man to do the dishes. I want him to just KNOW.

If he does it without my actually asking him, he's doing it because he wants to - not because I asked him. And that creates all kinds of warm, lovey-dovey feelings. But if I have to verbalize my indubitable desires, it creates all kinds of feelings of guilt and bad-wife-ship and nag-meister-ness and general laziness. It's like Tuesday night.

That Girl: "Hun, how much homework do you have?"
My Man: "Not too bad. Why?"
TG: I could really - REALLY - go for some Coldstone right now. Pretty please? (internally feeling soooo bad for asking him....)
MM: No problem, love of my life. Let me just finish this real quick.
(We end up talking for an hour and suddenly it's a quarter to ten and Coldstone is about to close.)
MM: Shoot! I better get going.
TG: Oh, no, hun, it's so late and I'm a bad person from keeping you from your homework this long. Please, please, please still get it. I want it. Bad. Please.
MM: Don't be silly. What kind do you want.
TG: I'm not telling. Don't go. It's too late. Do your homework. I'm serious. I changed my mind anyway. Don't go. Of course I still want it. Please go. Cheesecake with raspberries and brownies.
MM: *kiss* I'll be back.

Lucky for me when it comes to Coldstone runs, he's very good at reading my mind.

But this is not always so. I wonder if many marital problems are due to the simple fact that we are not psychic.

Think about it. Any romantic novel I have ever read (which, I grant you, isn't that many) includes a couple that love each other so much and know each other so well that there is really no point in conversing at all. The heroine saw that look in his eye and KNEW. The hero glanced at the way she held her shoulders and he KNEW.


I once tested My Poor Man. It was a good two years ago. We were cleaning up dinner, and he used a rag to wipe up some spilled somethingorother. Then he chucked it toward the kitchen island, missed, and it ended up on the floor. I teased him about getting it later, and he responded in kind.

The rag stayed there for three weeks.

I swept around it in the ensuing days. I seethed every time I looked at it. Merely walking into the kitchen mad me madder than Mr. Squishy getting his diaper changed.

Shouldn't My Man just KNOW that HE was supposed to pick it up?!

After three weeks, I came to the realization that he was indeed NOT trying to drive me crazy. Quite honestly, he had completely forgotten about it. And he really didn't know that he was utterly failing in a job description he did not apply for.

I threw the rag away. And then laughed myself silly.

Whenever we test our companions, we only set them up for failure, and ourselves for anger. Every time.

(...Have you ever done it?)


Kazzy said...

I like how you mentioned intentions. He wasn't TRYING to drive you crazy.

I get kinda ticked off when I hear men say, "A man can't read minds, you know!" Like it is such an easy way out for them. "You women are good at that, but we need to be told." Frankly, it is degrading to men when they say those things about themselves.

We are all just trying to be sensitive to the people we love. Sometimes we get a little inspiration and sometimes we don't. Does it really have to be a gender thing?

Thanks for treating the subject with honesty, and for oozing love for your man in the way you write. I think you guys are great!

Kimberly said...

We're kind of lucky around here because I know I'm mental and that, fab as my man is, he'll never figure me out on his own. I give him little crash courses where he gets hefty doses of blatant honesty (the poor man). He's starting to figure some things out on his own now and I am so proud.

Gift giving though? He's super crummy at that. He makes me tell him what to get me or he doesn't get me anything at all. I'm still working on that one...

Mrs. M said...

No mind reading at my place. DH is better at it than I am, but I have learned to be clear and direct. It's really nice, actually. Sometimes we have to do second takes or third takes. "Hun, you didn't read the script. When I say this, you are supposed to do THIS and say (fill in whatever I wanted him to say)." Then we go back and try the conversation again and it works better. Try it. It's pretty fun and it has helped us avoid/resolve conflict.

DeNae said...

The last five years or so of our marriage have been the best, because it took us the first 20 to figure all of these things out. When to expect mind reading, when to be direct, when to be bugged, when to let things go. This is why you just hang in there - it takes a LONG time to work out the plot!

(And consider how many problems would be CREATED in a marriage if we were psychic...)

Rachel Sue said...

I agree with DeNae. There are many days that I am glad my husband isn't psychic!

I know exactly what you are talking about. My husband is horrible at gifts. Which is the only reason why I am so good at getting big stuff, when I want it: I know exactly what I want and since it's so big, he only has to get me ONE thing, which is a huge relief for him.

I will say however, that last year for my birthday I gave him my customary birthday list. Except, since we were going through kind of a rough time financially, I decided not to ask for anything that would cost money--just time.

I handed it to him, and his face drained of all color. "You mean you don't WANT anything?" I explained my motivation. "So what do you think?" I asked. His response: "Do I have to do all of this?" He ended up doing none of it and I ended up with a laptop.

Julie said...

Yes, I occasionally test my husband and it always works out horribly. He feels bad, I feel bad. I try for directness and honesty and when he gives me that in return I try to take it like a big girl.

Julie said...

P.S. I think it's safe to see that the blogging world now can see where L.P. gets his duck face.

wonder woman said...

What you said about dishes and him "wanting" to do them and you not feeling guilty? Nail, meet Head.

Actually, Superman and I had a fantastic heart-to-heart over the holidays and he's done the dishes THREE TIMES in the 1.5 weeks we've been back. Granted, it's only like 10 minutes worth, but it means the world to me. Especially because I didn't hint once about him doing them.

Psychic powers would be great. Well, selective powers. I don't think I want him to know *every* thought. :o)

Julia said...

i believe i saw an "everybody loves raymond" episode about this. something about luggage being put away and they both stepped over it for like a month. mine is the garbage. i put it in the middle of the floor and he'll never notice it. i left it there for a week once. then threw out b/c of the smell. psychic powers would probably save so many marriages!

j@nAe said...


Oh isn't that the truth! Every once in a while, though, there is a miracle. Example: last Sunday I was sick of the kids. It had been a long week, and quite frankly Sunday seems to be the hardest day to tend them. So while one of the kids was pestering me I told them, "Look honey, I just need a break right now." (in other words: could you leave me alone for one single moment?! Just one?!?!) And suddenly Sam, who must had supersonic hearing, was shooing all the kids upstairs, and he played with them up there for two hours. TWO HOURS. That right there makes him eligible for salvation. :)

MommyJ said...

Oh, I so love this post. You are so very right. I often have to remind myself that because he's a man, my husband just sometimes doesn't see things like I do. I mean, men and women are different... heaven help us if we were all the same. I couldn't handle two of me in this household!

Hel said...

I am of the ilk that I would be mortified if my husband could read my mind. There are so many issues that I have with little silly things that he does (that I KNOW I need to get over) that I think it would kill him to hear all my thoughts.

It would help me a crap load if I could read his thoughts and LQ's. I am sick of guessing what my family needs.

Tobi said...

My husband and I are notorious for having silly miscommunications. I usually end up yelling, "Why can't you read my mind?" Then we laugh and we get over it.

annie valentine said...

I NEVER test my man, I'm always a perfect wife who picks up all rags and tells him exactly what I want because I'm such a good communicator like that.

Melissa Bastow said...

I would love it if my husband were psychic and also one with the personality type of "What Can I Do For you?" Sadly, he's not either. Of course I'm not either, but we're talking about what I want here. Quit changing the subject.....oh wait, this is your blog...

Hilary said...

I made a deal with my husband -- when he asks, "What's wrong?" and I answer an obviously untrue, "Nothing." He has to ask TWO more times. Not like two more times in a row, but throughout the conversation he has to ask again once, preferably twice. IF I am stubborn enough to answer "Nothing" a total of three times, then it's my own fault and he is free of all blame/guilt/etc, he did his duty. This has caused me to a half hour later break down and finally cry, "OK! Here's everything that's wrong!" but for the most part, it's cut down greatly on our, "What's wrong?" "Nothing." "No, tell me hon, what's wrong?" "Nothing, I'm fine." "What's wrong?" "Nothing." conversations.

janel said...

No. I have never done that.
And I never lie either.
Except when I do.
I love that you threw away the rag.

Melanie J said...

My husband, who is nearly perfect in every way, had this thing when first got married about using copious amounts of paper towels and then leaving their crumpled corpses on the counter. I spent so much time being irritated about that, I realized I was overlooking the really great stuff he does. So I said something and he doesn't do it any more and we're both much happier.

Lara said...

Oh yes. I have definitely tested my husband in similar ways. Usually where the taking out of garbage is concerned. And no, it doesn't usually turn out well.

Mostly he's wonderful and even if I have to tell him what I need sometimes, the fact that he's always willing to do what I need him to is what's important.

I just wish I didn't have to tell him so often, but I'm getting over it. :)

Nikki said...

So good. I love this post. It's moments like these that stay with us and change the lens we look through.

I couldn't help but think of the book "The Five Love Languages." It sounds like a lot of your readers language may be Acts of Service. That's mine and I can totally relate. Being as my husband's love language is Words of Affirmation me saying to him (while catching him in the act of washing dishes for me), "Wow! Thanks for washing all those dishes. You're amazing!" or "Wow! The kitchen looks fabulous!" gets him to wash the dishes and help more often without me asking. I used to not say much at all about the washing. And if he mentioned I might have said, "I wash every meal every day. What's one meal's worth?" Yeah. That doesn't work so well.

The Prices said...

I've become better at being honest and it really does work it much better. I also remember Dr. Laura listening to a caller who said what you're saying- "He'll do it when I ask, but I want him to want to do it without me asking." She basically told her to get over it and if you have a husband that will do it when you ask you're doing pretty darn good.

It is nice when he mind reads, though.