Monday, January 21, 2008

I Just Gotta Tell Ya

The one single piece of advise I would give a woman about to be married is this: don't be a nag.

I know sometimes women feel that they are not being listened to or taken seriously. Do you really think nagging one's husband is really the answer? Trying to be helpful is a good thing, but taken to the extreme it becomes like so much other background noise. Something to be tuned out. Also, men already have one mother. If we wanted to listen to someone telling us how we were screwing everything up, we would have stayed home and lived with our mother. Let me give you a case in point.

It's Sunday morning and I have to get everyone up and moving, if we are to go to church. That includes Sybil. Actually, she is the worst one. Now, yesterday was cold. No doubt about it. I told the kids to make sure they dress appropriately. To put on a coat. Sybil, naturally, is the last one down and ready to go. I've already made sure the kids are ready. There is no way we'll get there on time. As per usual, we are going to be 30 minutes late. As we get into the car, Sybil looks at Daughter and sees the kind of coat she picked out. It is not a very well insulated one, but it is a coat. Meanwhile, Sybil has on two light coats. Son #2 has on a hoody (Son #1 wasn't with us). I don't have a coat on, but I am wearing a turtleneck sweater. Fortunately, I am rarely ever cold.

As we are driving to church, Sybil starts in about me not making sure the kids are properly dressed for the temperature. She notes that I am not properly dressed and am a poor role model for the kids. For the 15 minute drive, this is all I hear. Since I am trying to stir up as little controversy as possible, I merely explain that I did instruct the kids to wear a coat. I did tell the kids it is going to be cold. I kind of feel like the kids are old enough to know what to wear. Of course, this is wrong. Not only did I not enforce the coat wearing, but also I am not wearing a coat either.

As we are walking into the church, Sybil is still going on about it. Finally, I say "Whatever" and go to Sunday School. She goes to the nursery to help out there. During Sunday School, I start replaying the conversation and realize her intentions are noble. Afterwards, I go to her and apologize for my behavior. The kicker is, later that evening, she accuses me of trying to start a fight.

So women, please do not nag your husband. Although your intentions may be noble and it may feel like the thing to do, nothing good will really come of it. Either he will tune you out completely, simply pay lip service to you, or he will react with anger.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Kind of Peace

Thank you all that commented on my last post.

Sybil and I haven't killed each other...yet.

Life is percolating along. We seem to have retreated into our respective corners for now. She hasn't really lost it in awhile (nearly 2 weeks). Right now, it seems the key is to acknowledge that I am wrong (even I think I'm right), quickly apologize, state why I think I was wrong (even if I think I was right), and everything is hunky-dory.

Somehow, I don't think this is a recipe for a healthy marriage. What constitutes a health marriage? I have no idea. Married people seem unhappy. Single people seem unhappy. Therefore, people seem unhappy. The idea that another is cause of our unhappiness is just as laughable as the idea that another is the cause of our happiness. We have bought into the fairy tale idea that we'll "live happily ever after." The best we can hope for is to live. Hopefully together.

This realization, which really was kind of V8 moment of slapping my forehead, has helped me laugh off Sybil's tirades. I know I cannot really take them seriously. Now, before anyone gets on to me about not taking Sybil seriously, I must point out that taking her seriously is what produces our nastiest arguments. Case in point: see post below. That is a good example. If I simply nodded my head and acted like I was listening, we probably would not have had the replay of Black Hawk Down with me being the guys in the HumV's.

Is this really a healthy attitude? I cannot say. Digger can comment on that better than me. He tends to study psychology and has a better grasp for it. It probably isn't. Remember the goal: to live (hopefully, together). If this is the goal of marriage (besides raising kids in a stable, loving environment), then simply letting go of her tirades will go a long way to keeping the peace. I cannot expect Sybil to change how she keeps the peace; I must only worry about doing my part. It is the height of conceit to expect someone to change simply because one wishes it (some may want to reread that). I must only concern myself with taking my reaction out of the equation. Expressing emotion will only add fuel to the fire.