Post-It, Don’t Boast It
A New York Times columnist recently asked, “Why do so many husbands feel the need to boast about completing simple household chores?”
Perhaps many husbands are guilty of that but I’m proud to say that I do NOT brag to my wife about household chores I’ve done. Instead I leave a trail of bright orange post-it notes etched with bold black arrows pointing to the cleared/cleaned/vacuumed/washed/dried/unloaded/folded/mowed/trimmed/raked/organized/filed/stacked/tossed/recycled, or repaired item.
Guys, try this approach and let me know how it works for you.
A Caution About Confession
Guys, when a woman says to you, “Do you know why I’m mad at you?” that’s like a traffic cop saying, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”
Don’t offer a confession before you hear the charges because you might inadvertently add more indictments to the prosecution’s case. For example, if the policeman says, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” do not say, “Because I was speeding while texting and driving without wearing my seat belt?”
Instead smile and politely reply, “No, officer, I don’t know why you pulled me over. But I want to know so I can be a safer driver and a better citizen.”
Say that and there’s a good chance the cop will say, “Well, sir, you changed lanes back there without using your turn signal. But I’m letting you off with a warning. Be safe and have a nice day.”
So, guys, when your wife says, “Do you know why I’m mad at you?” that is NOT the time to say, “You found the recent statement from my secret Visa card so now you know that we’re $17,000 in debt because I have a Harley Davidson motorcycle parked in a storage unit I’ve been renting near my office for the past year. Is that it?”
Instead, if you had kept your mouth shut or, even better, if you had said, “Gosh, honey, I’m not sure I know the cause or source of your displeasure with me. But I want to know so that I can become a better man and a more loving husband,” there is a good chance your wife would have said, “Well, honey, darn it, you left your dirty socks inside out in the hamper again. But I’m letting you off with a warning. Be sweet and have a nice day.”
But nooooooooooooo, you just voluntarily confessed to a previously unreported Class 4 felony and are about to do some serious time in the marital slammer.
Next time, be smart and try my approach and tell me how it works for you.
Pretend to Be Johnny Carson
Guys, here are two innovative communication techniques you may want to try with your wife. Both involve simply taking on the role and persona of a TV talk show host.
1. The Commercial Break Technique
Wife: I don’t feel like you listen to me. I feel invisible. The moment you get home from work you just want to retreat and …
Husband: (Look away from wife while she’s talking and look straight ahead into the imaginary TV camera) We need to take a commercial break for a word from our fine sponsors. And when we come back we’ll hear more whining and complaining from Mrs. Anderson …
2. The Outta Time Technique
Wife: I can’t get you to find two minutes to microwave a Hot Pocket for me, but the minute your mother calls and needs something you respond like a fireman to a 4-alarmer …
Husband: Well, folks, the clock on the wall says that’s all the time we have for today’s show. Let’s thank our special guest, Mrs. Anderson, for being with us …
Husbands, try one or both of these proven methods of marital communication and let me know how you like sleeping on the couch.
Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read Presson’s previous columns go to www.franklinhomepage.com/?s=ramon+presson