Wednesday, February 20, 2013

25 ways to communicate respect to your husband, that aren't offensively sexist

{but maybe aren't all that applicable to other marriages}

In response to this nonsense I decided to write my own post on 25 Ways to Communicate Respect to Your Husband. You know. If your husband is my husband. And if he is, we should probably have a little chat about how messed up that is.

  1. Maybe don't scream so much; yelling "LOUD NOISES" (a la Anchorman) is sort of funny, but it is mostly just making things worse.
  2. Try not to yell either. If you need help, walk to him and ask for it (use your "gentle voice," as we tell the girls). Unless it is an emergency. And toddler temper tantrums are not an emergency, even though it sometimes feels like they are. Especially when the girls are tag teaming the tantrum. 
  3. Order enough food so he doesn't end up kindly allowing you eat the last six pieces of sushi, or the last slice or three of pizza, or the last bites of dessert. Which is what happens almost every time we eat out. And also when we eat in. Note to self, why are you so hungry?
  4. Stop announcing that the traffic light has turned green. Seriously, you're even annoying yourself when you do that.
  5. Stop recommending that he drive in a different lane. That includes efforts to telepathically communicate your lane preference by staring repeatedly at traffic in the other lane.
  6. Generally, just accept that your husband is perfectly capable of driving without your unsolicited input or assistance. Maybe use your time in the passenger seat to get used to the fact that you can't control every single thing at every possible moment.
  7. Try to be a little more fun. Just because you have little kids, busy lives, and a lame streak about 32 years long, doesn't mean you are physically incapable of planning some fun stuff on a regular basis
  8. If your husband usually does a job or chore, that doesn't mean he is the only one capable of doing it. (just don't do it too much, or he'll assume it is your chore now. jk)
  9. When you have those moments where you are so incredibly grateful for your husband, maybe let him know. Just because you know how awesome he is, doesn't mean he knows you know.
  10. Every now and then ask yourself, "would I say/do/wear (ahem, fuzzy socks) this back when we were still dating?" Then maybe do a quick cost/benefit analysis. I mean, yes, the socks are comfy, and yes a marriage should be comfortable. But the socks sort of gross him out. Does their comfiness outweigh his grossed out ness? Are there other cozy, less nursing home-ish options? That sort of thing.
  11. Be aware of the implications of your inaction. Every toy you step over or dirty dish you walk away from, you are leaving for someone else (i.e., him) to deal with (without so much as a, "thank you.")
  12. Go on dates and don't check your phone or talk about parenting stuff. Or realistically, maybe just don't do it very often or for very long. 
  13. When you want help or are frustrated, talk to him like you would a coworker or neighbor (same goes for the kiddos). In other words, don't introduce your request (read: demand) with a string of curse words or sarcasm. Just because he is willing to put up with a lot, doesn't mean he should have to.
  14. You should have five positive interactions for every negative one. So every time you have a negative interaction, do five nice things to balance it out. Keep a tally sheet with you at all times to track progress and patterns. Just kidding. But still. Generally, be aware of when you are being negative/positive and make an effort to be positive (hugs, kisses, affirmations, friendly gestures, etc). 
  15. Let the hard stuff (like the horribly interrupted nights of sleep, the stomach bugs, the lingering stresses) bring you closer instead of pushing you apart. Remember, you're on the same team.
  16. Put lids on all the way. Especially the orange juice lid (that never ends well). Also, the peanut butter jar lid. That one is tricky, but don't let it win.
  17. Don't tell the dog that you kind of hate her sometimes. Even if she just woke up a sleeping toddler. She is a good, gentle, little dog and she means well. And hating cute little animals isn't attractive. Plus, it makes your husband a little sad, even if he knows you don't really mean it. Anyway, you'll feel really bad about getting so angry with that crazy puppy if anything bad were to happen to her.
  18. Try not to say things like, "Dear God, make me a bird," (via Forrest Gump) or "that's it, I'm surgically removing my own ovaries" (while grabbing closest sharp object), or any other crazy statements that imply that you hate your life. Because you don't, obviously. You are just stressed out. But it is sort of demoralizing when you talk that way because it makes it sound like all the awesome stuff about your family/life suddenly doesn't matter. 
  19. Speaking of getting upset, suppressing negative emotions/anger will make you die sooner; catharsis (freaking out, throwing things, yelling, etc) actually makes you more angry/upset instead of less. The sweet spot is somewhere in the middle where you don't just swallow your crappy feelings with a nice warm glass of Jesus Said So Juice (because he didn't. Jesus got angry too. I'm sick sick of reading these religious writings that imply that emotions are bad, women are too emotional, and therefore woman are bad.) and where you don't flip out. Instead, take the information anger is giving you and use it to problem solve (you know, like you tell your toddlers to do when they freak out): ask for help, brainstorm new systems or solutions, basically do something productive.
  20. Prioritize your role as wife over your role as mother (sorry kids, but you'll thank me when you're older and we aren't having the, "it's not your fault but Mommy and Daddy don't love each other anymore" talk. That makes me depressed even thinking about it hypothetically. AH!). Husbands aren't usually as demanding or destructive as kiddos, so it is easy to overlook them. But a strong, happy marriage can be good for kids, and a miserable, neglected one can be bad for everyone. 
  21. Okay, seriously, a list of 25 things is stupid hard. Props to the offensively conservative Christian ones I'm responding too. But it is probably a good idea from time to time to sit back and think of ways to make your marriage/family/self better. Just maybe don't make them so sexist, mmkay super religious folks?
  22. Make sure you give your husband lots of opportunities to do his own thing: get some sleep, work on stuff that is important to him, see his friends. JK, you already do that. High five, self.
  23. Prioritize your responsibilities so you don't spend too much time making lists of arbitrarily long length.
  24. seriously, this is too much
  25. the end.
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3 comments:

  1. I avoid all the driving drama by always driving. He rarely tells me what to do, so this really works.

    Also, I'm going to ask Trey if my comfy socks creep him out. I may still wear them anyway, but it will be good to know just in case I am trying to seduce him.

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    1. I was JUST thinking, maybe I just just start driving. I have a few issues with certain driving situations (left hand turns without a turn lane or light, I35, especially the lower deck, and parallel parking in traffic) that make me not want to drive, but I think those situations come up way less often than the ones that bother me as a passenger.

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  2. If I wrote my own list like this, which does seem like it might kill a few brain cells along the way, I'd probably say to... Ask for what you want, since people (including men) don't read minds. Even if I've told my husband a thousand times how I wish he'd clean the house on his day off, nothing makes him do it except me asking him to and leaving a list. So I can just save all the drama and stop waiting for him to do it out of the goodness of his heart and just ask him to. So much easier.

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