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"If you want to be a happy husband, do whatever your wife tells you to do."
|Saturday 14th Oct 2006|
|I get most of my ideas for
these articles on Sunday
morning. I'm cuddled up
in bed with my wife and she will say something that strikes me
as funny. There is a infamous study that says that the happiest
husband's are the ones that do whatever their wife's tells them to do.
This Sunday I changed the line and said to Cheryl, "The wives
happiest are the ones that do what their husbands tell them to do." She
laughed so hard that she fell out of bed and was literary rolling on
floor. She looked up and said, "That would be a
great blog. You should write that one because it is hilarious."
I have accepted the premise that the happiest husbands are the ones that just do what their wives tell them. I'll explain the study in minute but the interesting thing is when I went on the web to see if I could find a copy of the study, I was amused to see if you type in "happiest husbands" the web does not know what the heck you're talking about. I had my search engine set to dictionary.com by mistake and the page returned with:
No results found for happiest husbandsThat was kind of funny but I thought it is really funny when I did a "Google" search for Happiest Husbands
I'm not sure if you type in the words happiest husbands now into Google if you will get the same results I did, but when I typed it in. I didn't get a single link to a web site that was about a happy husband. I got links to Happiest Wives which if you read the articles they don't really seem like they are all that happy. I got one link to How to tell if your husband will leave you It seems that even Google, the source for all known knowledge, doesn't know how to parse the words "happy husband." I want to be the first person to build a web page were the words Happy and Husband are together that doesn't talk about how to leave your wife.
That was kind of a long introduction. The study I was thinking of can be found at ScienceBlog.com Feel free to read the full article but I'll give you my interpretation of it. It was done by a Marriage therapist and Psychology Professor. He wanted to see if "Active Listening" would help couples resolve conflict and be happier. "The key finding of the research is that active listening techniques taught by many marriage counselors and therapists don't work when couples are in conflict." Instead, the new study shows that "only those newlywed men who are accepting of influence from their wives are winding up in happy, stable marriages," says John Gottman, University of Washington professor of psychology who directed the research."
Active Listening, for anyone lucky enough never to have had to sit though any new age business training, is the act of repeating back the information to a person to ensure that you heard exactly what they were saying. An example might be if I said, "I don't want to visit your mother." My wife might reply, "So what you're saying is you don't think my family is important." You can see how this might cause some problems. I have found that a better active listening response to the statement about visiting my wife's mother is, "So what you're saying is I should go get the car."
I do think Active Listening is an important part of having a good marriage and it is proven that husbands that are in a happy marriage live longer than those that are not. I have always suspected if we took a harder look at the data and removed the ones where after the divorce the wife kills the husband we might find a different result. The trick to my version of active listening is no matter what she says you actively do it. If my wife says jump I get it the air, I don't ask her any stupid questions about, "How high?" I just leap and hope that it is high enough. We have a very good relationship so if it is not high enough my wife will tell me to jump again.
I do want to expand on Professor Gottman's statement "... men who are accepting of influence from their wives are winding up in happy, stable marriages..." I don't want to put words in his mouth but I have found that the phrase, "accepting of influence" can be rephrased as, "Do whatever she tell you to do." His way of saying it sounds a lot more scientific than my way, but I think my way is a little more accurate. I'm sure he wanted to phrase it so a guy can feel like he still has some control in the relationship. This way he can tell the other people in "Group" that he is accepting of his wife's influence, but we all know what he really means is, she told me to get the car and I went and got it. Many of my friends will think I'm kidding because they think that I have tight control of the wife and kids. My wife does allow me to say anything I want to my friends as long as she doesn't hear it or it doesn't get back to her. I think it's so she can blame stuff on me. This way she can say, "I'd love to come but you know Tom, he would never allow me to do that." I play along because it makes me look like the old crusty platoon sergeant I once was. I'm not that guy any more and I doubt I ever was with her. Some guys are that guy, these are called single guys. I had a few friends that treated their girlfriends really badly and for some reason they did really well with single women but they don't do well as husbands. I think women like "bad boys" because they like the challenge.
Cheryl has me trained. I respect her for it. It took her a long time and it was hard work. I don't know when it started but I'm pretty sure it was in week one. I fell in love with her the moment I saw her. I am not sure when she fell in love with me. It was a lot later. I think maybe about 15 years ago when she finally thought our marriage was strong enough to have a kid. I could be wrong about when she fell in love with me but I know she knew that I was in love with her from the first second. It gave her a lot of power, OK who am I kidding it gave her all of the power. She broke up with me three days after I met her, before we were really going out. That wasn't the last time. If I ever did anything that she didn't like she would say, "Take me home." We dated for a little over four years and I heard, "Take me home!" two thousand nine hundred and twenty times. I know that works out to be about twice a day and you would think that twice a day seem like a lot, but I'm not easy to train and I am really well trained. You can ask my kids. I tell them, "I'm the boss of this family." When they finally pick me themselves off the floor and say, "Good one Dad. Do you want me to ask Mom?" My response of "Yeah, I guess you'd better." kind of proves the point.
My wife is already starting to train Matthew which I think is a good idea. He can read her almost as well as I can. Cheryl doesn't understand that "Boy's day out." was created by Matthew and I thought it was a really good idea. He was four years old and he said, "I think we should go out, Mom doesn't seem to be in a very good mood." I'm not too nervous about her training Matthew but I am terrified about her training Katie. I think I can keep up with Cheryl especially since guys die a lot sooner than wives, but having two woman in the same house telling me to jump might be too much for my heart to take.
We have been married for almost 30 years so my wife is starting to raise the bar on me. In the past it was active listening, lately it has been more like active mind reading. She wants me to read her thoughts and do the thing she wants done before she says it, sometimes before she has finished thinking it. This can be quite challenging and I have to admit I do end up in the air a lot more. I have learned the trick is to think of the thing that I really don't want to do and then I do it. My wife looks at a necklace and thinks, that would go nice with an outfit I'm thinking of buying. I think, "You can't want jewelry that only goes with one outfit, especially if you don't even own that outfit." I say, "I'm not going to buy jewelry every time you look in a store window", to myself. I buy the necklace. My wife thinks we don't have the money to buy a motorcycle. I say, "I fly all over the place, work all these crazy hours. If I want I motorcycle I'll damn well going to buy a motorcycle," to myself I haven't had a motorcycle in 15 years. You get the point. She thinks it and I do it. It is not all bad. I have started to notice that she wants whatever I want. I feel hungry, I make her dinner. I feel cold, I get her a blanket. I get thirsty, I get her some thing to drink. I feel amorous, Well that one never seems to work.
I tell all of my friends that if you want a happy marriage, "Think of the thing you don't want to do, then do it." I'm not sure why it doesn't work the other way around. I suppose I will understand it, when Cheryl explains it to me. All I know for sure is that I am a "Happy Husband" and if you don't believe me just ask my wife.
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