Understanding a spouse is no tiptoe through the tulips
Burt's Eye View
Never has any other device been invented that is as glorious and simultaneously confusing as a spouse.
(I was going to write as “confusing as a wife,” but I have been assured by women who have served time as wives that understanding husbands is no tiptoe through the tulips either.)
I love my wife. It’s our anniversary month, and I’m still stunned and delighted that Terry said yes. But even after all these years of wedded bliss, we still run into situations in which (A) she is right, and (B) I have no clue why.
It’s a common predicament of marriage. No matter how many similarities we share, we’re still obstinately different.
“Otherwise,” Terry said, “one of us would be redundant.” She’s never specified which one of us, but I suspect it would be me.
I read once, “To be happy with a man, a woman must understand him a lot and love him a little. To be happy with a woman, a man must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.”
I do. And I don’t.
Case in point: The other day I came across a piece in “God’s Little Devotional Bible” titled “When to Give In.” The story was about a woman who attempted to return a book four days after she bought it when the store’s return policy specified three. Return denied.
She groused that while the clerk was being “a total creep about it,” her husband simply stood there “smiling his patient little smile.” (I wonder if he added the apologetic shrug and the what-can-you-do eye roll, too.)
What she wanted her husband to do, she said, was to shove the book sideways into the creepy clerk’s mouth. Instead, the hubs proposed a solution — exchange her book for one he wanted. (He’s wise as well as long-suffering.)
The woman then wanted to shove the book sideways into her husband’s mouth.
At home that night, husband tells wife, “You know, the guy was right even if he was a creep.” She didn’t speak to her hubby for three days. The author of the story concluded, “Giving in and agreeing, even if it flies in the face of rationality, is sometimes the better path to take.”
Wait. What had I missed? I assumed the husband was wrong. He always is in these kinds of stories. But why? So I read the story to my wife.
Terry bristled at the husband’s brilliant plan.
“But he figured out a way around store policy,” I said.
“The clerk was being a creep about it,” Terry said. “Her husband said so, too.”
“He said ‘even IF.'” I scratched my head. “Sounds to me like she was a bit of a jerk about it.”
“She wouldn’t have to be,” Terry said, “if her husband would stand up and be her knight in shining armor.”
“Huh?” As usual, I was lost.
“She asked a question and the clerk disrespected her,” Terry said. She sighed. “A woman needs to know that her husband would even swim through shark-infested waters to bring her a lemonade.”
“Er, are you thirsty?”
“You’re missing the point.”
Usually, yes. But now I agree completely with Terry on this one. It’s the right and rational thing to do. And I’ll tell you why — right after she finishes explaining it. When she starts speaking to me again.
• Explain logic to Cole at firstname.lastname@example.org, the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.