By Katie Rosa
I’ve been living many years with this wonderful, strange, frustrating, bewildering creature called The Husband, and though I love him dearly, I’m sure it will be many more before any kind of deep understanding will develop. It’s possible he will be a mystery forever, yet one thing I am happy to have finally (I think) put my finger on is that communication is key.
For example: When I walk up to my husband who has been (Oh, I don’t know—just-spit-balling-here) couch potatoing it all day, while meanwhile in the kitchen sink a few feet away is a rotting, stinking, crusty pile of dirty dishes… Instead of asking him, “What the fuck were you thinking?” I’ll be more likely to get a positive response if I ask him something else.
The problem with the phrase, “What the fuck were you thinking?” is that it immediately causes the addressee to feel as though their intelligence is being questioned. Best to insult people’s intelligence a little more subtle-like, but being the bigger person would be to try for a bit of honesty. I know my husband appreciates the direct communication approach. He always knows where he stands and can make decisions accordingly. No more word play, no more pussy-footing around.
If the end result of equal parenting is what you’re after, not just a verbal sparring match (I know, I know…it can be fun to one-up each other from time to time), then you need to think carefully about how to communicate in a manner that will motivate your husband to help, not affront him.
1) Do you want sex tonight?
If the answer is yes, and likely it will be, suggest that the smell of rotting food crusting the dinner plates and wafting up to the bedroom is a definite turn off.
2) Would you like me to love you?
If the answer is yes, suggest that it is possible for you to love him more if the kids had a bath.
3) Do you want me to hate you?
If the answer is no, gently suggest that your heart would warm slightly if you could cuddle with him on a couch that wasn’t cluttered with a pile of unfolded laundry.
4) Do you want to have a relationship with your kids?
If the answer is yes, explain to him that he might actually have to converse with them and/or play with them once in a while. Sitting together on the couch watching YouTube videos on his phone doesn’t count.
5) Do you want a fat wife?
If yes, by all means, keep bringing home the cupcakes. If the answer is no, fresh fruit will do, thanks.
6) Do pointless arguments make you want me sexually?
Everyone enjoys playing devil’s advocate once in a while; riling someone up can be gratifying, especially when you’ve had a bad day. But always taking the opposite side in an argument can make me want to beat you over the head with our son’s lightsaber. If arguing doesn’t get you going, try agreeing with me once in a while and see how fast my panties drop.
7) Are you trying to drink your way to heaven?
If yes, don’t let me stop you. I know you can hold your liquor and you never ‘act drunk,’ but alcohol is expensive and it’s really cutting into the budget. I know I drink too, but could we agree to slow it down just a little? I think we singlehandedly keep Safeway in business.
8) Are you trying to drive me to the loony bin?
If the answer is no, you might want to invite your mother over a little less. Once a week is probably enough; any more and I’m likely to get carted off by the men in white jackets.
9) Do you hate me?
Sometimes I really think you hate me. When I have picked up another pair of dirty socks from the coffee table, or you leave a trail of crumbs through the house like Hansel and Gretel, I wonder for the thousandth time, “Does he hate me?” I picture an evil troll shrieking gleefully as you imagine fun ways to make my life harder. If you don’t want me to believe that, perhaps you could try to do a little more to balance out that thought of, “My husband is an evil troll who wants to destroy my life.”
10) Do you want us to live in a refrigerator box?
I’m not saying I’m perfect; we all have our guilty pleasures, things we spend way too much money on. You like to tease me about the $400 purse I bought myself and the name brand shoes I got the kids. But when you go on a ‘spending spree,’ you buy cars and big screen TVs. If you don’t want us to share a box with our kids, could you tone it down a bit on the big ticket items?
I love you, husband, I really do! And I know you do a lot for this family…wait a sec, why is there a bunch of stale peanuts spilled inside your dresser drawer? WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU—?! I mean, do you want me to end up on Snapped? I’m just saying. But seriously. Do you?
About the Author
Katie Rosa is a writer, former probation officer, wife, and mother to two children, Jocelyn 8, and Liam 3. Jocelyn is her biggest fan and encourages her mother’s writing more than anyone else. You can find some of her work at her author website: http://www.katiegodwinrosa.com or you can follow her on Twitter at @judgemecrazy.