Recently I’ve become…a bit worried about my wife. Things are all well and good on the home front. I’m not concerned about infidelity. Laura and I love each other very much but, even more importantly, we’re both too tired to even think about having an affair, much less take part in the physical act. It turns out that the keys to a happy marriage are mutual respect for one another and exhaustion.
For all intents and purposes, Laura is doing quite well. She appears to be happy and healthy and continues to be the thoughtful, intelligent and charitable woman I’ve come to love. Aside from one small issue, there doesn’t appear to be anything overtly wrong with my wife. Perhaps I worry too much, but her condition has become more and more prevalent over the past eleven years and is one I can’t continue to ignore. It began innocuously enough, but I suppose that’s how these things start.
“Honey,” Laura would say when we were first married, “we really need to take the car in for an oil change,” or “we really need to clean the apartment.”
I like to think that I’m a good husband and because of that belief, I would take the car in for an oil change or even, occasionally, clean the apartment. Marriage, after all, isn’t just about being too tired to have sex with someone else. It’s about doing the small, irritating tasks like dusting or going to the grocery store that come about in our lives for the greater good and the sanctity of wedlock.
At first I chalked Laura’s unique use of the pronoun “we” to a quirk, an affectation of her speech or perhaps even the result of a small stroke. I didn’t pay it much mind and, finding myself without a job on a number of occasions, took up the onus of housekeeping. I hoped that with the passage of time, Laura’s condition would resolve itself, but it’s become markedly worse. Her pronoun confusion is beginning to have a marked effect upon our lives.
“Richard, we really need to do something about the dishes in the kitchen,” Laura would say in a bit of a huff, or “we should fix that clogged toilet.”
“Richard, the roaches are running all over the porch again. WE’VE got to do something about that.”
Because I love my wife, I didn’t kill the roaches under our porch, and because I’m a feminist, I waited for her to do it (and not just because the little bastards creep me out.)
Perhaps, I thought, this was Laura’s way of taking part in the care of our house. After all, she’s the sole means of income for our family and works long hours. As a result, however, she tends to feel a bit guilty about not taking part as much as she feels she should at home. Marriage isn’t just about the things we say to our spouses; it’s about what we don’t say.
It was all for naught (which means nothing, I promise, go look it up) and my wife became increasingly hostile when she discovered that we were without clean dishes to eat upon or without the use of a working toilet. So much, I thought, for feminism and the belief that women can have it all. It’s a sad state of affairs and one that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
In her own way, my wife was clearly asking for a chance to contribute, and I gave her the opportunity to do so. The toilet remained clogged, the dishes unwashed, the roaches had unfettered access to our porch and my plan backfired to a remarkable degree.
Laura became increasingly hostile.
She continues to suffer from pronoun confusion. I continue to flounder for ways to cope with her condition, and despite the least amount of attention I can give to the issue, it continues to wreak havoc upon our family dynamic.
“We should really stop drinking so much.”
“We really need to mow the lawn.”
“We need to talk.”
These are the hallmarks of pronoun confusion, and this is my plea for help. Laura and I are, quite possibly, too far down the path to be saved, but that is not my purpose. My intention, the reason why I’m relating my story, is to bring about awareness of this terrible affliction. At this very moment, pronoun confusion is chipping away at countless marriages each and every day. We are in the midst of a national epidemic.
Pronoun confusion is rampant. Spouses, regardless of race or creed, are failing to use the pronoun “we” correctly at an alarming rate and to the detriment of the institution of marriage and society as a whole.
With time, I hope that we’ll be able to assess the roots of pronoun confusion and, perhaps, even treat the condition. Until then, I’ll take solace in the thought that I, and others like me, no longer have to suffer in silence.
This post was originally published on The Unfit Father.