Charity should begin at home, but should not stay there. ~ Philip Brooks
You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. ~ Anonymous
A good laugh is sunshine in the house. ~ William Makepeace Thackeray
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I was watching a video the other day by one of those supposed relationship gurus. You folks know what I’m talking about, right? These are people who tell us what we are missing in our relationships and, if we buy their latest book or take their latest course, we will magically live a life in heavenly matrimony. After all, they ARE the experts. If you do a background check on some of them, they are already on their third or fourth marriage, so obviously they must know much more about successful relationships than you or I.
The focus of this particular video, beyond convincing us to buy his book, was communication. “Your spouse is not a mind reader! You have to tell her your needs and, more importantly, you have to listen to her needs!” he preached to an audience of appreciative hopefuls. “Communication is the key to a successful marriage!” he continued.
What a bunch of bunk! The real key to a successful marriage is knowing when to keep your mouth shut. Trust me, folks, sometimes silence is golden. I’m not saying we shouldn’t talk to each other. I’m not saying we shouldn’t ever express ourselves when conversing with our spouse. I’m just saying, that not everything should be said. Especially when irony is involved. Guys tend to catch on quicker to this fact than some of the ladies. It’s not that we’re smarter… it’s just that we probably weren’t listening. Here’s a few examples:
When your kid does something awesome, like winning an award at school, your spouse will inevitably take credit by saying something like, “That’s my boy/girl!” But if they screw up and your spouse is first at the scene of the crime, you will inevitably hear your spouse angrily say, “Look what your son/daughter did!” which implies that he/she gets that kind of behavior, or poor judgment, from you. If you want to keep peace… DO NOT point out this irony.
Ladies, when your husband’s favorite sports team (football, hockey, soccer, tiddlywinks… anything competitive) loses, he’ll say, “They lost.” But, when his team wins, you will hear him say, “We won!” Do NOT point out that he literally had absolutely no hand in his team’s success. He’s happy… let him have this one.
Guys, if your better half comes home with some frilly piece of home décor that you have no appreciation for, don’t ask, “Why’d you buy that?” You are forcing her to defend her purchase. Recognize the fact that, if not for her, you’d probably still have the couch you bought second-hand when you were nineteen years old and have a milk crate for a coffee table. Besides, if you make a big deal about her purchase, she may feel empowered to question that belt sander you bought two years ago and still haven’t used. I believe this is an example of fair compromise.
My wife categorizes responsibilities around the house as either ‘blue’ jobs or ‘pink’ jobs. If it’s a ‘blue’ job, the expectation is that I will handle it. If it gets missed, she will calmly point out that that was a ‘blue’ job. Listen to me fellas… only the ladies can do this. If something that is normally a ‘pink’ job gets missed, DO NOT point out that it was a ‘pink’ job. That can only end with everything, ‘blue’ AND ‘pink’, ending up as ‘blue’. The only way to make things right is to do ALL of the ‘pink’ jobs over and above your ‘blue’ jobs for an extended period of time, until you’ve accumulated enough brownie points to be forgiven.
These are just a few examples of when silence is considered golden. Communication IS important to a lasting relationship, but just as important, is recognizing what’s better left unsaid.
Hmmm… maybe I should create some videos or write a few books… I hear there’s money in that.