The Color of Babies Pt. 1

 

This is a work of fiction inspired by the painting ‘Flaming June’ by Sir Frederic Leighton. (Fyi – that painting is a bit NSFW)

  

 

 

Sonia looked down at baby Manu.

He is so cute. My little son. His perfect, chubby little toes. Those rubber band wrists. Is it okay to want to eat him?

When she looked at him, she forgot lack of sleep, forgot helplessness, forgot lack of time. When she looked at him, everything in the world settled into its right place.

She leaned down to touch his squishy cheek and felt her lower back seize up again. Ugh. She was so tired. She felt like her very blood was tired. Like the breath that came out of her mouth was tired. All tired. Every kind of tired.

Three months since Manu was born and the thought of the next few years made her want to curl up and die. It also made her want to weep with gratitude. Such extreme feelings still, the hormones were still hanging around.

 

Sonia remembered the days she was pregnant. They had been so happy. Reading pregnancy books, laughing over weird birthing videos, taking way too many ‘bump’ selfies. Even their sex had improved. Manoj had bought her a sheer nightie in flaming orange. Gossamer thin material that seemed to blaze around her.  And then, Manoj had painted the baby’s crib the same flaming orange. All their friends had asked – why orange? Why not blue or pink? Manoj would wink at them and say, ‘It’s the color of more babies.’ All that was gone now. No winking, no smiling, and no color at all.

 

Manoj loved the baby. She knew that. When Manu was born, Manoj was crying and laughing and looking at her as if she had performed a miracle. (And she had, make no mistake.) He had been so excited that he had gotten the date wrong on the birth certificate.

 

 

He had come home with the birth certificate, so full of pride and joy. It was the first day back from the hospital and she had been trying to get Manu to nurse. But it just wasn’t happening and she was desperate. The baby was crying of hunger and she was crying with frustration.

My baby will starve because of me, she thought. And she had been so relieved when she heard Manoj coming in. He came bouncing in waving the certificate in her face. Sonia looked at him and cried harder.

“I can’t get him to feed! I don’t know what to do!”

“I’m sure he’ll latch on when he’s ready. Look at his brand new certificate!! He’s official! WE’RE official!”

“Did you hear what I said? He’s crying of hunger and I can’t feed him!”

“I’m sure he’s not crying of hunger. Always so dramatic, Sunu,” Manoj smiled.

“Don’t treat me like an idiot. I know why he’s crying. Do you know how long I’ve been trying to do this? All you had to do was get a piece of paper!”

She yanked it out of his hand and looked at it.

“Manoj, the date isn’t right! Can’t you even do one thing right? And then you come here and tell me how to behave… Go away, Manoj. If you can’t help, just get out.”

And she flung the paper at him.

He backed out of the room, stunned, the certificate hanging limp from his hand.

 

 

That was the beginning. Sometimes it was her and sometimes it was him. Someone was always snapping. Just last night, they had had the worst fight. Even worse for the fact that it was conducted in frantic, harsh whispers because they didn’t dare wake the baby.

Manoj had, shockingly, asked when they might consider sex again. He had said it casually, with an awkward smile. And she had suddenly realised that Manoj was afraid of her. He was afraid she would explode. And he was right…

“Manoj, you know how the past three months have been. How could you even ask such a question?”

The atmosphere changed suddenly. He wasn’t smiling anymore.

“Sunu, how can you ask me that question? I know the last 3 months have been tough for you. But what about me? Do you even know I still exist in this house? I love Manu, you know I do. But you haven’t looked at me properly since he was born. You never talk to me. You talk at me. You want me to get things. You want me to be quiet. And then you want me to go away.

“I am trying to do this with you. But it’s like you’re part of an exclusive club for which I have to earn some secret membership. But you won’t even tell me how to earn this privileged spot. You want me to jump through hoops that don’t exist. You gave birth. I get that. But we’re a unit. No, we were a unit. Now, I don’t exist.”

“What the hell are you talking about?! You want me to think of YOU? When you’re sitting in your blessed AC office, eating at the right times and working in all that QUIET, I have a baby who won’t stop crying! Who takes an hour to feed! He sleeps in stretches of 20 minutes and then wakes up hungry. He takes hours to eat, but poops ALL the time! I haven’t thought of me in three months and you want me to think of you?”

“This is exactly what I’m talking about, Sunu. I’m ready to help. You want to hire help? We’ll do it! But you don’t want to. You want to do everything your damn self. And then you cry and complain and behave like I don’t exist.”

“He’s my son! I should take care of him! Why can’t you understand what that means to me? I’m his mother! If I can’t take care of him, then who can? You think someone else can do better than me?”

“I don’t understand you anymore. You don’t want me. You don’t need me. You’re wrapped up in being a victim. Fine, go ahead. Be a baby martyr.”

Sonia felt close to tears again. How was she expected to put up a good fight when she hadn’t slept?

“I do need you, Manoj. It’s just… I can’t do this now… I don’t know how…”

“Well, it’s about time you figured it out.”

 

 

To be continued…

 

Photos by Daniel Reche and Juan Pablo Arenas from Pexels

Monday, December 10, 2018 0 0

I stopped doing this one little thing every day… And it Strengthened my Marriage

Coming Home

This post originally appeared on Aleteia

 

Imagine the scene: It’s night. I’m writing an article, doing some online shopping, or maybe I’m cooking a pot of soup for another day. It’s so late! I’m tired, and angry that I didn’t have time to do all the things I had planned during the day, at a “normal” time. I’m upset, I’m angry, and I’m looking for the guilty party. And who could be guiltier than my husband?

He’s late again ...

After all, if he had come home from work at a decent time, I would have had it all done. But instead of the sound of a key in the door, I heard the sound of a text message: “I’ll be home late tonight, don’t wait up.” As the owner of his own company, he is not bound by standard office hours or by a limit of hours per week. Instead of eight hours a day, he works as much as he needs to.

So, when I hear footsteps in the hallway and see the hour, I want to have a serious fight, or at least show him an offended face, and hit him with a verbal list of grievances about him not caring about his health, and not having time for the family, not to mention me. And that is exactly what I used to do, up until the day things changed.

Transformation

One day, in a creative frenzy, I was working on a fantastic (in my opinion) surprise for the kids. I was so into it, I didn’t even notice the time. Around 1 a.m., still in a fantastic mood, I welcomed my husband home with a radiant smile, lifting my eyes from my work.

One glance at him was enough to completely catch my attention, and even dim slightly my amazing mood. I saw my husband change completely, and it shocked me. As I watched, his tight muscles relaxed, and his somber expression was replaced by a sigh of relief and words of gratitude.

A new rule

Wow, what just happened? My husband is thanking me for not greeting him with angry comments — a clear sign that something has to change. “Starting today, we greet each other at the door with a smile!” I decided, already in the mood for a change, since it was the beginning of Advent (last year). We made this a house rule: when someone returns home, everyone at home greets him or her at the door with hugs and kisses.

 

 

Pure joy

We do not overwhelm each other with important things, chores or difficulties in that first moment. It’s important to share everything, but we’ll have time for it later — not in the rush of taking coats off and washing hands.

This first moment of coming home should be pure joy: the joy of seeing each other and being together again. The returnee gets a quick burst of information — that you’re loved, you’re wanted, and we’re happy you’re here. For the kids, it’s nothing new. If they are not asleep, they always run with enthusiastic squeals of “Daaaaaaddy” and, depending on their age, right at the doorstep they jump on his neck or cling to his legs. And my husband and I? It’s been a year since we made this a house rule. I admit that sometimes the welcoming smile looks more like a sour grin, but we keep doing it. We are sticking to our decision because we know how much good comes out of it.

It seems such a small change, but it became a big thing. We didn’t completely stop spatting and quarreling, but our home became a different place, more calm and protective. Simply, it is now one we like to come back to, because we know we are always welcome there. Consequently, we come back happier, sometimes even at an earlier time.

 

 

 

Photos by George Becker, rawpixel.com and Pixabay  from Pexels

 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 0 0

How I Saved My Marriage

This blog post originally appeared on Richard Paul Evan’s website www.richardpaulevans.com

 

(Dedicated to my sweetheart.)

My oldest daughter, Jenna, recently said to me, “My greatest fear as a child was that you and mom would get divorced. Then, when I was twelve, I decided that you fought so much that maybe it would be better if you did.” Then she added with a smile. “I’m glad you guys figured things out.”

For years my wife Keri and I struggled. Looking back, I’m not exactly sure what initially drew us together, but our personalities didn’t quite match up. And the longer we were married the more extreme the differences seemed. Encountering “fame and fortune” didn’t make our marriage any easier. In fact, it exacerbated our problems. The tension between us got so bad that going out on book tour became a relief, though it seems we always paid for it on re-entry. Our fighting became so constant that it was difficult to even imagine a peaceful relationship. We became perpetually defensive, building emotional fortresses around our hearts. We were on the edge of divorce and more than once we discussed it.

I was on book tour when things came to a head. We had just had another big fight on the phone and Keri had hung up on me. I was alone and lonely, frustrated and angry. I had reached my limit. That’s when I turned to God. Or turned on God. I don’t know if you could call it prayer–maybe shouting at God isn’t prayer, maybe it is–but whatever I was engaged in I’ll never forget it. I was standing in the shower of the Buckhead, Atlanta Ritz-Carlton yelling at God that marriage was wrong and I couldn’t do it anymore. As much as I hated the idea of divorce, the pain of being together was just too much. I was also confused. I couldn’t figure out why marriage with Keri was so hard. Deep down I knew that Keri was a good person. And I was a good person. So why couldn’t we get along? Why had I married someone so different than me? Why wouldn’t she change?

Finally, hoarse and broken, I sat down in the shower and began to cry. In the depths of my despair powerful inspiration came to me. You can’t change her, Rick. You can only change yourself. At that moment I began to pray. If I can’t change her, God, then change me. I prayed late into the night. I prayed the next day on the flight home. I prayed as I walked in the door to a cold wife who barely even acknowledged me. That night, as we lay in our bed, inches from each other yet miles apart, the inspiration came. I knew what I had to do.

 The next morning I rolled over in bed next to Keri and asked, “How can I make your day better?”

Keri looked at me angrily. “What?”

“How can I make your day better?”

“You can’t,” she said. “Why are you asking that?”

“Because I mean it,” I said. “I just want to know what I can do to make your day better.”

She looked at me cynically. “You want to do something? Go clean the kitchen.”

She likely expected me to get mad. Instead I just nodded. “Okay.” I got up and cleaned the kitchen.

The next day I asked the same thing. “What can I do to make your day better?”

Her eyes narrowed. “Clean the garage.”

I took a deep breath. I already had a busy day and I knew she had made the request in spite. I was tempted to blow up at her. Instead I said, “Okay.” I got up and for the next two hours cleaned the garage. Keri wasn’t sure what to think.

The next morning came. “What can I do to make your day better?”

“Nothing!” she said. “You can’t do anything. Please stop saying that.”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “But I can’t. I made a commitment to myself. What can I do to make your day better?”

“Why are you doing this?”

“Because I care about you,” I said. “And our marriage.”

The next morning I asked again. And the next. And the next. Then, during the second week, a miracle occurred. As I asked the question Keri’s eyes welled up with tears. Then she broke down crying. When she could speak she said, “Please stop asking me that. You’re not the problem. I am. I’m hard to live with. I don’t know why you stay with me.”

I gently lifted her chin until she was looking in my eyes. “It’s because I love you,” I said. “What can I do to make your day better?”

“I should be asking you that.”

“You should,” I said. “But not now. Right now, I need to be the change. You need to know how much you mean to me.”

She put her head against my chest. “I’m sorry I’ve been so mean.”

“I love you,” I said.

“I love you,” she replied.

“What can I do to make your day better?”

She looked at me sweetly. “Can we maybe just spend some time together?”

I smiled. “I’d like that.”

I continued asking for more than a month. And things did change. The fighting stopped. Then Keri began asking, “What do you need from me? How can I be a better wife?”

The walls between us fell. We began having meaningful discussions on what we wanted from life and how we could make each other happier. No, we didn’t solve all our problems. I can’t even say that we never fought again. But the nature of our fights changed. Not only were they becoming more and more rare, they lacked the energy they’d once had. We’d deprived them of oxygen. We just didn’t have it in us to hurt each other anymore.

Keri and I have now been married for more than thirty years. I not only love my wife, I like her. I like being with her. I crave her. I need her. Many of our differences have become strengths and the others don’t really matter. We’ve learned how to take care of each other and, more importantly, we’ve gained the desire to do so.

Marriage is hard. But so is parenthood and keeping fit and writing books and everything else important and worthwhile in my life. To have a partner in life is a remarkable gift. I’ve also learned that the institution of marriage can help heal us of our most unlovable parts. And we all have unlovable parts.

Through time I’ve learned that our experience was an illustration of a much larger lesson about marriage. The question everyone in a committed relationship should ask their significant other is, “What can I do to make your life better?” That is love. Romance novels (and I’ve written a few) are all about desire and happily-ever-after, but happily-ever-after doesn’t come from desire–at least not the kind portrayed in most pulp romances. Real love is not to desire a person, but to truly desire their happiness–sometimes, even, at the expense of our own happiness. Real love is not to make another person a carbon copy of one’s self. It is to expand our own capabilities of tolerance and caring, to actively seek another’s well being. All else is simply a charade of self-interest.

I’m not saying that what happened to Keri and me will work for everyone. I’m not even claiming that all marriages should be saved. But for me, I am incredibly grateful for the inspiration that came to me that day so long ago. I’m grateful that my family is still intact and that I still have my wife, my best friend, in bed next to me when I wake in the morning. And I’m grateful that even now, decades later, every now and then, one of us will still roll over and say, “What can I do to make your day better.” Being on either side of that question is something worth waking up for.

 

 

(This is a wonderful story of how a marriage was saved. However, please note that all opinions of the author are not endorsed by Marriage Possible.)

 

Photos from StockSnap:

J4C1WJDMMU by Michal Jarmoluk

2S9UCLX4CZ and 9L2LKLMWKZ by Brodie Vissers

Monday, December 11, 2017 0 0

We Take Separate Cars, And It Saves Our Marriage

 

Re-posted from Rebecca Frech of Backwards in High Heels

 

I was raised in a military family whose constant mantra was:

To be early is to be on time

To be on time is to be late

To be late is to be grounded

We were never late anywhere. I don’t even remember my parents having to freak out about it very often. We just knew that it wasn’t acceptable to be late, and if you were the cause of the family’s tardiness, then hell-fire would rain down upon your head.

Even as an adult with an unusually large family, if I’m the parent in charge, we’re usually extremely prompt. If my husband is in charge, we’re either skin of our teeth, or slightly late.

My husband was raised in a family completely unlike my own, although he disagrees his relatives tell a different story. His parents don’t have the strongest concept of time. They get there when they get there, and don’t see much need to hurry. They don’t expect anyone to wait for them, and are happy to join in the action or the meal at whatever point they happen to arrive. There are no start times to gatherings, only vague suggestions. We were once 45 minutes late to a family party (we had a new baby and my husband let me nap. I almost hyperventilated in the car because of how late we were) only to be greeted at the door by his aunt who declared, “You’re the first ones here!” Everyone else trickled in over the next two hours, and I sat dumbfounded in the corner. What kind of madness had I married into?

As long as he gets there sort of on time-ish, my husband is happy to go.

It bleeds over into vacations as well. I’m of the notion that we should pack the car the night before, get up early (around 7am), and get to our destination so that our vacation can begin. He believes that the vacation has already begun, so why should he hurry? A few hours don’t matter all that much, so he sleeps until he’s done, has a leisurely breakfast, and then throws things into the car, and leaves sometime around noon-ish.

Once we’re on the road, we swap personalities with him becoming the person who won’t stop for anything and me always ready for a snack or a potty break. He prefers a quiet car with maybe a book on tape, and enjoying the views along the way; while my car is a raucous dance party/movie festival. The only rule I enforce is that the person in the passenger seat must be willing to dance and sing along with the music, or they have to move to the back.

I’m not sure how two such different people have managed to love and live together for twenty years, but one of the big reasons is that we take separate cars almost everywhere. It stopped my resentment at being late and his resentment at being nagged and hen-pecked to hurry up.

It was very freeing to just say “We have very different approaches to life, and that’s okay. Let’s find a way to make the differences work instead of fighting against them.”

This morning, I left for Church while he was still in the shower. The early birds and I were early enough to grab the pew we prefer for Mass (It has a good view of the altar, and easy bathroom access if we need it. We always do.) and to say the entire rosary and those who needed to hit the Confession for absolution. My husband and the stragglers slipped in next to us just as the first notes of the Processional Hymn sounded, unharried and unhurried. He slipped in next to me, intertwined his fingers with mine and said, “You got the good pew. Nice.”

I flashed him a smile, because I know he’s glad I got there early, and also really happy that he didn’t have to.

 

 

Toy Car from Pexels under CCO

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

To read more by Rebecca, visit her blog Backwards in High Heels

 

Monday, August 15, 2016 0 0

Gifts after Marriage? But why?

IMG_20150803_125051

From the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman

 

All five languages challenge us to give to our spouse, but for some, receiving gifts, visible symbols of love, speaks the loudest. I heard the most graphic illustration of that truth in Chicago, where I met Jim and Janice.

They attended my marriage seminar and agreed to take me to O’Hare Airport after the seminar on Saturday afternoon. We had two or three hours before my flight, and they asked if I would like to stop at a restaurant. I was famished, so I readily agreed. That afternoon, however, I got much more than a free meal.

Jim and Janice both grew up on farms in central Illinois not more than a hundred miles from each other. They moved to Chicago shortly after their wedding. I was hearing their story fifteen years and three children later. Janice began talking almost immediately after we sat down. She said, “Dr. Chapman, the reason we wanted to take you to the airport is so that we could tell you about our miracle.” Something about the word miracle always causes me to brace myself, especially if I don’t know the person who is using it. What bizarre story am I about to hear? I wondered, but I kept my thoughts to myself and gave Janice my undivided attention. I was about to be shocked.

She said, “Dr. Chapman, God used you to perform a miracle in our marriage.” I felt guilty already. A moment ago, I was questioning her use of the term miracle, and now in her mind I was the vehicle of a miracle. Now I was listening even more intently. Janice continued, “Three years ago, we attended your marriage seminar here in Chicago for the first time. I was desperate, ” she said. “I was thinking seriously of leaving Jim and had told him so. Our marriage had been empty for a long time. I had given up. For years, I had complained to Jim that I needed his love, but he never responded. I loved the children, and I knew they loved me, but I felt nothing coming from Jim. In fact, by that time, I hated him. He was a methodical person. He did everything by routine. He was as predictable as a clock, and no one could break into his routine.

 

 

“For years, she continued, “I tried to be a good wife. I cooked, I washed, I ironed, I cooked, I washed, I ironed. I did all the things I thought a good wife should do. I had sex with him because I knew that was important to him, but I felt no love coming from him. I felt like he stopped dating me after we got married and simply took me for granted. I felt used and unappreciated.

“When I talked to Jim about my feelings, he’d laugh at me and say we had as good a marriage as anybody else in the community. He didn’t understand why I was so unhappy. He would remind me that the bills were paid, that we had a nice house and a new car, that I was free to work or not work outside the home, and that I should be happy instead of complaining all the time. He didn’t even try to understand my feelings. I felt totally rejected.

“Well, anyway,” she said as she moved her tea and leaned forward, “we came to your seminar three years ago. We had never been to a marriage seminar before. I did not know what to expect and frankly I didn’t expect much. I didn’t think anybody could change Jim. During and after the seminar, Jim didn’t say too much. He seemed to like it. He said that you were funny, but he didn’t talk with me about any of the ideas in the seminar. I didn’t expect him to. As I said, I had already given up by then.

“As you know,” she said, “the seminar ended on Saturday afternoon. Saturday night and Sunday were pretty much as usual, but Monday afternoon, he came home from work and gave me a rose. ‘Where did you get that?’ I asked. ‘I bought it from a street vendor,’ he said. ‘I thought you deserved a rose.’ I started crying. ‘Oh, Jim, that is so sweet of you.’

“In my mind,” she said, “I knew he bought the rose from a Moonie. I had seen the young man selling roses that afternoon, but it didn’t matter. The fact was, he had brought me a rose. On Tuesday, he called me from the office at about one-thirty and asked me what I thought about his buying a pizza and bringing it home for dinner. He said he thought I might enjoy a break from cooking dinner. I told him I thought the idea was wonderful, and so he brought home a pizza and we had a fun time together. The children loved the pizza and thanked their father for bringing it. I actually gave him a hug and told him how much I enjoyed it.

“When he came home on Wednesday, he brought each of the children a box of Cracker Jacks, and he had  a small potted plant for me. He said he knew the rose would die, and he thought I might like something that would be around for a while. I was beginning to think I was hallucinating! I couldn’t believe what Jim was doing or why he was doing it. Thursday night after dinner, he handed me a card with a message about his not always being able to express his love to me but hoping that the card would communicate how much he cared. Again I cried, looked up at him, and could not resist hugging and kissing him. ‘Why don’t we get a baby-sitter on Saturday night and the two of us go out for dinner?’ he suggested. ‘That would be wonderful,’ I said. On Friday afternoon, he stopped by the cookie shop and bought each of us one of our favorite cookies. Again, he kept it as a surprise, telling us only that he had a treat for dessert.

 

“By Saturday night,” she said, “I was in orbit. I had no idea what had come over Jim, or if it would last, but I was enjoying every minute of it. After our dinner at the restaurant, I said to him, ‘Jim, you have to tell me what’s happening. I don’t understand.'”

She looked at me intently and said, “Dr. Chapman, you have to understand. This man had never given me a flower since the day we got married. He never gave me a card for any occasion. He always said, ‘It’s a waste of money; you look at the card and throw it away.’ We’d been out to dinner one time in five years. He never bought the children anything and expected me to buy only the essentials. H had never brought a pizza home for dinner. He expected me to have dinner ready every night. I mean, this was a radical change in his behavior.”

I turned to Jim and asked, “What did you say to her in the restaurant when she asked you what was going on?”

“I told her that I had listened to your lecture on love languages at the seminar and that I realized that her love language was gifts. I also realized that I had not given her a gift in years, maybe not since we had been married. I remembered that when we were dating I used to bring her flowers and other small gifts but after marriage I figured we couldn’t afford that. I told her that I had decided that I was going to try to get her a gift every day for one week and see if it made any difference to her. I had to admit that I had seen a pretty big difference in her attitude during the week.

“I told her that I realized that what you said was really true and that learning the right love language was the key to helping another person feel loved. I said I was sorry that I had been so dense for all those years and had failed to meet her need for love. I told her that I really loved her and that I appreciated all the things she did for me and the children. I told her that with God’s help, I was going to be a gift giver for the rest of my life.

“She said, ‘But, Jim, you can’t go on buying me gifts every day for the rest of your life. You can’t afford that.’ ‘Well, maybe not every day,’ I said, ‘but at least once a week. That would be fifty-two more gifts per year than what you have received in the past five years.’ I continued, ‘And who said I was going to buy all of them? I might even make some of them, or I’ll take Dr. Chapman’s idea and pick a free flower from the front yard in the spring.'”

Janice interrupted, “Dr. Chapman, I don’t think he has missed a single week in three years. He is like a new man. You wouldn’t believe how happy we have been. Our children call us lovebirds now. My tank is full and overflowing.”

I turned to Jim and asked, “But what about you, Jim? Do you feel loved by Janice?”

“Oh, I’ve always felt loved by her, Dr. Chapman. She is the best housekeeper in the world. She is an excellent cook. She keeps my clothes washed and ironed. She is wonderful about doing things for the children. I know she loves me. ” He smiled and said, “Now, you know what my love language is, don’t you?”

I did, and I also knew why Janice had used the word miracle.

 

To know what Jim’s love language was, get The Five Love Languages:



Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Photo by Snapwire from Pexels

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 2 0

Does Nagging Work…?

20634678983_a58bf4ae7c_m

From the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman

 

Several years ago, I was sitting in my office with my door open. A lady walking down the hall said, “Have you got a minute?”
“Sure, come in.”.
She sat down and said, “Dr. Chapman, I’ve got a problem. I can’t get my husband to paint our bedroom. I have been after him for nine months. I have tried everything I know, and I can’t get him to paint it.”
My first thought was, Lady, you are at the wrong place. I am not a paint contractor. But I said, “Tell me about it.”
She said, “Well, last Saturday was a good example. You remember how pretty it was? Do you know what my husband did all day long? He washed and waxed the car.”
“So what did you do?”
“I went out there and said, ‘Bob, I don’t understand you. Today would have been a perfect day to paint the bedroom, and here you are washing and waxing the car.'”
“So did he paint the bedroom?” I inquired.
“No. It’s still not painted. I don’t know what to do.”
“Let me ask you a question,” I said. “Are you opposed to clean, waxed cars?”
“No, but I want the bedroom painted.”
“Are you certain that your husband knows that you want the bedroom painted?”
“I know he does, ” she said. “I have been after him for nine months.”
“Let me ask you one more question. Does your husband ever do anything good?”
“Like what?”
“Oh, like taking the garbage out, or getting bugs off the windshield of the car you drive, or putting gas in the car, or paying the electric bill, or hanging up his coat?”
“Yes,” she said, “he does some of those things.”
“Then I have two suggestions. One, don’t ever mention painting the bedroom again.” I repeated, “Don’t ever mention it again.”
“I don’t see how that’s going to help,” she said.
“Look, you just told me that he knows that you want the bedroom painted. You don’t have to tell him anymore. He already knows. The second suggestion I have is that the next time your husband does anything good, give him a verbal compliment. If he takes the garbage out, say, ‘Bob, I want you to know that I really appreciate your taking the garbage out.’ Don’t say, ‘About time you took the garbage out. The flies were going to carry it out for you.’ If you see him paying the electric bill, put your hand on his shoulder and say, ‘Bob, I really appreciate your paying the electric bill. I hear there are husbands who don’t do that, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it.’ Every time he does anything good, give him a verbal compliment.”
“I don’t see how that’s going to get the bedroom painted.”
I said, “You asked for my advice. You have it. It’s free.”
She wasn’t very happy with me when she left.
Three weeks later, however, she came back and said, “It worked!”

She had learned that verbal compliments are far greater motivators than nagging words.

 

Nagging Spouses by Post Memes is licensed under  CC by 2.o text cropped by me

Saturday, April 25, 2015 0 0