Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Modern Translation: The Awesome Wife’s Guide (Rule #10)

(This is the 11th post of this series. To read the entire series, click on the label to the left that reads "Modern Translation Series.")

* Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

This rule is extra special hard for me, but it’s one I definitely want to work on! I know, I know... the wording is totally 1950s but if you can look past the language barrier you’ll see there is a method to my madness!

There isn’t a moment in the day when I don’t have something to talk to my husband about... and vice versa. We talk A LOT! When we first met my husband was working remotely from our Pennsylvania home for a DC based company. The nature of my job requires a lot of desk work as well. So, during our courting stage we chatted throughout the day on Gmail chat as we went about our work business. This was our routine actually until about a month before we were married when my husband accepted a local job which required him to work outside of the home. For two years I was able to share thoughts with my husband or ask him a question immediately as it popped into my head. Needless to say, it has been a rough transition for me.

This isn’t actually a new bad habit for me. It’s one that was instilled long before I met my husband and seems to be a plague for all of my generation. I have had a cell phone for <pause for quick math> 12 years. I love my cell phone. I rely on it. I would panic if I were to ever leave the house without it, but chances are, even if I forget pants I’ll never leave the house without my cell phone. 

I claim that I need it on me at all times for emergencies, but we all know that’s a liar, liar pants on fire. (Though, truth be told, I’m incredible afraid of getting a flat tire. I feel I will have at least one in my life and everyday that goes on without a flat tire only makes me more afraid of that day when it does come. I felt the same way about split pants and I actually got my one allotted lifetime pants split recently and survived so perhaps I should stop being a big baby about it.)

In reality, I need to have my cell phone on me because what if I have a thought? And want to share that thought? And what if I can’t? I’ll have to <gasp> remember that thought. And then what if I don’t remember said thought? I will have had a thought and then lost the thought without ever sharing the thought for someone else to think about also. I can’t live like that!

Clearly, I recognize the ridiculousness of this. The cure for cancer will never pop into my head while driving in my car and be lost forever because I cannot speed dial my mom ASAP and tell her all about it. But, I bring this up because this is the perfect example of how differently boy brains and girl brains work. I don’t... ever... stop having thoughts and I truly believe that all thoughts I have are important, so important in fact that I would consider it in an justice to not share each thought immediately with whomever I’ve decide to grace that thought upon. (Perhaps why I have a blog??) 

My husband does not have a thought unless he decides to think. That sounds awful but I assure you it is true. *Disclaimer: My husband is incredibly smart & much, much smarter than I am. Case in point, he’s so smart that he has actually figured out how to stop thinking. I envy him for this ability! 

We’ve all lived this scene:

Act One

A couple is sitting in the living room on a weeknight evening just after dinner, watching television.

Wife: “What’cha thinking about?”
Husband: “Nothing”
Wife: <tehehe> “No, really, what’cha thinking about?”
Husband: “Uhh... nothing.”
Wife: “Well you can’t be thinking about nothing. Is something bothering you?”
Husband: “Uhh... no.”
Wife: “What’s wrong??”
Husband: “I said nothing.”
Wife: “Are you mad at me???”
Husband: “NO!!!”

(Totally preventable, unnecessary fight about... literally... nothing ensues.)

I’m giggling because I believe we have had this exact conversation verbatim... multiple times. 

I now believe my husband when he says he is actually thinking about nothing- as in, not thinking. I don’t know how he does it. Believe me, if I did I would paste a tutorial on here for y’all. 

So, to examine this more closely, if my husband can chose when and what to think about perhaps his thoughts are more important? I don’t play the math game well but there is no possible way that 100% of all my thoughts are important and worth sharing. Yet, I seem to want to share them all. The hubs is more selective with his thoughts than I, and even more selective of what he deems important enough to share. By simple numbers, it would seem that if we both arrive home from work at the same time and both have a thought to share, chances are his thought was more carefully selected and therefore more important.

In all sincerity though, I believe I have a lot to learn from my husband in regards to mind management. My name is Tracy, and I am an over-thinker. <Hi Tracy!> Granted, having such an active mind is probably the reason I have such mind-blowingly <new word alert!> genius ideas at times BUT it is also the reason I cannot fall asleep at night until I make a to-do list for the next day. I recognize that I need to work on thought control and mind-editing.

Dear 1950s Housewife,
You little trickster... I see what you are doing here! You’ve hidden a subliminal message into this rule. It’s not that you truly believe what your husband has to say is more important than what you have to say. No. You know how a housewife mind works: it never stops. Rather, you wanted us to work on finding inner peace and balance with our own thoughts. You wrote this rule to help us housewives recognize that it’s the quality of our minds not the quantity of our thoughts that truly matter! Cleaver, cleaver.
Have a pleasant day,
The 2010s Housewife


  1. Thank you for this wonderful reminder!

  2. LMAO!
    I always let Brian talk through his day first. It is often more important for him to get things off his chest than me. He works in Mental Health which can be very taxing on his brain and there is a high rate of burn out (even when not working full time) in his field so it is very important to him and our family that he has a place where he can vent, talk or whatever.
    Yes there have been days where I have been tearing my hair out with the kids, but giving him 5 minutes to chat is not going to change the situation is it

  3. At first, I was irritated by this rule because OF COURSE Andy's thoughts aren't more important than mine. I text him constantly throughout the day everything that rolls through my mind, and because he's in medical school, he filters through my messages and only responds the to important ones because that is all time allows him. He isn't the "tell me every thought on his mind" type of person like I am, even though I think he does always have something on his mind. So if he comes home and wants to tell me something, he's probably been marinating on it all day before deciding its important enough to share. I'm going to try learning to wait.

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