Thursday, February 14, 2013

Things My Wife Complains About #23: Agreeing with Her

There's no greater sin in our house than being defensive. If I entered the kitchen dripping blood, the first thing my wife would do is complain about my getting blood on the floor. If, at this point, I tried to explain that I'd just saved a family from a horrific accident, she would ask me why I couldn't just apologize for getting blood on the floor. Then, as I grabbed the chair to steady myself from my own significant blood loss, she would storm out of the room, complaining that I never admitted to doing anything wrong.

Conversely, if I apologized for getting blood on the floor before admitting that I'd committed a quadruple homicide, she would say it's okay and tend to my wounds before placing dishtowels on the widening pool around my shoes.

I came to believe that eschewing defensiveness at all costs and agreeing with my wife no matter what was an assured path to marital success, but this belief was mistaken, as evidenced by the transcript from the other night:

Wife: I'm grumpy.
Me: I know.
Wife (incredulous): Why would you say that?
Me: I know you're grumpy. You're allowed to be grumpy. It's okay.
Wife (storming out of room): And I was going to apologize!

In lieu of possible solutions, I came up with an alternative dialogue:

Wife: I'm grumpy.
Me: I hadn't noticed.
Wife (curious): So you admit that I'm grumpy.
Me: Did I say that?
Wife (storming out of room): Why can't you ever admit to doing anything wrong?

Wait! Let's try that again:

Wife: I'm grumpy.
Me (too terrified to speak): 
Wife (incredulous): Are you ignoring me?
Me: No! It's just that--
Wife (storming out of room): Do you have to be defensive about everything?

That was worse. OK, last try:

Wife: I'm grumpy.
Me: Can you believe the AAP has a new vaccine schedule?
Wife (excited): The craziest thing is pertussis. Did I tell you my whooping cough story?
Me: Several hundred times. But I would love to hear it again.
Wife (sitting): I went to the doctor, like, three times and...


New Years Eve Day 2012

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