July 20, 2004

July is a BUST!

Okay, so. I leave town tomorrow for NYC. I will be back Friday, then Saturday I leave for nine days -- I will be at the beach and visiting family. I will barely be blogging AT ALL AT ALL in the back half of July.

I SWEAR I will pop in on Friday and burble about what happened on THE TRIP, and sorry I am a big stinky head who skips half a month blogging to gallivant about the universe like Britney Spears if Britney Spears was middle class and in her thirties and wore a lot more clothes.

To make up for it, before I go, I will go ahead tell you the secret to finding complete and total happiness for the rest of your life. I was saving it for BLOG SWEEPS WEEK, but I will go ahead and bust it out now...

You've read the studies. You know what the big boys at research universities have been saying for years. The secret to a successful marriage is ACTIVE LISTENING. Active listening is that thing where, during conflicts, you make sure your spouse knows that you are HEARING whatever stupid thing they are busting your chops about. It goes something like this.

ENRAGED WIFE: You are a big jerk. You hurt my feelings when you say mean things. You leave your socks on the floor, your bitter socks all stinky, and you expect that a sock fairy will come and lift them away to laundry land. WELL THE SOCK FAIRY HAS BEEN ME THIS WHOLE TIME. AND THE SOCK FAIRY IS STARTING TO HATE YOU.

ACTIVE LISTENING HUSBANDLY RESPONSE: I understand that when I leave my terrible socks on the floor it distresses you, especially when I compound the problem by saying mean things. It makes you think of me as a jerk and then you hate me and have hurt feelings. I probably leave the socks around because my mother always picked them up for me, and it is just a bad, bad habit.

So, in theory, the wife is charmed because her husband has parroted her words back to her, so she feels as if he REALLY understood her and cared. Now, if acting listening actually worked, the wife would then say something like this:

ACTIVE LISTENING WIFELY RESPONSE IN AN IDEAL WORLD: I see that your mother has not trained you to be a good sock putter awayer, and I understand that you have a bad habit. I realize that bad habits are hard to break, so why don't we work together to solve this problem. I will try to give gentle reminders to you, and you can leave yourself helpful post-it notes in places where your socks tend to congregate. Oh YAY! The problem is solved. Let us retire to the bedroom and have a lot of really great sex.

But this is not an ideal world. And that is not what Mrs. Anyone says. What she really says is this:

Wife: Why are you repeating everything I say back to me as if I were a stupid two-year-old? Why don't you pick up the damn socks? Forget it. Let's get a big, hateful divorce.

Luckily, the University of Washington has come along to save us all. They just released a new a study. They say active listening is a crock, something that a lot of people who have had big, hateful divorces already know. The say the secret to a good lasting relationship, a rock solid marriage providing years of happiness, the secret that gets you to the gold anniversary and the grandkids and big cake, is this: Let the girl get her way. Easy peasy. All you have to do is.....let the girl get her way.

They are not kidding. They have apparently spent years and years studying couples, and about half of the active listening ones blew it. But the marriages in which the girl gets her way are still trotting along happily. FASCINATING.

Needless to say, I love the University of Washington just about now, only a little less than I like getting my own way. And I think they have - beyond gratifying my deepest wishes - an actual point. Because I am a girl, and therefore I know things about girls, and one of the things I know is that we all, secretly, in our deepest hidden heart of hearts, want to be The Princess. Not the boss. The Princess. We don't really want to order our husbands around and stomp all over and be the despot king. And that's not what UW is saying either. UW doesn't say, "Be a whipped little boot licking dork." Trust me, no one likes a whipped little boot licking dork. I think they are saying, let us girls be The Princess.

My friend Mark has the whole thing down pat. Before he goes out with the guys, he asks for a kitchen pass. A kitchen pass is when your wife tells you it's ok to go and you tell her when you will be back and then (here is an important part) you are actually back on or around that time. And Mrs. Mark actually writes a cute little pass on a piece of paper, and she usually includes an enticing sexual promise for those who come home before their pass expires.

Now Mark is a big boy, and a successful businessy something at a downtown office, and he doesn't need permission to go have a beer after work. He knows this. His wife knows this. But he asks for the pass anyway, and she gives it to him anyway. Because it makes her feel like The Princess. All the guys at his office have laughed at Mark for YEARS about his kitchen passes, and slowly, one by one, they have laughed their way to big hateful divorce court. Meanwhile, Mark and Mrs. Mark and planning a big party to celebrate their 15th anniversary.


See you Friday.

Posted by joshilyn at July 20, 2004 1:39 PM

: ) Happy Travels Steve!!.. I hope it's a wonderful ride!!! ;)

oh and happy anniversary to Mark and Mrs. Mark. :)

Yes today is a good day.

Posted by: Klint at July 20, 2004 10:57 PM

I agree that sexual enticement definately brings the husband home in a timely fashion!

Posted by: Julie at July 21, 2004 9:10 AM

I can't wait to hear how it went. :) Have fun

Posted by: Tiff at July 21, 2004 10:42 AM

Call when you get back. Loved the cover. Dave calls me Princess. Twenty years next week. Sex still great.

Posted by: Jill James at July 21, 2004 3:39 PM

Where exactly do I get a copy of this study to pass along to my - I love him sooo much, BUT - husband who has cruelly forced me to live far away from being able to hear this IN PERSON?! :)

Posted by: Unfortunately I live in Kansas at August 21, 2004 8:41 PM