Battle of the sexes? No. Let’s understand them.
Understanding your significant other is one of the most challenging things in the history of ever. So we’ve asked two Scary Mommy Staff writers, who are also long-term veterans of marriage to let us crawl inside their heads.
Clint has been married for 11-plus years and is a father of three. He has spent a few nights on the sofa.
Katie Smith has been married for almost 14 years and is a mother to three. She and her husband piss each other off daily.
We presented them with a few typical married people situations that many people find confusing, or frustrating, and what we found was some insight, a few clichés, some contradictions, and a whole lot truth.
Getting Kids Out the Door
Her: I have a very easy 37-step process that starts an hour before we have to be anywhere. Everyone needs to use the potty, they must be clean, hair should be combed, snacks are packed, shoes are tied, and everyone has water. We are running a little late, but I should grab extra jackets just in case. I try to keep everyone happy when we go somewhere so I don’t lose my shit, but it never works.
Him: My number one priority with getting kids anywhere is to make sure we get there on time. Kicking and screaming, hair a mess, full bladder, don’t care. They will be there on time even if they look like crying hobos with crossed legs searching for a restroom. I see punctuality as a life skill, and I assume that if my children understand that I will take them to school, or the store, without pants, they will get their shit together. This often backfires, and I don’t always get there on time, but ultimately it is part of a long-term goal of teaching my children get-your-shit-together-ness.
Her: I have my list of super healthy dinners and snacks. We are going to eat good homemade meals this week if it kills me. No junk—we don’t need it. If it isn’t in the house, we won’t be tempted. Hubby and I will both feel great and keep each other on track. Hello veggie aisle! God, I want a brownie.
Him: I usually go to the store with my wife’s list on paper, and my list in my head. I don’t really want to have a list because grocery shopping often feels like the only opportunity I get to be whimsical. I spend a lot of time at work putting deep thought into spreadsheets and planning all the steps for this or that. I have enough lists in my life, and I honestly don’t want to work that hard at the store.
Her: I really don’t want anything, just a card would be nice. Maybe a cake, and if it is a cake, hopefully it will be chocolate. Also, those earrings I saw last week were nice—I should drop a hint about those. My sisters are going to want to take me out to dinner too. Oh, I can’t wait for my birthday week!
Him: I truly don’t want something you can wrap. I want sex. I want pizza. I want time to work on a hobby. I want to watch a movie with blood, sweat, and gasoline. This list is not in any particular order. On my birthday, think carnal. Think cliché. I am sure there’s someone out there reading this and getting pissed because I’m not presenting men with much depth. And to you I say, “It’s my birthday. Deal with it.”
Her: I told him a few times that I am afraid he is not going to get/do/say the right thing. Maybe I was talking too much; I was too detailed. I recognized that blank stare. I should text him and remind him of what I said just one more time.
Him: My default with communication is to look at it like a checklist. We discuss something, come to a conclusion, and move onto the next subject. Once we have moved on…we have moved on. However, after being married for a few years, I have started to realize that when something is brought up multiple times, it is my wife’s way of hinting at something. I used to see this as nagging, which always resulted in me getting angry, and I ended up sleeping on the sofa (see above). I have since had to think a little differently about why my wife repeats things.
Her: I feel like crap. How the hell am I supposed to take care of these kids if I can’t even stand up straight? I can’t call anyone for help because they might catch it too. I wish I could just go to bed and have someone take care of me for a change. I hate everybody.
Him: I think about work. I feel a lot of social pressure to be a provider. I get nervous that I will get too sick, drop the ball on something, and get fired:
Boss: You were doing a great job until you got that cold. Then you dropped the ball, and now I have to fire you! (evil laughter)
Then I will be a total failure. This is why, when I come home from work sick, I go to bed, stay there, and avoid everything so I can get better. My wife calls it a Man Cold when in fact it’s more of a fear of failure.
Clearly this isn’t a comprehensive list of marital situations. And obviously, Katie and Clint are not the sole voices of all husbands and wives. So let’s take advantage of the internet. Use the comments section to let us know how you think in these situations. Perhaps we can learn a little bit more about husbands, wives, and marriage, and use the internet for something more than just arguing over why someone else’s opinion sucks.
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