The Goddess Speaks
Being right is not often wife’s domain
According to the emcee at a wedding I recently attended, the secret to a happy marriage is that "your wife is always right." Everyone, including the groom, chuckled and nodded. The bride's smile lit up the room. Poor, deluded girl, I thought. I hope she has more luck with always being right than I have.
For most of my marriage, I haven't been able to accept my husband's agreeability at face value. I was convinced that "yes, dear" was a clever ploy men used to get what they want without actually saying what they want. My "always right" friends and I know that when our husbands say, "Anything you want, dear," they'll get at least a little of what they want.
It goes like this. You ask for your husband's opinion on a decision. He says, "Anything you want, dear." You are certain he must have some opinion, but all you get out of him is, "Whatever you think is right, dear."
So you construct a variety of scenarios and try to predict how he'll respond to each one. When you finally make the decision, it's a compromise based on what you want and what you think he wants.
Gotcha! Your decision isn't anything you want (dear). It's what you think would work best for you as a couple.
My husband insists these mental gymnastics are unnecessary. He swears that he simply doesn't have strong opinions about most of the decisions we, or I, make. "I don't care that much and you do, so we'll go with your decision," he says. His reasoning makes so much sense that there has to be something more to it.
So I asked other men, and they told me the same thing. They didn't have strong opinions, either. They believed that being agreeable was more important than getting their way.
"You just gotta keep the women happy," said one man earnestly. "Anything to keep her happy," chimed another with a big smile.
I was beginning to think that this had something to do with you know what, but these men were adamant that their wives' happiness was important -- period. There was a reason for "yes, dear" that I had completely overlooked. Husbands just want their wives to be happy. Wow! I felt like Sally Field winning the Oscar. They love us. They really love us.
Then I managed to convince myself that it's never that simple. "Yes, dear" means he wants something but doesn't want to tell me about it. Or maybe he's done something he feels guilty about and doesn't want to tell me.
Then I felt guilty. How could I suspect my unselfish husband of committing such emotional subterfuge? What's wrong with me? Did I watch too much TV as a child? Did I read too much chick lit? Was that second cup of coffee really necessary? Was it that time of the month?
And I thought that bride was deluded.
Dawn Yoshimura Sinclair is a Honolulu writer.
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