May 6, 2009 by Emily Johnson

Spouse-Training Tips

Maybe it is true. You can’t change someone. But you can sure as heck try! I’ve been trying for years, and he is coming along on some fronts. Here are some of my best tips:

Filling the ice trays. Either I leave them all unfilled until he runs out entirely or I put them on the steps leading up to his office. When he asks why they’re on the steps, I say, “I wasn’t sure what you wanted me to do with them…”

Making the bed? Still trying to figure that one out. It sure is a good thing to use as a last straw whenever I feel like melting down for no apparent reason, say, a dozen or so times a year.

Taking the trash out. Many of you may know this, but letting the trash pile up and become a work of art really doesn’t work. Plus, my husband has the ability to push down and compact an awful lot of trash. But, I do leave the can strategically placed in the way of the back door so that he has to notice it when he leaves. I know, I could just tell him, and he says I could just remind him nicely, but somehow when I do, I become the nagger! Remind nicely…nagging…what’s the difference?

There are some victories, though. Take this evening for example. He asked me to make the hotel reservations for our trip. I know I’ll need to check the itinerary with him before finalizing the details, so I ask him to come sit with me while I do it. I ask a lot of questions, take a long time finding where to click on the website, and bam! before I know it, I’ve been bumped out of the driver’s seat and he’s getting it done. Baby steps to victory. Baby steps to victory. Then a bonus. I asked him to print off the home page of the hotel we booked, and he asked why. I had a very complicated reason, mostly that I just wanted it, and I looked at him as he said, “Never mind, just print it off, Andy.”

The disturbing thing about all this is that I think I’m being trained, too. Men generally hate admitting that they are injured or sick enough to go to the doctor. Am I right? So, I have to demand that he goes, “I am making an appointment, and you will go!” (You have to get pushy when the hubby-baby gets sick.) Then when he goes, it’s not because he admits he needs to, it’s just to shut me up. I’ve been trained.

Here’s another one. My guy is what I call a Mac Evangelist. We love all things Apple, and drool over every product. We have a design studio that we recently took full time, and staring at the laptop all day is starting to hurt his eyes and neck. He has wanted a larger monitor forever, and now that I was interested in saving him from injury, I demanded that we go get one. I got the kids ready, banned him from working one day, and made us go. Then I realized, I’ve been trained. Brilliant, bloody brilliant!

My parents give me hope, I have to say. Mom stayed at home and supported Dad through his military career and didn’t return to her profession until we were in school all day. Dad was the least domestic creature I have ever seen. We still laugh about the pink meatloaf he tried to make out of ground pork when my mom was in the hospital. It was sweet, but very, very gross. Well, now that he is truly retired, Mom leaves him with a list every day. He cleans, he shops, he gardens, he pays bills, and he even cooks well enough that I can call him for cooking advice. Mind you, this is a retired Colonel, an Airborne Ranger to boot. Miracles can happen.

Now if I could just get my husband to stop pretending to throw spiders and bugs at me when I ask him to get rid of them for me…It is SO not funny.

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Regarding the trash Emily, I’m only trying to conserve on bags by getting the most out of them. It’s called being environmentally responsible honey. I’m doing it for the next generation.

By Andy Johnson on May 8 2009

Here’s a follow-up story about how I jus realized I’ve been trained. Andy has a bike reunion/show coming up and has been talking about getting a new bike. Yeah, like that’s going to happen. So tonight, he comes in from riding with blood running down his leg, bruises from his knee to down the front of hi shin, and a completely ruined wheel, spokes sticking out an everything. (the same broken spokes that tore up his leg.) So, he starts looking for new wheels (after ordering shin guards), and since you can’t buy JUST one, I catch myself saying, (now here’s where I realized I’ve been trained), “Now, if we’re going to spend that much on wheels, shouldn’t we spend just X dollars more and get a new bike?” He’s good, albeit a little nuts to suffer the injury, but still good!

By Emily on June 14 2009

Wow! You guys sound a lot like us!

By Jessica on August 9 2009

How sweet your parents are. Love the way your family bonds with each other. And yes, husbands are not that spic-n-span like the wives, and getting them do the usual housewife chores is a sweet and “giggling site”.

By hampers on October 21 2009

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