Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Marriage Guidance

The secret to surviving middle age, says a survey, is a good marriage, a good breakfast and a puppy. The Vicar and I have spent 13 years-worth of contented evenings side by side under our tartan rugs; I never confront a day without sultana bran inside me and, although I can't vouch for the power of a pup, I seem to be plodding reliably through middle-age, so I assume two cats can count.

But there is more to marriage than this. It has, finds a different survey, an enhancing effect on men's bodies and women's minds. And men who wish to push those enhanced bodies into antiquity, while steering clear of Alzheimers, should, according to a third poll, select wives who are younger than them and clever to boot. So far so good. I'm a year younger than the Vicar and, unlike him, I've mastered the purpose of all the attachments on our vacuum cleaner, so I am most probably clever. He can pace the Seven Sisters without a stroke and my mind has undoubtedly flourished on a dinner-time diet of parish gossip. So yes, all in all, I can recommend marriage.

But, while there is an industry of manuals to guide women through motherhood, few exist on the subject of man-handling and I am concerned that inexperienced women will take the plunge oblivious to the facts of life. For matrimony, my dears, is a state full of mysteries and the more you know about these, the sooner you'll accept that there are, er, certain differences between the male and female sex. It's for your enlightenment, therefore, that I am prepared to bare all here:

A husband who strews his dirty laundry on the bedroom floor is time-pressed; a time-pressed wife who asks him to put it in the laundry basket is a nag.

A husband will grab a towel (usually his wife's) when he steps out of the shower and will, due to time pressure (see above), abandon it sodden on the marital bed (always on his wife's side).

A husband has a hound-like impulse to trail his presence round the house, usually in the form of    empty loo roll tubes, unhung bath mats, strewn food wrappers and an unemptied plugful of that night's supper after washing up.

A husband who minds the children for a day is granting a favour. A wife who minds the children for the day is fulfilling a duty.

A wife's Hoovering can rouse a husband from his afternoon nap, yet he is deaf to the night-time yells of a vomiting child.

When a wife can't get the car/kettle/DVD player to work it's because she's a woman. When the husband is equally ineffectual it's because it's broken. 

What have I left out? Share your experience here, ladies. And gents, since doubtless it works both ways, what should grooms-to-be be told about women?



41 comments:

  1. Ha ha. I now know why my husband married me (I am far younger and, of course, infinitely cleverer than he is).

    All I can add is that, in husband-world, a Boden order is a waste of money. A power tool is an investment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quite right too. You can't drill holes with a spotted frock!

      Delete
  2. Also, the social calendar...his unique and important, hers "you didn't say you were out tonight?"

    ReplyDelete
  3. When a woman says "I've nothing to wear tonight" she means "I want to go shopping". When a man says "I've nothing to wear tonight" he means "No-one's done the ironing".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And by no one's done the ironing, he means you haven't done the ironing.

      Delete
  4. Haha, in out house it's all of the above plus a recent one which annoys the hell out of me "We need to put him in a routine". Him is our 11mo and when he says we, he really means me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But the trust implied in that is quite moving, don't you think!

      Delete
    2. I must be very trustworthy then! His "housework needs doing" threshold is much higher than mine too.

      Delete
  5. When a husband doesn't hear you it's because your voice "doesn't carry"; when you don't hear him, you need to get your hearing checked. (You have to be fairly old to be experiencing this one btw.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good one! Think I'm old enough to have experienced that!

      Delete
  6. Your husband changes the loo roll? Stick him in a museum because without doubt what could be on that list is that they never do that! Plus when he wants to go somewhere your company is assumed, when you want to go somewhere, his is a favour. Perhaps that's why I am divorced!

    This is great though: When a woman marries a man, she hopes he'll change, but he doesn't. When a man marries a woman, he hopes she won't change, but she does!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, he doesn't change the loo roll! hence the empty tubes. Profound stuff indeed, if depressing. I wouldn't want to change the Vicar, though. He's near perfect bar the above!

      Delete
  7. Love the 'husband doing you a favour for minding his own children' one. I know JUST where you're coming from with that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so consoling to be in such good company!

      Delete
    2. I rely hate it if I'm going out if people ask if my husband is 'babysitting'. I always reply no he's co-parenting

      Delete
    3. I rely hate it if I'm going out if people ask if my husband is 'babysitting'. I always reply no he's co-parenting

      Delete
    4. Do you know, it never occurred to me to pick up on that so biddable am I! You're so right...

      Delete
  8. My dad once came downstairs on a Sunday morning and told my mum, "I've made our bed for you."
    "Why," she replied, "where are you sleeping tonight?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Quick-witted woman. Mind, the Vicar gets similarly riled when people say 'I've put the heating on in your church for you!'

      Delete
  9. Hubby puts his dish in the dishwasher and I am expected to thank him but when i put the dishes from the top ( where he's usually placed them) not a single word from him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds as though you have definitely married a man!

      Delete
  10. Absolutely spot on, spookily so - have you met my husband? Great post, really enjoyed it :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, thank you. We all seem to have married the same man! I could, however, also have listed the fact mine cooks dinner every night, reads to the kids while I'm having my morning shower, keeps the fridge stocked and taught me to drink...

      Delete
    2. ooh mine cooks every night for me and has indeed just called me through for tea this second.... that doesn't make him perfect though, sadly. Will be back to comment more, it's a good 'un, this :)

      Delete
    3. Oh, you lovely person! I have a terrific weakness for people who comment!

      Delete
  11. I'm rather enjoying just having a live in lover at the moment....we both spend all our time trying to out do each other in helpfulness - makes a change after 24 years of marriage!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, those early stages of painstaking niceness are exhausting. Hopefully he'll start strewing laundry about soon!

      Delete
  12. A husband may wake and complain he didn't sleep very well...a wife will be able to reliably inform him that he snored, all night!

    Thank you for a good laugh, hysterical and so insightful, these young women need the truth ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brilliant addition. Our combined researches point to the startling conclusion that we have ALL married the same bloke!

      Delete
  13. I love your blog. It is refreshing and funny. I have listed you as one of my inspirational bloggers. (Here is a link if you want to read about it http://t.co/iWCJIzyn) Another brilliant post xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a lovely start to a Thursday morning. You've inspired me now! Thank you

      Delete
  14. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ..... ha ha ha ha ha ha - so funny, and so true, damp, discarded bath towels are a constant bugbear, and if I was to add my niggle.... toasted crumbs and coffee granules spread on the kitchen surface which are somehow supposed to tidy themselves up!

    ReplyDelete
  15. His bad nights sleep is a disaster and gives him carte blanche to be grumpy, demanding and good-for-nothing all day the following day.

    Her bad nights sleep is really neither here not there. She must buck up and carry on. Because bucking up and carrying on is what she does. And anyway, she couldn't possibly be feeling as bad or as tired as him now could she?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear, that sounded a cry from an exhausted heart!

      Delete
  16. My late entry to the debate has ensured that someone else has said most of what I was going to say. So, I will just add one more: telling me how to best do a job I do every day and he does once in a blue moon.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Also:

    When a husband is grumpy and withdrawn, it's because he's quietly wrestling with serious intellectual or existential challenges; when a wife is grumpy and withdrawn, it's because she's got PMS.

    But why am i complaining, my partner took the bins out FOR ME on Sunday night ...

    Great post as usual x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, ducks. A wise and invaluable addition to my research!

      Delete