I was married for the first time in 1970, and for the last time in 1995. Collectively I have 48 years of surviving marriages, a stretch that most prisoners would consider a life sentence.
Now before I get myself in too much hot water here, I should say up front that I am not comparing marriage to a prison sentence; prisoners get parole hearings, husbands get an old blanket and the living room couch every now and then.
All kidding aside, I love my wife and I absolutely love being married, and I also love being married to her. But there is this one little issue I would like to address here in this public forum, before hundreds, perhaps thousands of prospective jury members and witnesses, hopefully at least half of whom are of the male persuasion.
The issue is that when men say they have been thinking, it is very often thoughts about constructive ways to better their lives. They’re usually thoughts about our wives and children, and ways in which we men can be, ahem, thoughtful spouses, attentive guardians of home and property, respectful of our spouses’ careers, and anything else we can possibly do to endear ourselves to our loving marital partners.
So when a man says he’s been thinking about, oh, I don’t know, maybe swinging by the club to sign up, or maybe changing the oil in the Family Motor Vehicle, or maybe even casting a line, in a well-meaning way, to secure food for the family dinner table, the man almost always has his family in the forefront of his mind.
Wives, on the other hand, often have a different take on this whole thinking process. Let me give you some examples.
HUSBAND: “Hon, I was thinking about playing golf with some of the guys from work this Saturday.”
WIFE: “Oh really, ‘cause I was thinking maybe you should get those hedges trimmed before the city condemns our property.”
HUSBAND: “Honey, I was thinking about maybe doing some fishing down on the river with a couple of friends this weekend.”
WIFE: “And I was thinking maybe you should get those shutters hung before there’s three feet of snow on the ground.”
HUSBAND: “Sweetie-pie, I was thinking about taking my car over to Ronnie’s this weekend so he can help me change the rotors on the brakes and maybe even rotate the tires while I’m there.”
WIFE: “Well I was thinking maybe you should stay home and clean out the garage so I can start parking my car in there again.”
HUSBAND: “Hey babe, I was thinking maybe this would be a great weekend for you and the kids to go to your mother’s so I can watch the big NASCAR race here with my cousins Luke and Jake and Uncle Pete.”
WIFE: “I was thinking this would be a great opportunity for you to sleep on the couch this weekend to see if you like doing it long-term!”
So anyway, you can clearly see that men, being from Mars, and women, being from Venus, are not connecting on this whole ‘thinking’ thing. Secondly, how often do you suppose the guys in these scenarios actually got their ways? Right … zero, zilch, goose egg, never happened!
So why is that women believe they have a lock on thinking, huh? Men have been running the world for quite a long time, and we haven’t screwed anything up too badly, have we?
All right, so we didn’t do such a hot job in Vietnam, and Watergate was definitely not one of our finest hours, but we would have had this whole marriage thing nailed if they would have just let us handle it like sports contracts, you know, let the parties re-negotiate the agreement every couple of…Ouch, that hurt honey!
What’s that dear? Oh all right.
After careful reconsideration ... and thoughtful reexamination of this issue … it has been suggested … umm … decreed, that I should bring this column to a close by using the words Emily Litella used to use on Saturday Night Live when she realized she had gotten a little mixed-up in her understanding of an issue … never mind!
Bill Crawford is a LaVale freelance writer. His column appears in the Times-News on the third weekend of each month.