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“When was the last time we made pasta?” Heath asked while starting on the dishes. In the sink sat a pot, a lid, and a colander with a handful of pasta. In a bowl in front of me at the table sat a bowl of pasta that I had finished cooking less than five minutes prior.
At first, I thought he was kidding. Not more than 30 seconds ago, he sat across from me and asked what I was eating for lunch. He saw the pasta. He asked about the pasta. So I laughed at his odd question. It wasn’t that it was funny, but I figured since he was trying so hard to make a weird joke that it would be rude not to laugh.
“You’re kidding, right?” I said playfully, after Heath turned his over his shoulder with furrowed eyebrows.
Confused, Heath looked at me, looked at my pasta, and looked at the colander in his hands.
“I just cooked it for my lunch,” I explained slowly, trying to catch him up.
“Oh…” he trailed off.
“You just threw it away, didn’t you?”
“Yeah…Well I just washed it really. Do you want it?” Heath asked, picking it up from the bottom of the sink, covered in bubbles and who knows how many germs.
“Ew, no,” I said fairly calmly, despite my now lower carb version of lunch.
“I’m sorry. Do you want me to make you more?”
“No, I’m okay. It’s okay.”
This is one of the few examples in our marriage where Heath did something ridiculous and I responded calmly. Usually there is more sarcasm, frustration, annoyance, etc. Because seriously, you just talked to me about my lunch and in the two steps it takes to walk into the kitchen, you forgot? But yesterday, maybe because I’ve finally gotten the hang of this marriage thing, or quite possibly because I was more concerned with eating what food I had left while it was still hot, I responded to Heath’s craziness with a sane response.
But typically, this is not the case.
Because as brilliant as my husband is, he makes mistakes like this and says things that are so outrageous, that you wonder what is really going on inside that beautiful head of his.
And I don’t always (okay, ever) respond appropriately. There are three ways I typically respond: correction, condescension, and sarcasm. And guess what?
Those are three ways NOT to react when your husband does something stupid.
I have the most examples of this, because with the proper tone of voice, correction isn’t alway bad. Sometimes, it’s downright helpful. Like when he’s forgotten how English works:
“I made an observance.”
“I made an observation.”
But sometimes, you need to be a little more firm with the truth, to make sure he really understands what he’s saying, because math is hard:
“I didn’t know he was 32,” I said.
“Yeah, he is the same age as Jia. Jia is 33.”
“Then they aren’t the same age.”
“Why can’t you let me be right?”
“Because you’re wrong. 32 and 33 aren’t the same.“
Or, most recently, when I had to refrain from soooo many possible jokes and torment:
“If I were a girl or a guy…”
“You are a guy.”
“I know…But if I were a girl…”
With correction, tone and inflection are key.
Last week, Heath opened the fridge, searching for lunch. A normal occurrence.
“Is this chicken good?”
“Open it and smell it.”
“How do I know what bad chicken smells like?”
Heath opens the lid and takes a big whiff, with no discerning look on his face.
“How does it smell?”
“It doesn’t smell fresh.”
“They are leftovers. They can’t be fresh. Then they wouldn’t be left over.”
I received a nasty look for that response.
The shortest way to write this section would be to give you a transcript of 85% of the things I’ve ever said to Heath during the entirety of our relationship. Things like:
Every day activities:
“Do you know how to flush the toilet, or do you want me to do it for you?”
“You did it! I’m proud of you. And it only took you two months.”
When he can’t find his phone:
“I don’t know where it could be…How could you lose it when it never leaves your hand even when I’m trying to tell you something important and you’re checking Instagram?”
When he can’t find anything:
“Where is the pan?”
“*In the same place the pan has been for literally our entire marriage.”
*I do not recommend this response to any question you are ever asked by anyone, ever. Also applies when you are asked about a towel, the lighter, the cleaning supplies, and the trash can.
Much like the lesson from all the stories I shared in my latest book, The Honeymoon Year, as a wife, you’re never going to do everything right. I’m still going to be sarcastic. Probably often, too. And as brilliant as my husband is, he’s still going to have some blond moments (red-head moments?) and I will be forced to tease him relentlessly for saying something so crazy.
The key, if you can learn it, is to not do any of the above three things that all result in fights, someone storming to other end of the RV, and/or the silent treatment. And you don’t want that, trust me.