Q. I really don’t like working in the kitchen–you know, doing dishes, cooking, cleaning, that kind of stuff. How much of that stuff do I have to do?
A. This is a common question, and the surprising answer is: not much at all. Even in marriages in which both the husband and wife have similar schooling, professional development, income, and schedules, it is an inherent joy for the wife to cook and clean in the kitchen. Because of thousands of years of tradition and instinct, she is hard-wired for such activities. Denying her the full use of those instincts is not only inconsiderate, but cruel. Your wife will love you all the more deeply for remembering that.
Q. When I’m sick, I’m just totally wiped out. My wife seems to handle it much better. Is this difference real?
A. Your intuition serves you well. In fact, you feel much worse when you are sick than your wife does when she is sick. Should you, for some strange reason, lower yourself to wait on your wife when she is sick, she will feel patronized, and you will pay the price when she is feeling better. On the other hand, when you are sick, she delights in catering to your every whim. Deny her this pleasure at your considerable peril.
Q. When my wife wants to tell me how her day went, is it appropriate for me to sit quietly and listen to what she is saying above all else?
A. No, of course not. Your wife neither wants nor expects you to listen patiently to the events of her day and leave it at that. Remember, your wife values your problem-solving skills highly, and this is one of those situations in which you are expected to interrupt whenever you have helpful advice and/or counsel to offer. Also, remember that multi-tasking is a virtue. Feel free to work on something else while you are listening, making minimal (if any) eye contact and muttering under your breath.
Q. My buddies are very much live-for-the-moment people. In fact, sometimes we make plans to go drinking for the night right as we are starting to drink for the night, and I call my wife on my cell to let her know. This is normal and just part of being a guy, right?
A. Yes! In fact, your wife appreciates this on a profound level. She knows how hard you work and how strong your need to “blow off steam” is. In fact, she’d be delighted to get up and make you and the boys an omelet when you come home drunk, loud, and farting in the middle of the night. See the previous question and answer for part of the reason why!
By the way, women do not need the company of their friends on nearly so deep a level, so no need to reciprocate. The “girls’ night out” is largely an invention of wussy Hollywood types who don’t know how to handle women and does not, in fact, exist. Always remember, her self-actualization begins with serving you.
Dr. N. Delicate Stupe is a licensed marriage counselor. He frequently eats Cheerios for dinner and hasn’t had sex in 5 months.