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Yesterday I talked about Selective Vision:

  • The unique ability of men to “not clutter their brains with unnecessary information”
  • The male ability to literally choose to not see things around them, that they deem unimportant.

 

Well today, I’d like to address an even worse affliction… Selective Listening.

 

Yes, we’ve all been there.  We talk to our spouse, perhaps just one word, maybe one comment, perhaps 3 or 4 sentences and then we stop.   Anxiously awaiting acknowledgement, a response, an answer, a sign of life…. AND….. SILENCE

 

 

“Honey” I say politely

No response….

“Babe?” I try again

Silence

“Honey” slightly louder

Still nothing

“HONEY” even louder still

Am I talking to myself???

“ROD!”

Finally… “huh?”

“I’ve been trying to talk to you for like 2 minutes.”

“Oh, I didn’t hear you”

“Well, I tried to get your attention like 5 times”

“Yeah, well, what do you want?”

“Can you carry this downstairs, it’s kind of heavy?”

“Yeah sure”

 

I got his attention… HOORAY!!

The wheels are in motion (so I think)….

Then there he goes… right back to watching tv.

 

This is the moment of realization for me… that I really didn’t have his attention at all.  Even after he stopped, looked at me, and formed responsive words…. He really wasn’t LISTENING.  But, I’m a reasonable gal, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

 

I go about my day

Heavy item is still sitting there

We have dinner

Heavy item is still sitting there

We snuggle up to watch tv

Heavy item is still sitting there

I mention to him, in my most loving voice…. “honey, don’t forget to carry that downstairs”

“I won’t”

We go to bed

Heavy item is still sitting there

 

The next day comes……

He goes to work…….

I stare at the heavy item….

I sigh…..

 

 

Hubby comes home from work, STEPS OVER heavy item in the middle of the kitchen (I’ve shuffled it over to a can’t miss location). He employs “Selective Vision” and goes to get a snack.

I watch, wide eyed.

 

“Honey, do you think you can carry that downstairs?”

“I just got home from work”

“I know, but I can’t do it myself”

“I told you I’d do it”

“ok”

 

We have dinner

Heavy item is still sitting there

We sit down to watch tv

Heavy item is still sitting there

 

“Honey, I know it’s late but do you think you can carry that down tonight?”

“You just don’t ever want to let me relax, do you?”

“That’s not it, I just don’t want to have to walk around it all day tomorrow”

“FINE.. ”  he gets up grumbling…. “and, you don’t think you’re a nag”

 

Once again, I have to ask…. If men admittedly don’t remember to do stuff, but when we remind them about anything, it’s nagging……. what’s the right way to communicate with a man??

I have yet to uncover the mystery solution…

 

Maybe it’s not even a true issue of communication.  Maybe, just maybe, it’s a topic that I haven’t even addressed in this entry.  Perhaps it’s the concept of “timelines & scheduling”.  It could be that, where we are misaligned, is actually the simple fact that my project completion timeline did not match up with hubby’s for this given task (but that’s a blog topic for a completely different day!!)

 

The one good thing is, that I’ve learned to recognize “Selective Listening”.  At least this way, I can properly set my expectations.  I’ll admit, I haven’t mastered controlling my response to his actions but at least I’m no longer surprised when the heavy item sits, in the middle of my kitchen, for days!

 

 

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Hubby has, what I like to call, Selective Vision.

 

No.. there’s not anything wrong with his eyesight. As a matter of fact, it could be argued that he has a highly trained eye.  Highly trained to only see that which is important to him.

 

Honestly, I’ve never really understood Selective Vision.

 

As a woman, we take in everything around us. Perhaps this is an innate trait given to us to be able to “have eyes in the back of our heads” for when we have children.  Or…. perhaps, it’s a trait developed over the years, and fine tuned to be able to compensate for male Selective Vision.

Either way, I’m always shocked at how truly oblivious hubby is.  If it doesn’t pertain to his immediate task, or if it’s not relevant to any activity of interest to him.. he truly does not see it. 

Last year we were shopping for tile for our bathroom.  And, we were discussing local shopping options.

 

Me: “well, there’s the place near McDonalds, the place in Middletown, the place with the blue awning around the corner, and hmmmm.. what’s that place by the grocery store”

Hubby: “huh?”

Me:  “you know, the place to the right of that big building where we buy our groceries..”

Hubby: “I have no idea what you’re talking about”

Me: “what do you mean.. we go there all the time?”

Hubby: “no, we go to the supermarket all the time.. not some tile place”

Me: “yeah, but it’s in the same shopping plaza”

Hubby: “I have no idea, I don’t pay attention to stuff like that”

Me: “you’ve lived in this area for 34 years…. And you’ve never noticed where there are tile stores??”

Hubby:  “I’ve never shopped for tile”

 

You get the picture… 

 

Tile has never been on hubby’s radar and so therefore taking in details of his surroundings has obviously never been important.  I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to absorb any valuable information, as you’re driving mindlessly down the road, for possible future use.  But, apparently hubby feels differently.

 

There have been many other examples over the years. 

  • Hubby steps OVER the laundry on the basement stairs to go play video games… He didn’t see it there
  • Hubby walks in and out, of our front door EVERY day but didn’t see the huge overgrown weed coming through our walkway
  • Hubby opens the new blinds I put on the window, but when I ask if he likes them, he says… “hmmm…they’re new?”
  • Hubby plays a full day with our nephew and when I say later… “did you see that he lost his first tooth”… Hubby says… “he did?”

 

Needless to say…

  • Hubby knows when a new video game store is opening (long before I do)
  • He knows within seconds if the Giants have made a trade
  • He knows if I’ve touched the remotes in his Man Cave 
  • He knows that Bob across the street was just delivered a new HD TV (and we don’t even talk to Bob)

 

So, I know he has the ABILITY to see small details, and to notice things around him. It seems that he’s just decided that any extraneous information may clutter his brain.  Apparently his life is far easier if he relies on me as his source of detailed information.  This way, he can ask about things he’s interested in and he can ignore EVERYTHING else.

 

The biggest challenge with this strategy is this….

 

If you admittedly don’t see things around you and, therefore, I need to bring stuff to your attention for you to see it….  You cannot call it nagging!

I’m just providing you with information that you were not otherwise taking in (you should probably thank me!)…  

 

If  A (hubby) + B (information) = C (knowledge)

And C (knowledge) does not = D (nagging)

Then A (hubby) + B (information) cannot = D (nagging)

 

So, as you can see, there really are flaws in his logic… And, I have conclusively demonstrated that there is no way I am a nag!

 

 

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Oh. My. God.

I made a mistake today….. I opened a drawer…… I wish that I hadn’t.

 

This drawer was in hubby’s nightstand. A place I never, ever go. A place for hubby’s “nightstand stuff”

But, apparently, it’s a place that hubby never goes either.

 

So you have full appreciation for this story… I must share some photos.

The drawer in it's orignal condition

Stage 1: The drawer in it's orignal condition

If you read my Random Marriage Truths you know that one of them says that clean is not always clean.

And, I have to admit that today is a testimony to this statement.

 

Even with the appearance of clean, it may not necessarily be clean at all…

 

So, although I’m scared.. I begin to explore.  I start by removing “big items”, books & old magazines… and here’s what I’m left with.

Stage 2:  All magazines have been removed

Stage 2: All magazines have been removed

 

As you can see, hubby’s “surface sweeping” method of cleaning, while it does indeed clear a surface, does not by my definition mean clean.

 

Here’s a catalog of items I uncovered in this drawer (it’s not 100% inclusive but it will give you a great overview)!

  • 14 old magazines (4 different types)drawer 007
  • 3 lighters (hubby doesn’t smoke?)
  • $28.42 (most of this was in change)
  • 2 keys (God only knows what these open)
  • 1 pair of glasses
  • 3 books
  • 1 battery
  • 1 certified copy of his birth certificate (???????)drawer 004
  • 5 empty bottles of Afrin nasal spray (hubby has a SICK addiction to this stuff)
  • 1 piece of candy
  • 1 hotel bill from a vacation we took in July 2007
  • 15 old birthday/holiday cards
  • 1 GraBit screw and broken bolt extractor (who doesn’t need this next to the bed for drawer 009emergencies??)
  • Gold Bond itch cream

 

  • And… more crumbled receipts, tissues and other crap, than I care to detail 

 

 

Well, there you have it. 

Beware of the male “clean”.  I think they truly believe that if it can’t be seen then it’s really not there.  I have no idea when hubby last cleaned out this drawer (perhaps he never has?).  But I do know that every single time I asked him to “clean off” his nightstand, the stuff on top did indeed disappear.

So ladies, my words of advice to you:

  1. Be careful what you ask for…
  2. Be careful how you ask…
  3. Always understand that “clean may not always be clean”
  4. If you are ever in bed and you need $.45, some itch cream, or you’re just wondering what you spent at home depot in 2007… just roll over and ask hubby to fish out what you need from the stash of important stuff in his nightstand!

And, my last words of wisdom:  If there’s a drawer in your house that you haven’t opened for a while….  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

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I had a male moment last night…. And, hubby was all too happy to point it out to me.

Of course, he didn’t refer to it as a “male moment” but nevertheless, that’s how I would categorize it! 

 

Let me set the stage for you….

 

How often have you gone to get some ice cream, cookies, milk, toilet paper (fill in your own items) only to find that there is all but nothing left for you?

Maybe there’s a scoop of ice cream, a dribble of milk, or quite possibly 2 squares of TP in the bathroom?  Sometimes it’s simply because hubby didn’t go to the pantry to move the spare rolls, or it might be because he didn’t put it on the shopping list so you knew to go buy more.

Either way, he’s been thoughtful enough, to ensure that he saved some for you.   It’s his way of showing his love… he consciously decided to not eat the last cookie and to not fully empty the TP roll because he loves you and wants to illustrate he’s good at sharing. 

 

I truly appreciate this demonstration of his love… I really do. 

 

But, what I’d appreciate more is attention to detail, which seems to be a challenge for many men.  Look, we all have our “brain fart” moments.  Where we overlook obvious things, forget silly stuff, and maybe even opt for laziness at any given moment.  I’m the first one to admit, now that I’m unemployed, that I have Mush Brain, and have seemingly lost some of my mental acuity. 

Which brings me back to last night….

We regularly keep a 12 pack of soda in our fridge .. one of those card board dispensing “fridge packs”.  So, we are about to have dinner and I grab myself a can of soda and sit down to eat.

 

Hubby goes to the fridge and opens it up to get himself a drink

 

 

Hubby:  looking into the fridge “you do know what you did, don’t you?”

Me:  “no, what?”

Hubby:  pulling out an EMPTY cardboard fridge pack (no comment was necessary as I can now see how stupid I am)

Me: “I didn’t… did I?”

Hubby:  “yes, I do believe you did”

Me: “oh man, I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s wrong with me”

Hubby: “it’s fine, but I just needed you to SEE that YOU did this”

Me: “I’m sorry, I know… I complain about you being oblivious all the time and, I just did it myself”

Hubby: “I don’t need to say anything, but I just wanted you to see this”

Me: “I know, I’m stupid.  I told you I have mush brain lately.  And yes, you are welcome to bring this up next time I complain that you’ve done something brainless”

Hubby: “no, problem honey.. I’m not saying one word about this.. but you did see it right?

Me:  “yes, honey… I see it”

Hubby:  “love you”

Me: “love you too”

 

There you have it.  A replay of my complaining coming right back to bite me in the ass. 

So, honey.. right here in front of all these online people.. I’m sorry, I guess occasionally I do stupid stuff too.

 

But before I wrap up, one quick question…. Why is there only 1 Mallomar left in the box?

I know, I know… it’s cause you love me.

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In my esteemed opinion (and since it’s my blog, I think I’ll call myself an authority) there’s a huge myth that exists about marriage. 

 

Marriage Myth #1:  By joining your lives in marital bliss…

Two Becomes One.

 

The assumption that when you merge your life with someone else’s, you blend together all of your emotions, thoughts, needs and desires is quite ludicrous, in my opinion.

Let’s take hubby & me.

 

Emotions

Hubby feels that Sundays should be a day of rest & football games
I feel that broken cabinets should be fixed before there’s rest & football on Sundays

 

Thoughts

Hubby thinks that everyone driving on the road in close proximity to him is a stupid moron
I think that hubby can be a bit intolerant and mean to all those stupid morons

 

Needs

Hubby needs a beer & a great video game session to make him happy
I need a glass of wine & a clean bathroom to make me happy

 

Desires

Hubby desires a 70” HD LCD TV
I desire beautiful, granite counter tops in the kitchen

 

As you can see, hubby and I can be quite divergent on all those things that should have been merged by marriage, into a singular life of togetherness.

While togetherness and a joint approach to things is important, there’s a lot to be said about independence in a marriage.  Maintaining a sense of who YOU are, is just as important as developing a shared approach to married life.  And, giving each other the freedom to pursue independent interests, or to simply enjoy personal time, can be invaluable.

So, that of course brings me to my personal theory about marriage.

 

When you share your life with someone through marriage…

Two Becomes Too.

 

This allows you to continue to have your own emotions, thoughts and wants but offers you the opportunity to have someone join you as you both walk forward side by side.

You will of course need to ensure that you do share some commonalities with the “Big Ticket Relationship Items”.

Things like:

  • Politics
  • Religion
  • Finances
  • Who gets which side of the bed
  • Who holds the remote
  • And.. the ever-so-important, Which beer do you keep on tap 

And, even if you disagree on some of these, you can still maintain a healthy respect for your spouse’s opinions and learn to compromise.   Sometimes it’s necessary to just simply agree to disagree. (and trust me… this is a necessary tool for any successful marriage!!) 

And, when all else fails, you can agree to rotate between light, amber beers, and dark, hoppy beers each time you get a new keg.

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I have heard it said that…. Behind every great man is a great woman.   

I’ve also heard the argument that this phrase better reads…. Beside every great man is a great woman.

 

Personally, I say potatoes, potatoes… (wait,  that doesn’t work so well if it’s not actually spoken…)

Let’s try it again.   I say pō- tā- tōs,  puhtah– tōs .  

 

Why?  Because I am not a feminist and I have no interest in debating the semantics of standing behind or beside your man.  On any given day, I’m sure I do both.

Anyhow, whichever statement you prefer, I think there is true wisdom in this concept.  Not because I feel that men need women to be great, but because I do believe that great men are oftentimes better men because of a woman.

I think the truth in this phrase lies in the underlying stages of relationship development.  Case in point my hubby.

 

When I met hubby, he was living, quite happily, in a “Bubble”

  • He hung out in the same bar, with the same 2 buddies every night.
  • He chose between 3 food items and never strayed from this diet
  • His wardrobe rotation included 2 solitary pairs of jeans (one pair was black.. ewwwww!)
  • He wore white socks with his black sneakers. 
  • He claimed to “not eat seafood” (although he had never tried most of it)
  • He barely knew the difference between a hammer & a screwdriver

Oh my, what a project he was for the right woman!

 

I say project, because as a young man, he hadn’t learned that he could do more and be more. He didn’t realize he was selling himself short. 

 

And, this is the crux of my earlier statement.  That great men are great because they have the gentle nudging, never settling, always look better, always be better, love of a woman.

 

There’s nothing like knowing someone is always behind you (or beside you) to try new things and to improve upon yourself.    And, in case you’re wondering… these improvements didn’t just come in the form of more stylish attire (although that was icing on the cake!).  I mean who knew that when introduced to new things, hubby would become a sushi fanatic, discover he actually likes pickles, gladly own 6 pairs of shoes and even successfully tackle home renovation. 

 

We often joke that when I came into his life I completely “burst his bubble”….   

 

My position: I opened up his sheltered, boring world to new opportunities and options.

His position: Ignorance was bliss.

 

Who wins this argument??  Well let’s just say, we’re having salmon for dinner tonight.

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