In my marriage, I volunteered to do lots of things that I never did. Not in a timely fashion, at least.
HER: “We need to make an appointment with our tax guy.”
ME: “I’ll call him this week.”
HER: “One of our sprinkler heads is broken, and the grass in our front yard is turning brown.”
ME: “No problem. I’ll replace it this weekend.”
HER: “Can you help me upload the photos on my camera to the cloud? I can’t figure it out.”
ME: “Sure. Just leave your camera on my dresser and I’ll take care of it for you.”
If you’ve been married more than a month, you know what’s coming next.
Oh, it might not come for a week or two, but it’s coming.
“Did you call our tax guy?”
“Did you fix the sprinkler?”
“Can I have my camera back?”
Far too often, instead of owning it like a man, I stuttered and stammered my way into deeper
“Uhhh, let me think … tax guy … did I make that call? Hmmm. I remember I was going to. Oh
wait, that’s right, I was about to call him and set up our appointment when I got called into a
meeting. Crap! I’ll do it this week.”
“This week?! It should have been done months ago. Why didn’t you call him last week like you
said you would?! Aauuugh!”
“I didn’t have time.”
[Sound of my parachute not opening]
Here’s what “I didn’t have time” really means and what every frustrated woman hears in that
“I don’t really care that you lose sleep at night worrying about our taxes. I don’t really care that our front yard is ugly and embarrasses you. I don’t really care that you’re stressed out and fearful we might lose the family photos from our summer vacation. What matters to you doesn’t matter to me. You don’t matter to me. I have lots of priorities, but you’re not one of them. There are important people in my life, but you’re not one of them. You’re practically last in line!”
Instead, when you volunteer to do something, write it down. Schedule it. Prioritize it.
That’s always what this is about.
Better yet, anticipate her needs and take charge. From “Better Sex Guarantee #1” (Chapter 5 of
my book, Wife Magnet):
“Intimate and lasting marriages are forged when we anticipate the day-to-day needs of our
wives and spring into action before we’re asked.”
YOU: “I saw tax forms on your desk the other day, and I know how much you hate it when we
fall behind. I called our accountant this morning. Our appointment is next Tuesday at 4:00 PM.
Is there anything else we need for that meeting? Bank statements? W-2’s?”
YOU: “I keep meaning to fix that broken sprinkler head, but weekends have been so busy since
Little League started. It’s my only time with the boys. The good news is I found a handyman who
can do it this Saturday for only $50. I know you’re tired of our front yard looking so ugly.”
YOU: “You were having trouble uploading photos from your camera, right? I went ahead and
created a new Dropbox folder called ‘Summer Vacation 2017’ and uploaded all those great
pictures you took. I also changed the settings on your camera, so whenever you connect it to
your laptop, any new photos will upload automatically to the cloud. You’ll never have to worry
about losing photos ever again! I tested it and it works great. I can show you right now if you
have a minute.”
I’m guessing, but you might need more than a minute. Especially if her laptop is in the bedroom.
Trust me, you’ll learn to LOVE these one-sided conversations.