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My Wife’s Deliberation

Lazy Husband

The stars aligned this weekend to allow my wife to take our oldest daughter and The Boy to a movie. What movie they saw, whether The Boy had to use the bathroom during the last five minutes of the movie like he usually does and whether the Junior Mints were frozen or not is irrelevant. The most interesting aspect of the movie occurred before the family even left the house.

Before going to the movie, my wife decided to purchase the tickets online so she could get reserved seating (if you live in an area with theatres that do not offer reserved seating, I weep for you). Easy right? You wish. My wife is wonderful at many, many things. However, making decisions, no matter how small, is not one of her strengths. Should they see the 3-D or 2-D version? The 4:00 or the 4:30 show? Sit on the third row with 3-D or tenth row with the 2-D show? It was a twenty minute conversation.

One of our favorite date night activities is to go out to dinner without the kids. There is nothing quite like enjoying a good meal that doesn’t involve ketchup, chicken nuggets and Sprite in a cup with a lid. Okay, I confess, even when we go without the kids, ketchup is still present. I can’t help that fact I married a “dipper.” After sitting down, we both open the menus and pour over the options. I know I’m getting something that doesn’t have chicken and my decision is made quickly. My date, however, doesn’t stop at the menu. She asks the waiter for recommendations and then frequently ignores the waiter, goes back to the menu, asks my opinion, changes her mind a couple hundred times, asks the waiter for alternatives and then she blurts out the last thing on her mind when the waiter comes for the order. The waiter leaves and then the buyer’s remorse sets in and she questions her meal choice until it arrives.

I tease her about her inability to make decisions. And I do so completely ignoring the fact that although slow with her decisions, she nails them 9 times out of 10.

I’m the exact opposite. I shoot from the hip and rarely hit my target. Actually, I rarely come within 10 feet of the target. It’s like I’m shooting blindfolded after spending three straight hours on the swings with my 20-month old daughter who is convinced that swings are the greatest thing since her mom. When it comes to family matters I clearly do not think things through as much as I should (i.e., the Chicken Dinner Lesson and the Vegas debacle previously described in this column).

I think the difference between our decision-making is closely tied to the fact that my wife stays home with three kids all day where she is constantly focused on the demands of the little ones. And it’s not just the kids she is worried about, it’s her parents, sisters, the in-laws, friends and the waiter. She hates to upset anyone and she’s doing a constant balancing act with each and every decision trying to determine which choice will please the ones she cares the most about. She does this because she is genuinely concerned about those around her. In contrast, I’m in an office with (mostly) adults all day where I’m focused on the demands of clients and myself. Two totally different worlds. I’m not afraid to admit that this situation has clearly helped me become one selfish man. 

But going back to the movie, I would have picked the 4:00 show in the second row in 2-D because it worked better with my schedule. It would have been fine for me, but my two kids would have permanent kinks in their necks, they would not have had the thrill of wearing 3-D glasses for two hours and The Boy certainly would have missed the ending of the movie (instead of the middle of the movie) to accommodate one of his frequent potty breaks. Additionally, the 4:00 movie I would have selected would have only given my wife a short, but well-deserved rest, while a 4:30 movie would have given her a long and well-deserved break because our youngest went down late for her nap. But my wife didn’t make those mistakes. She took her time, considered her options and wisely ignore the advice I tried to give her. 

She picked the perfect time to avoid missing the ending of the movie, had great seats and the kids enjoyed the 3-D glasses (probably more than the movie itself). And I benefited too. Our youngest took a nap that lasted almost the entire length of the movie and instead of using that time my wife so generously gave me to pull my weight around the house, I took a long, undeserved rest.

That’s how I roll and it is, admittedly, a bad weigh to roll. It’s like the annual Gloucestershire cheese roll (thank you, YouTube!) where grown men and women (but mostly stupid men) chase a rolling cheese wheel down a steep grassy hill.

Things go great for the first three or four yards and after that the participants take a hard fall and roll head over feet over head again and feet again at high speeds for a hundred yards frequently being carried off in stretchers. 

As a brief aside, I’m going to be honest with you here and tell you that the deliberate manner in which my wife makes decisions does not always work out. This process does not work with shopping and you will never convince me otherwise.  I prefer my method of dashing in knowing exactly what you need, finding it (trying things on is optional — that is why stores have return policies), paying for it and getting back to your car as quickly as possible. The whole process should take no longer than four and half minutes from the time you turn off the ignition to the time you turn the ignition back on. If you are fortunate and find exactly what you need and have finished in say two minutes, you may choose to stop for an Orange Julius, but that’s the only other stop you may make.

Back to the point. I love to tease my wife about this, but in the end it’s one of the little things about her that I really like. I like that she involves me in each of these decisions (although sometimes I think she involves me only so that she can blame me for that one time when things don’t work out). It also reminds me of what a considerate individual I married and I tell myself that I should be more like her (even though the likelihood of me changing for the better is slim to none). 

Looking back at our history together, none of this should have come as a surprise to me. It’s not like fretting over every decision is a new phenomenon for my dear wife. It took her three months to finally decide to go out with me for the first time (I’m as persistent as she is deliberate). Once we finally started dating, I knew within a month that I wanted to marry her. She came around but it took her about six months (I know, forever, right). This resulted in that rarest of occasion where slow and deliberate and quick and from-the-hip matched up perfectly. Well, at least I think it has worked out perfectly.

Note: Anonymous Husband will be vacationing with his family next week. If he returns, he promises great tales of adventure. Stay tuned.

Author: Anonymous Husband

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