Riddles of Marriage: “Only if I Say it”

only if i say itThere are rare moments in a married man’s life when his wife turns to him for advice. The man, baffled by this sudden appreciation of his existence, presents the wife with what he believes to be the most optimal decision, only to have his wisdom mocked at, and his suggestion ridiculed. However, moments later, the wife has an epiphany of the exact same solution and goes ahead with the decision to solve the issue. The husband is left in a state of confusion, not realizing that he has been a victim of only-if-i-say-it syndrome.

In this very common syndrome, wives, when they solicit advice for any problem are only looking for an answer that they can copy-paste as their own. Only then, will she feel the true satisfaction of solving the issue at hand. Besides, listening to husband’s advice is like agreeing with him, and this puts the wife under some sort of moral debt that she fears of being reminded some time in the future.

The mind of the husband, on the other hand, is not complicated enough to comprehend this plot along with all its causes, effects, ifs and buts. He simply hears his wife asking a question and, being a good husband, he answers with a possible solution. Upon rejection of one suggestion, the husband starts to analyze other possible answers. Meanwhile, the wife is trying to rephrase what she just heard and present it as the final decision. Clearly, men are lost when it comes to what women want, think, require and expect.

Riddles of Marriage: “Selective Perception”

selective perceptionWhile handing today’s paper to my wife I said; ‘there were four bomb blasts today, 80 people were killed and 30 were injured. A plane crashed in the mountains and all 150 passengers onboard have died. Three children drowned in the river, tremors of earthquake were felt in our city, and our government is about to enter yet another period of martial law.’ What is the first thing she says while glancing at the paper? ‘Oh Look!, Mothercare has a sale today!’ Welcome to another episode of selective perception.

It is no secret that we see what we choose to see. How many times has it happened that an item keeps lying around uselessly in front of your eyes for eons but as soon as you need it, it magically disappears? And how many times has it happened that you drive your wife all the way across the city to her favorite shop that just happens to be closed today for no obvious reason. (Hint: It happens, and its your fault because, why the heck are they closed today?) And how many times did you proclaim your love for your wife but if you unconsciously sneezed towards the direction of a girl, who happens to be passing on the other side of the street (in complete Abaya), that you are questioned regarding your loyalty & love?

I was a victim of selective perception (& generalized criticism) in the pre-marriage days as well. Back then; it was my father who always happened to enter my room when I was playing video games after hours and hours of studies. He always used to say the same thing; ‘Playing huh!? How will you handle the real life when it hits you in the head?’ Well father, I guess those scolding sessions provided me with the juice to run this marathon of post-marital-selective-perception-syndrome-crisis.

Riddles of Marriage: “The Five Stages of Praise”

Riddles of Marriage: "The five Stages of Praise"Out of sheer dumb luck (or perhaps repeated offense) I have stumbled upon five instances where I almost know the right timings to praise my wife. These findings are based on the undeniable fact that all women love, or have intense inclination towards, buying, wearing, watching, touching, showing off, and gossiping about clothes. Those women, who deny these facts are, (a) either single or, (b) have yet to sail on their self-discovery adventure.

For the benefit of the layman (husband) here’s a little when-to-Praise-your-wife guide. For maximum effectiveness, when you are praising your wife, try to cover as much ground as possible. In other words, don’t just praise one aspect of her existence, but instead praise her looks, lineage, wisdom, and other valuable traits that may or may not exist in her.

  1. The first stage when you should definitely, without fail, praise your wife is when she shortlists or selects a cloth/dress that she is willing to buy. At that time, you are supposed to praise her choice, appreciate her judgment, and then quickly buy her what she chose (even if her choice is comparable to sticking needles in the eyes).
  2. The next occasion is when that cloth/dress comes back from the tailor after any necessary alterations, or additions of pomp and glamour. Most wives would again show you the, now fully-ready, dress expecting you to say a few words regarding the item under spotlight.
  3. The third stage is the most critical. This is when the wife actually wears the dress to show to her husband for the first time in private. Go all out with praises on this occasion and use romantic adjectives like exquisite, lovely and honey-bun.
  4. The fourth stage of praise is when that dress is worn in public for the first time. As always, praise your brains out and tell her how fortunate you are for having such a fine and dandy wife. Praise her judgment, her choices, and tell her that her parents did such a fine job bringing her up. Again, no praise is beyond the limits for this stage.
  5. The last stage is a little tricky. This is when the wife wears the same dress second, third, or any number of times after the dress’s first public appearance. Some wives would get offended when you praise them in this stage because they have already worn this same dress earlier, and praising them again is like saying, you don’t remember them wearing this dress (which, by the way, is a major sin). Other wives would still love to hear how adorable they look even if they wear the same dress any number of times. So, this stage would require testing the waters while trying to stay afloat the very fragile praise boat of life.

Riddles of Marriage: “The Pendulum Effect”

Riddles of Marriage: "The Pendulum Effect"As soon as our women get married, they are divinely endowed with the gift of wisdom and determination. This is a great blessing on our nation because as soon as our men get married, they are suddenly deprived of both. Hence, their dependence upon their wives becomes unprecedented, and unquestionable.

After marriage I realized that wisdom has a mysterious side and that determination is another word for patience-till-your-brain-bleeds. In this newly discovered wisdom it is easy, and actually preferred, to take completing opposing decisions after unspecified time intervals for no apparent reason at all. Could you pass me the glass. No! don’t pass me the glass. Why didn’t you pass me the glass? Cancel your meeting. No! don’t cancel the meeting. Why haven’t you canceled your meeting? Take me out to dinner tonight. I don’t want to go to dinner tonight! Can’t we go out to eat dinner tonight?

Of course the secret of our successful marriages lie within our blind obedience to our wives. And of course I realize the blessing of taking away my wisdom and determination at marriage, how else would I ever have been able to handle such situations.

Riddles of Marriage: “Innately Evil”

Riddles of Marriage: "Innately Evil"Did you know I am the cause of all ill that happens between the east and the west? If not, then don’t be surprised, up until marriage I didn’t know this myself. It was only my wife who made me realize and accept this truth. She also made me realize that I will not be able to change this fact as it was in my nature, and that all the bad manners were passed on to the children through me, exclusively.

Like yesterday, I called my son an idiot because he was opening the door of a running car again and again. According to my wife, I was ruining the future of our children. I, on the other hand, believed that growing up in this country he is going to need a certain type of vocabulary to define a very specific kind of people. Nevertheless, I admitted my mistake and apologized. Later that night, my wife asked me to prepare our son’s bed. While complying with her request, I heard her call our son an idiot. Surprised, I confronted her. She, then, made me realize that it was actually my fault. The only reason she became angry was because I put the bed sheet in the wrong direction. Unfortunately, that anger was channeled into calling our son an idiot when he spilled a glass of water. Clearly, it was my mistake and I apologized.

Thinking of my pre-marriage days I see a huge contrast in my life. I used to live by, what is now a, strange notion that good and bad exists in all people. I used to strive to make myself a better person. My wife has corrected my misunderstanding and protected me from wasting any more time on my self-development. Now, I believe that good exists in all people but evil resides innately and almost exclusively in me. I just hope that my children get their influence from their mother, as there is no hope of salvation for their poor father.