My underlying fear, that under-the-surface-pops-his-head-up-every-once-in-awhile-to-throw-me-off fear is that I’m stupid. At least I’ve had this fear for the past fourteen years since being with my wife. Before that, I can’t remember if that was as much of a problem. Is that a sign of my stupidness? Is that even a word? Oh no, I must be stupid! What I do know is I have three Masters Degrees, which means I have been evaluated by many professionals, but it took being with my wife for her to point out the truth: I am an idiot. I thought I was doing pretty well and then one day I was in a committed relationship and… oh no, I’m one step above eating boogers! All I know is my wife will give me this look or use this tone that makes me feel like the biggest idiot in the world. Does my wife actually think I’m an idiot? Ummmmmm, hard to say. I believe in some ways she thinks I’m very smart and I even have moments where she thinks I’m wise. In many other ways, however, she wonders if I have the intelligence of a fattened, bite-sized fish, tanning on a dock full of hungry seagulls looking for a snack.
Please know, I’m not complaining about my wife… or am I? I’m not sure, but that’s to be expected when I’m such a dumb-dumb. Either way, I’m trying to point out a common problem in many marriages: The woman makes her husband feel like she thinks he’s an idiot… or she actually thinks her husband is an idiot; it can go either way. I’ve asked many guys about this and every one of them agreed that their partner has this ability to make them feel like the biggest idiot in the world and it only came out later in the relationship. It’s like women are taught how to do this. Maybe in elementary school when they say they’re separating the boys and girls to talk about sex-ed, they’re really just teaching the girls how to give this look and tone. I’m guessing the teaching is something like, “You know how a boy’s mom makes him feel loved and special as she always encourages him to see how good he is? Yeah, you’re going to want to do the total opposite. That’s how you have a healthy marriage.”
So why do women give this look and tone? She either thinks her man is, in fact, really dumb (there’s a good chance), she could be frustrated with him and the frustration is manifested as condescending (it’s possible), or the guy is completely misinterpreting the situation (not likely): (girl with tone) “I’m not being condescending, you moron. This is my tone that says I love you and want to be encouraging. Gosh! Stop being so stupid!” Whatever the fact, there is likely one or more of the following going on:
- The husband is in fact dumb.
- The husband’s perceived laziness is seen as dumbness.
- The husband’s standards are less than the woman’s, so she sees this as a sign of him not being as good as her.
- The wife is frustrated because her husband hides in the background thereby leaving her to run the household and to make the majority of the decisions like what’s for dinner.
- The wife is worn out trying to make everyone else happy, and now she doesn’t have the patience and kindness left to talk to her husband in a nice way.
- We tend to treat our partner the way we treat ourselves, which suggests she’s just as mean, if not meaner, to herself.
- She has a mean streak (whether she realizes it or not)
All of these options are possible. The reality is some guys are dumb. That being said, if a woman chose to be with a guy who’s dumb, she doesn’t really have the right to resent him for what he is, dumb. In regards to laziness, some guys can have a tendency to be lazy in long term relationships especially those who are tired from work. Relationships are a partnership, however, and we need to be doing our best to share the load. Of course, even if someone does the majority of the work, they don’t have a right to be condescending about it, but this issue does need to be addressed because nothing good comes out of one person being worn out. The third category is where I land (but I’m an idiot so I could be wrong). My wife has a very different standard than I do. There’s been numerous times I was told I was doing something wrong like folding the laundry, but just because I do something different doesn’t mean I’m an idiot. If there’s a more efficient way of doing something, great, I’m open to it. Making a simple job take longer because you think there’s a “right” way? No thanks; that seems counterproductive to me. Of course, for many women like my wife, there is a “right” way to do something (typically what they were taught) and they only accept that way being used even if another way leads to the same result. For instance, I will always argue that balling socks together is a terrible way to fold socks because it takes longer and makes them messy in a drawer. My apologies to ballers.
Perhaps you’re reading this and thinking you have a reverse situation as your husband makes you feel stupid. It is possible. I have met guys who are a princess… those are the guys I don’t ask if their wife has a tone because I’m not hanging out with them. I’m afraid they’ll use their tone on me.
This week may you consider if you have a look or tone that needs to be addressed and/or if it’s justified because there’s an imbalance of work sharing. It takes two people to make a relationship work and any frustrations are things that need to be addressed
*For the record, my wife and I addressed this awhile ago; I try to follow my own advice… I’m not that dumb .
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people