Walking through Jackson Square last weekend, I did my best to talk my husband (whose birthday we were celebrating) into letting one of the nice ladies sitting under an umbrella near the makeshift jazz band tell his fortune.
He would have none of it.
I begged some more.
The answer was a firm no. He was the birthday boy, and I had to respect his wishes. I dropped it, and we kept walking.
I can’t say exactly why I wanted him to get his fortune read. Do I believe those fine folks sitting a proper distance from the wrought iron fence and each other have a special cosmic line to see something the rest of us don’t?
But there is this hope – a silly hope that maybe something said will prompt some piece of introspection that makes a difference.
Maybe that’s why I wanted my husband to get his fortune read. I wanted to witness him being introspective. I like those conversations. Yes, he has occasional flashes of noticing interesting things about himself and others, but there are times when he wears on my patience.
With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I’ve decided to give some advice. Men (speaking in general, of course – this has nothing to do with you, honey), here are a few tips:
(And, I should interject, if someone has handed you this piece of newsprint to read, you should really pay attention here.)
The ladies – no matter how long you’ve been together – love to hear the story about the time when you first met.
Bring it up one night at dinner. Say something like, “You know what I was thinking the other day? I was thinking about the first time I ever saw you. You were …” (at this point you fill in your own details).
I can’t explain why those conversations are so nice and affirming. Maybe in the re-telling, she’s looking for that one extra tidbit you’ve never mentioned or she’s never noticed. But chances are high, you’ll rake up major Brownie points when you indulge her with your thoughts along those lines. Women like to hear what you’re thinking – specifically when it’s something positive about them.
With my husband’s blessings, I’ll tell you that kind of expression doesn’t come naturally for him. Does he love me? Yes, I know he does. Does he love our kids? Yes, I know he does. And in that sense and many others, I realize my blessings. However, as mentioned previously, there have been moments in our marriage and relationship when I could string him up.
Case in point: One day about 10 years ago, I got what I considered to be a great new haircut and highlights. The change, to me, was radical.
My husband came home from work. I expected a “Wow.” He said nothing.
We ate dinner. He said nothing.
Our daughter was a baby. We fed her, bathed her and put her to bed. He still said nothing about my new ‘do.
By 10 p.m., even I had forgotten about my haircut – so dim was his response.
Then the news came on.
Finally, he and I are sitting on the sofa watching the news. I remember about my new ‘do and give it a little check. About that time, the television zooms in to the anchorwoman. My husband turns to me and says, “Look, she’s got a new hairdo.”
No. He was not talking about me in some weird third-person dramatic presentation.
My dear husband, sitting right there on sofa beside me, was talking about the news anchor.
He’s made a point to mention my haircuts in the years since.