ACTUAL LETTER TO DEAR JON:
Why can't I make my wife more like me? If she just thought like I did, we would avoid so many discussions about why she didn't understand me and won't do things the way they should be done.
Are my ways that weird?
I need a lot more information before I can address anything specific, but there is plenty in your questions to get at some general issues and general advice.
All readers everywhere need to remember that I do NOT know who you are. I might guess sometimes, if for example my mother writes to me and mentions stuff from my childhood only she can know. But actual letters to Dear Jon are completely anonymous, so my hunches are based only on the content of the writing. My guess from what you wrote is that you are a classic Metrosexual.
A Metrosexual is a straight heterosexual male who exhibits some feminine tendencies to the point that some might suspect him of being gay. A Metrosexual is NOT a closet homosexual. A Metrosexual is as straight as can be, and might even be a playah (as a bachelor) since females enjoy the rare experience of a man who is a) well-groomed and b) a keen listener with c) an articulate sense of humor who, to the surprise of those women who are suspicious that only gay men are all of those three at the same time, is also d) romantically interested.
I get the idea from your letter that you like your underwear folded a certain way, and that you keep a neat kitchen. I have these hunches because of the way you begin and end of your letter. You seem to have confidence in the worthiness of your opinions; your wife should be "more like you" and learn from you to do things "the way they should be done." Most normal heterosexuals (i.e. "slobs") are a long way from having the confidence to give their wives coaching in anything, unless the issue in question is changing the oil filter. But then I have to ask, why are you trying to coach your wife as it concerns changing the car's oil? That only makes sense if you met on the NASCAR circuit as members of competing crews, in which case that is the kind of pertinent information you should include when you are asking for advice.
So I am proceeding on the "Metrosexual" hunch. You have confidence in your ability to coach your wife, but you are far from being gay or transgendered or confused about your own masculinity. This is communicated in the middle of your letter, in which you state the goal of billions of straight guys since the dawn of humanity: to "avoid so many discussions." This is indeed a lofty goal, thoroughly masculine in orientation, and one not easily attained in any relationship between male and female.
Now to get to the substance of your issue. Friend, being Metro does not guarantee a happy marriage, and you are a living example of why: Your Metrosexuality comes out in a nit-picking critique of your wife's execution of domestic tasks. Nit-pickiness regarding the chores is strictly the province of the female. By removing the exercise of this feminine trait from her province, you are depriving your wife of a vital part of her identity as a woman.
It is a little bit like the feeling of emasculation that a man feels when his wife comes home with a new miter saw and repairs the molding in the corner of the dining room all by herself. Most women know that they need to leave that project undone for a little while, say, about 6 months, to give ample time for the man to get to it. If she asks about it, and leaves it up to the man for only, say, three weeks, well, it's like using that new miter saw on the man himself.
That example is true generally. At my house my wife uses the miter saws and power tools, and I bake the peanut butter cookies, and I'm fine with that. If my wife begins to tell ME that I'm scooping in too much peanut butter, then I feel cut down. I hope you get my point.
And my point is your marriage is headed for the rocks based on your first question: "Why can't I make my wife more like me?" The question you SHOULD be asking is "Why can't I make my wife like me more?" Word order can change everything, including the definition of "like."
To desire your wife to be more like you, is to desire traits about her to become less female and more male. That might solve some problems, but believe me, the problems that creates will make your problems now look like trifles. For example, imagine TWO people in the house with the inability to multi-task. Now anytime she is mixing batter, she will have to stop mixing in order to answer the telephone. Why? Because YOU want her to be more like you, that is, more like a man. Few males, even Metros, have the ability to stir something with a spatula AND talk into the phone at the same time. Your wife, now becoming more like you, would put down the bowl, talk into the phone, be absorbed in that conversation, hang up the phone, and then walk into the living room to turn on the baseball game. During the commercial break she would remember that she had some kind of project going in the kitchen, and go to check on the progress. Of course there has been no progress, because she had stopped stirring the batter fifteen minutes earlier. Now she stares into the mixing bowl, trying to remember if she had added the baking soda or not.
This is why I never answer the phone when I'm doing my baking, and that is what you get if you want your wife to be more like you.
Instead, what will it take to get your wife to like you more? This is where your Metro tendency can be used to your advantage. She already likes that you fold your underwear and that you are finicky about keeping a neat kitchen. So, DO those things, and shut up. Do not require her to fold her underwear a certain way, and do not criticize her when you see it done differently. You want to avoid those discussions, remember? If you just keep on being Metro about your neatness around the home and your personal hygiene, and shut up about the way she does her part of the chores, two things will happen: She will like you more, AND you will "avoid so many discussions."
As a man you are in the enviable position, if you play your hand just right, of being able to find MORE love in your marriage by talking less.
Are your ways too weird? No. You're Metro, not weird. Just don't be a nit-picky jerk about doing things your way.
P.S. Dear Readers, I could be completely wrong about this guy. It may be that he is no Metro at all, and that he is trying to enshrine slobbiness in his marriage by coaching his wife as follows: "Don't make the bed since we're just going to sleep in it again tonight" and "I don't like to use hampers; I keep an inventory of what clothes need washing by scanning the floor." If THAT is true, then he would be beyond the normal heterosexual male who appreciates tidiness and is merely incompetent; this guy would be bona fide "weird" by any measure of weirdness.
|PO BOOKS BY DEAR JON
Dear Jon Letters: Tips for Dating and Mating
Published July 21, 2008
Our advice humorist turns his attention and trademark wit to affairs of the heart in his first and very affordable book (only $8.95!).
Teachings of a Three Year Old... Turned Tyke,
by Hal Evan Caplan.
A father learns from the wisdom of his toddler.