Yes, I take my husband for granted. What do you want anyways? A standing ovation every day?

5 Mar

ovation

I have a friend, whom I love very much, that I haven’t seen much of lately, mostly because she doesn’t really like my husband, and that makes being friends a little difficult. NurseRatchet is fun and witty and super intelligent and just generally a great person to hang out with, but she misunderstands my relationship with Mr. JB and that often leads to tension.

You see, Ratchet was a woman of stunning beauty when she was younger. She still is a very fine looking woman, but in her youth, oh wow. She looked eerily like this:

christie

And she had a great deal of attention from men as a result. She turned down two marriage proposals, one from a cardiologist and one from an airline pilot, thinking that the glory days would never end.

But they did.

She ended up married to a man who has a bit of a spotty employment history, had two children in quick succession and now finds that she must work fulltime to have any sort of decent standard of living. Ratchet bitterly regrets casting away the doctor and the pilot, and she hates working. She envies my life and I suppose that is the basis of our friendship. Ratchet understands completely what a wonderful luxury it is to be at home, dependent on a man, and wishes she could have the life I have.

She absolutely sees what I do as work, but that is where our perspectives diverge. Ratchet thinks that Mr. JB does not show enough appreciation for the things I do – that my work goes unnoted. Her own marriage is a little more, egalitarian, shall we say, in terms of how domestic labor gets done, although she generally ends up doing more than Mr.Ratchet, and that makes her unhappy and angry and she feels “taken for granted”.

cleaning

That feeling is one that women seem to complain about much more frequently than men, and it can have a very devastating impact on marriage.

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Danger-of-Taking-Your-Marriage-for-Granted&id=349561

What does it mean to be “taken for granted”? Essentially, it means that the work and effort you put into your relationship and life together is not acknowledged with either verbal or romantic gestures, and that communication about your daily lives has broken down, and by that definition, yes, Ratchet is correct: I am absolutely taken for granted.

I am also smart enough to see that the traffic on that street goes both ways. No, Mr. JB doesn’t thank me after every meal, and he doesn’t stand around applauding when I fold the laundry or unload the dishwasher. Guess what? I don’t thank him for going to work every day or for paying the bills, and quite frankly, I really don’t know what he does at work all day, nor do I particularly give a fuck. I have a general sense of what his job his, but the details, to me, are mind-numbing and I don’t want to hear about them.

Sometimes Mr. JB will try to explain some technical aspect of his job to me and I will slowly slump down to the middle of the kitchen floor, pretending that I am in a coma. That kind of irritates him, but I think it’s hilarious. Like he wants to hear about all the issues I had clarifying with the spice store that Cimarron is actually a type of oregano and I NEED it to make barbacoa properly?

floor

Nope. He doesn’t give a shit what spices I use, just as long as it tastes good.

Honestly, it’s kind of hard for me to imagine what our relationship would look like if we were constantly communicating with each other about what we do all day and if we had to stop and acknowledge each other for every little contribution. Jesus, that would be a full time job, not to mention the fact that I DON’T CARE what he does all day, nor does he care what I do all day. At the end of the day, he wants to come home to a warm, friendly, reasonably clean house and something fabulous to eat, and I want to hand him the bills and never give them another thought.

We absolutely take each other for granted.

I think that when Ratchet looks at our relationship, she completely forgets what Mr. JB contributes: all the money to pay for our life. Because she imagines herself in my role, she only sees the work that I do, and she notices that it doesn’t get acknowledged very often, ignoring the fact that I don’t acknowledge what Mr. JB does very often either. I mean, not explicitly. My whole life is an appreciation for him, as is his for me. That just seems….self-evident.

princess

The Sparkly Princess Cupcake narrative is looking more and more to me like the single most destructive cultural story out there. I find it interesting that while we have all the Disney movies in our house, they have never been the favorites for any of my children. My kids have always preferred the teamwork stories. The go-to videos feature a group of people working together to solve problems: Bob the Builder, Power Rangers, The Wiggles, Thomas the Tank Engine, Go Diego Go – they’re all about a team pulling together. And that’s not because I’ve imposed it, or even given it much thought. Those are just the stories my children are drawn to, likely because they are a reflection of how their own lives work.

bob

I think a great deal of women’s unhappiness stems from the notion that they should be the star of their own show. No matter what it is they actually do, the spotlight should always be on them. And the applause must be deafening! Adulation! Glory! Me! Me! Me!

spotlight

Not only is that a completely ridiculous way to live, it wouldn’t even be fun! Let’s say I took Ratchet’s advice to heart and gave Mr.JB the “we need to talk” look. I know my husband well enough to know exactly how he would respond. He would listen to me complain that he doesn’t say thank you enough and he doesn’t acknowledge me enough, and he needs to notice all the work I do in an explicit way (flowers!) and he needs to spend more time thinking about me and he would be having the following conversation with himself:

Oh fuck, here we go. Is this worth it? Do I really want to listen to this shit for the next twenty years? Is this worth fighting over? Should I tell her to go fuck herself and point out that she doesn’t exactly do cartwheels every time she turns on the tap and there’s hot water?

And he would reach the following conclusion:

Nope. Not worth it.

Then he would create a list of all the things I do every day, set up calendar alerts on his phone, write some sort of algorithm so that the alerts appear to be random, and text me little notes of acknowledgement when his phone reminds him to do so.

None of that would be because he truly, genuinely, deeply appreciates all those things. It would be because he doesn’t want to put up with any bitchy sulkiness and the whole thing would just be one giant pain in the ass. Maybe it’s just me, but my goal in life is not to be a whiny toddler my husband has to placate over and over again.

You see, Mr. JB DOES show his appreciation when he is truly moved to do so.

Remember this:

http://judgybitch.com/2012/12/17/how-much-bread-can-a-bread-bowl-make-youd-be-surprised/

For those who don’t care to click through, the summary is that I pulled off a magnificent dinner party for 38 of Mr. JB’s colleagues and the senior administration including the President of the organization Mr. JB works for. It was a stunning, resounding success.

bread-bowl

We got home from that party, and Mr.JB was absolutely overcome with gratitude and love and pride and he decided to show it. You should know that I am 5’6 and 130 lbs and Mr. JB is 6’2 and 200 lbs – so he’s quite a bit bigger than me.

He picked me up off my feet and gave me one of his Big Bear Hugs and ….

Oops!

A little too much gratitude.

He broke my rib.

rib

No seriously. He really did. He was, and is, completely wretched about it. It was a one in a million thing. And I recently had a bone density scan! Bones like concrete!

Snap!

It really hurt, too. Took almost 6 weeks to heal! And of course, it took about two seconds for all the gallows humor to come out in our friends. I got lots of fridge magnets and flyers for domestic abuse hotlines, and lots of comments about how I should probably listen next time, blah blah blah.

magnet

And, as always, there is a silver lining in that cloud. Who thinks I played the “oh my poor broken rib!” card to win every little spat we had for months on end?

Of course I did! I used it yesterday, as a matter of fact. Mr.JB takes out the garbage in our house, and yesterday, he took care of that yucky little task on his way out the door to a meeting, but he FORGOT TO PUT A NEW BAG IN! So I texted him at work about it, knowing that when he is in a meeting, his phone will only go off if he gets a message or phone call from me.

text

You forgot to put the bag in the garbage can. Can you please come home and do it?

That irritates the hell out of him, and yes, this really is the kind of petty shit we argue about. When he got home he started to lecture me about abusing the fact that he never sets his phone to silent and always takes messages and calls from me no matter what, so naturally I responded by saying

What are you going to do? Break my other ribs?

Boom! Score one for JB! I win!

win

I never told Ratchet about the whole broken rib thing, because I really don’t think she would understand at all. It was an accident, and one that Mr. JB feels terrible about. In all fairness to Ratchet, she would feel that she was protecting me by taking sides against Mr. JB, but that is because she so deeply believes in the Princess story. She truly believes that women should be pampered and catered to and acknowledged and applauded and obviously, never, ever have their ribs snapped.

But that isn’t how life works. Accidents happen. Dealing with them with humor and fun and lightheatedness and genuine forgiveness and understanding leads to a much happier life. I go through life taking for granted that all the irritation and annoyance and frustration that comes along is secondary to the bigger picture.

I take a lot of my life for granted. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It certainly helps me to understand that I am taken for granted in return, and that isn’t a problem that needs to be solved! It’s the basis for security and happiness and contentment. I take for granted that the members of Team JB are all working together, and I trust them to take for granted that I am, and always will be, pulling right beside them.

team

I don’t need daily acknowledgement of all the work I do. And I wouldn’t like having to live with somehow who wanted a constant stream of approval and back-patting. Gratitude, when genuine, is always appreciated and always nice, but it doesn’t have to be frequent.

I only have so many ribs!

Lots of love,

JB

29 Responses to “Yes, I take my husband for granted. What do you want anyways? A standing ovation every day?”

  1. insideawomansmind March 5, 2013 at 15:44 #

    You’re a genious. First time commenter too, cause you scare me a little. But this time I had to comment! :)

  2. mikebuchanan1957 March 5, 2013 at 15:55 #

    Brilliant. Mr JB is a very lucky man. Had my ex-two wives been anything like you then maybe – just maybe – I wouldn’t have written this:

    Only joking. I’m REALLY unsuited to marriage and had to write a book to discover why.

    Mike Buchanan

    JUSTICE FOR MEN & BOYS
    (and the women who love them)

    http://j4mb.wordpress.com

  3. Alex March 5, 2013 at 16:05 #

    even concrete breaks like dry twigs if you hit it in the right spot. maybe you should show this to Ratchet, might help her understand that the Princess story embodies that one-in-a-billion chance of having something like that happen. it’s why i find the better ones that follow that path are ones that feature the princess-to-be (or whichever place she is taking) going out to help save her Charming from a dungeon or something. shows how difficult it can be to love someone and that just waiting around isn’t going to do much this side of damn shit. examples: shrek, tangled, princess and the frog (i think, hven’t seen it), etc. if you do show it to her, might wanna make the fact that your rib breaking was an accident a big part. some people just don’t know how to react to things anymore.

  4. Erudite Knight March 5, 2013 at 16:19 #

    Marriage has become an interesting institution, it is often a realm of post-wall women who caught less-desirable men; often demonized by femenists; and lastly (rarely) a happy relationship like yours is

    • TMG March 6, 2013 at 00:10 #

      You say “interesting.”

      I say “an executioner’s axe poised at the neck of any man stupid enough to say ‘I Do.'”

  5. dg54321 March 5, 2013 at 16:39 #

    Ratchet would have probably taken the opportunity in your situation to call the police and “get that bastard” for DV charges, knowing she’d get some tasty false sympathy for her “hard life” and lots of “screw that no good abusive bastard” from her grrrrrlfriends. Good for you having a brain to work with and knowing the difference between abuse and a damned accident.

  6. Mr. JB March 5, 2013 at 16:53 #

    I feel really bad about that event. Now that it is in cyberspace I hope that 1) my mother and 2) your brother don’t find out about it. Also, you might consider putting a new bag in the garbage yourself once in a while.

    Love Mr. JB

  7. sqt March 5, 2013 at 17:31 #

    Women can be so shortsighted. When I met my husband I was considered way out of his league. I was a cocktail waitress (almost done with college) and he was a busboy (also almost done with college). At the time hubby was the invisible guy, but as I got to know him I realized he had a plan for the future– and he was cute. Long story short, we’ve been together 18 years (married for almost 15) and I feel lucky every day to have him. He still tells me I’m beautiful and he knows I didn’t marry him for his money. We had a lot of lean years but things are good now and I’ve never regretted passing on the flashier guys who used to ask me out. He knows he’s the total “catch” these days, but he also knows that I gave him a chance when no one else would. Win win for both of us.

  8. Liz March 5, 2013 at 17:43 #

    I know someone who broke a rib during sex. Surely you can come up with a better story that a bear-hug if ‘splainin is in order, eh?

    Per the rest, to borrow a quote from a wise person, you might know her:
    “We’re not talking about quid pro quo here. If your first instinct was to set up a mental balance sheet and make sure all of YOUR thoughtful actions are being returned in EXACT PROPORTION to your outlay, you might as well give up now. You don’t know shit about men, or relationships of any kind.”

    Well said.

    • princesspixiepointless March 5, 2013 at 18:37 #

      Like right? Or at least put ‘bear hug’ in a friendly euphemism….but the point has probably been made now..

      • Liz March 5, 2013 at 18:47 #

        Euphemism, yes!
        I’m thinking the “real story” should have a pole, maybe some acrobatics at the very least. :-)

        BTW…hope your little one is doing well PPP. ((hugs))

  9. Nick Black March 5, 2013 at 18:07 #

    JB, you have been on fire lately. This story was fantastic.

    I have a cousin who reminds me a little bit of RachetNurse. She is attractive and has one of the best personalities of any girl I know. She can actually make a crowd laugh from the belly, is super smart and sweet to boot. But she turns 28 this May and just went through a horrible breakup where she found out her bf of two years was compulsively cheating on nights when she was in the hospital staying with her dad who was interned for 10 of the last 12 months in the hospital. Talk about a mindfuck.

    This post makes me think of when she was in college and she had quite a few guys who were absolutely smitten by her, willing to devote their love to her forever (I’m from the midwest where some people still actually believe in that crap). Including one Big ten D-I football player offenive lineman who just a loveable teddy bear (and now plays in the NFL). But she just didn’t yearn for him, in her words.

    On the other hand, I think the sphere’s ‘blame women for not settling down early’ mantra takes it too far. This argument goes something like ‘oh well the woman obviously was slutting it up too much in her early days and that’s why she can’t find a good husband now.’ While I think that is sometimes true, I also think this view is somewhat simplistic. I think a fair of amount of girls try to be virtuous, but once their heart gets broken the first or second time they say ‘fuck it, I’m just gonna enjoy life and sex because this love shit isn’t working out for me.’ For example, if this last guy wasn’t a compulsive cheater who completely fucked my cousin’s trust in guys, they’d probably be engaged by now…

    …or did she seek this guy out because of a tendency to like assholes? An interesting dilema, I feel.

    • Liz March 5, 2013 at 19:09 #

      “I think a fair of amount of girls try to be virtuous, but once their heart gets broken the first or second time they say ‘fuck it, I’m just gonna enjoy life and sex because this love shit isn’t working out for me.’ For example, if this last guy wasn’t a compulsive cheater who completely fucked my cousin’s trust in guys, they’d probably be engaged by now…

      …or did she seek this guy out because of a tendency to like assholes? An interesting dilema, I feel.”

      I think the above is true for both men and women. We’re all the product of our experiences and if those experiences leave them with a bitterness they can’t overcome it can make future happiness impossible.

      I remember speaking with a male acquaintance who had been married and divorced four times. He told me his problem was he always fell for beautiful women and all good looking women are bitches. I laughed a little until I realized by his expression he was dead serious, and didn’t even realize this was an insult to me. He knew I had been happily married for many years, so I don’t think he was implying I was a bitch. When they gave my husband his last callsign, the next runner-up name (flight doc told me, it voted in second) was GLW (acryonym for good looking wife). In short, I’m not exactly ugly. But he couldn’t recognize beauty in anyone who wasn’t a cunt.

  10. TMG March 5, 2013 at 19:26 #

    I have a preference for demonstrating my love and appreciation over saying it. Because words are just words, you know. But I had an ex-girlfriend who used to get angry at me constantly for not “telling” her that I love and appreciate her.

    Me: “So, the time I stayed with you the entire day because you were hung over doesn’t show I love you?” Her: “No. I need to hear you say it. Every day.”

    Me: “So the fact that I took you out to the nicest seafood restaurant in town to celebrate your graduation doesn’t show I appreciate you?” Her: “No. I need to hear you say it.”

    I used to get weepy phone calls at 3am that sounded like this.

    Obviously this was long before I took the red pill because no way would I put up with this stuff now.

    • judgybitch March 5, 2013 at 19:48 #

      I feel just the opposite! Anyone can say “I love you”.

      Oh yeah?

      Show it. You know, by putting the bag in the garbage pail!

      I’m not one to say it much, either. But I show it every day.

      I’ll take actions over words almost always.

      • Gammosiuwong May 12, 2013 at 16:11 #

        And that’s why so many women have their heart broken. Because they prefer the bloated lies of a pick up artist over the quiet actions of a genuine man. They want fantasy NOT reality.

    • Kai March 6, 2013 at 00:17 #

      i understand and personally, I agree with you two that it’s the actions that matter.
      But I don’t think that’s enough. Fact is, different people work different ways. And unless you’re going to look only for a partner who works the same way as you, you’ll have to deal with it.
      I find too may people obey the golden rule literally, and treat others as they would like to be treated – without consider whether it’s the same way the other would most prefer. For a an who likes action and a woman who likes words to really show their appreciation for each other, they should learn to work to the other’s needs. She should realize that words aren’t enough for him, and make sure to do things to show her appreciation (usually pretty easy for a woman…), while he should realize that she doesn’t understand from his actions as well, and make an effort to verbalize as well.
      It may seem a little too male/female dichotomous, but I mean the same thing regardless of what the relationship is. Yes, often it’s women who want/use words and men who want/use actions, but that’s not universal, and it can be applied to other relationships as well.
      I mean, my mother and I are nothing alike, and many issues she had raising me can be attributed to her mothering me the way she wanted her mother to treat her. Given that we’re nothing alike, it didn’t get her the results she wanted. My Dad did much better both because we are very similar, and because he’s better at figuring out what another person is looking for and giving that instead of what he wants.
      If you care about another person, disobey the golden rule. Treat other people as *they* would like to be treated.
      And if that’s too hard, be pickier and only date people who function the same way as you do.

      • Kai March 6, 2013 at 01:30 #

        note: People who care about each other also assume the best about each other and learn how each other work and do things like understand that being taken out for dinner is appreciation, even if they need to hear it sometimes as well. Decent people don’t castigate each other for misunderstandings.
        I meant to suggest that just because you or I may prefer action doesn’t mean it’s okay to just do actions only and expect that to work for others. I did not mean to excuse weepy 3am phone calls complaining about being unloved. And needing constant reassurance in any form tends to be unpleasant.

        • TMG March 6, 2013 at 13:56 #

          I understand. I did tell her, with words, that I loved her and appreciated her when I felt inspired in the moment.

          But not with the frequency she demanded. ;)

          • Kai March 6, 2013 at 16:56 #

            Where I’m going is that I think an actions-person married to a words-person needs to make an effort to say things more often than when it inspires them, since the other needs to hear more. But given weepy phone calls at 3am about not enough ‘i love you’s, I think there’s much bigger problems at hand that no amount of words would solve.

  11. Andrea March 5, 2013 at 20:52 #

    Wow, I’m so happy I found your blog. It really is a breath of fresh air. Sadly, it’s not something I could show my “gurlfrens” and have them appreciate. They believe that they are owed the fantasy. We are not young either…we are in our early 30s. This beats reading the jezebel articles they link to on FB.

  12. Mike Hunter March 5, 2013 at 23:32 #

    I don’t feel bad for your nurse friend at all. She had an outstanding opportunity to snag a great man only because she happened to be lucky enough to hit the genetic jackpot. Heck she could have played around for a decade and then settled down with a doctor, and been set for the rest of her life. But she chose to be to be short sighted, unrealistic, and undisciplined instead.

    How many men have an opportunity to be set for life like that just because they happened to be born handsome? I’m guessing close to 0.

  13. Marlo Rocci March 6, 2013 at 03:43 #

    Another aspect “Disney Princess Syndrome” (as I call it) is that these princesses just expect Prince Charming™ to just show up. These men shouldn’t be sought for or appreciated. It’s their job to show up and provide everything they ever dreamed about into a relationship. And it’s horrid unfairness if Prince Charming™ doesn’t show up.

  14. Erudite Knight March 6, 2013 at 05:53 #

    Hey JB i havent seen any crazed feminists comments lately, do you just not approve them? I get about one a week, I keep the for the laughs.

    • judgybitch March 7, 2013 at 02:35 #

      Oh I get them alright, and they go straight in the trash.

      Nasty commenters are free to go and take a shit in someone else’s house.

      Not in mine.

  15. Mart July 19, 2014 at 13:13 #

    Good story JB. The only thing that I don’t agree with is that you seem to characterize men mostly by what their proffession is. Btw. sorry if my English is a bit off.

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