How to have a successful marriage (manipulation is key)

I thought I would go a little off topic from my usual blog posts and give you all a bit of insight into me and my marriage.  My husband and I have settled into a rather successful relationship after four and a half years, but it took some time to find our way.  His being an Iraqi and me being a former US soldier (I was active duty until 2 1/2 years ago) meant we had a lot of hurdles to cross.  So keep in mind that all my advice is based on having some culture clashes in addition to the usual marital troubles that come up early on.  I am putting this in list format for easy reference.

Things I do to make my marriage work:

1) Do not obey the husband all the time.  If you do so, he will come to expect it.  Better to keep him guessing as to when you’ll listen to his dictates.  Ignore any references he makes to how (insert religion) says the man is king of the house and the wife must obey.  This can be done by changing the subject or giving the evil look that says “I know where you sleep and you will have to sleep sometime”.

2) Keep your husband on his toes.  Spend a good amount of time ignoring him and not doing many things for him.  Then, when he least expects it, do something really nice like cooking his favorite meal.  When he looks at you suspiciously, tell him to let you know if he can actually taste the poison in the food so you can know to adjust it accordingly next time.

3) Maintain a separate bank account where you keep your own money (that he can’t touch).  Imply (or actually do it) that a strange withdrawal of ten dollars a month keeps leaving it to go to a life insurance company.  Tell him “just in case.”

4) Keep a whip at hand around the house.  If he gets to be even more annoying than usual, use it on him, but only enough that he gets a good scare and isn’t actually hurt by it (can’t leave marks for the police to find).

5) There is one thing all men want regularly.  I’m not saying what it is, but you can take a wild guess.  Do not give it to him when he demands it, dole it out like it’s a rare substance that could run out soon.  When you do give it, though, make sure it’s the best he has ever had so no other woman could possibly compare.  That way he will be willing to wait through the dry spells.  Remember, if you make it easy for him, he will no longer see you as a challenge.  Far better if he feels like he just climbed Mount Everest every time he gets that thing he wants so badly.

6) If he is lazy about taking out the trash, be sure to place it in front of the door so he can’t get around it on his way to work.  I’ve found this to be very effective.

7) Make sure your husband has a separate place to watch TV from you and that his computer is on the opposite side of the house from yours.  Otherwise, he is going to annoy you with his lame movies/TV shows or make you look at whatever silly thing he saw on the internet.  Not to mention if you share the same space, it will give him more chances to try for #5 above.

8)Keep his self-esteem low.  This serves several purposes.  First, it will make him work harder for your rare compliments.  Second, it will mean he is less likely to look for other women because he will have no confidence to try.

9) Dole out your kisses and hugs for when he is distracted or busy.  This way he can never say you don’t give them, but it also means he can’t act on them resulting in #5.  On the other hand, when it is time for #5, dress yourself up nice and then hop on his lap right when he is in the middle of fighting an opponent on a video game.  Sure, his character will die, but he will forget all about it soon enough.  Remember that you’ll have to dress up really good for that to work effectively.  There are a lot of online stores that can help with this.

10) Try to never cry in front of your husband (unless there was a death in the family or a sappy movie is on).  Save those tears for when you really need them.  I asked my husband the other day to recall the last time I cried (outside of the exceptions mentioned above) and he couldn’t recall because it had been so long.  Then he actually complained that I don’t come to him when I’m upset.  In reality, I’m saving those tears for when I really want him to agree to something he doesn’t want to (nothing in mind at the moment, but there will be some day).

Things my husband does:

1) Refuses to eat anything except my stash of Snickers bars unless I cook and bring the food directly to wherever he is sitting at the moment.  Unfortunately, the man really will starve himself so I have no way around this unless I just make him go grab something from a fast food restaurant (but that gets old).

2) Complains to anyone who will listen that his wife abuses and oppresses him.  He will imply that I picked up this habit while serving in Iraq and that I have forgotten he is my husband and not part of an indigenous enemy population.  I deny these accusations, but he has managed to convince some people that he truly is oppressed.  As a result, I now go with it and threaten him with water boarding if he doesn’t behave.  Choke holds work well too. (Ironically, I think he is the only Muslim Arab man in America where people worry more about his wife abusing him than the other way around)

3) Tells the doctor when he is sick that his wife is giving him suspicious substances and claiming it is medicine.  Emphasizing that he has no idea what the stuff might be, but it could be harmful.  Never mind that it was Vicks Vapor rub and I broke the seal for the container right in front of his face (knowing he might pull this act).  Same goes for the Nyquil I gave him.  He still had the doc wondering and when she asked why he would allow me to give him such strange substances he claimed he was too scared of me to say no.  My husband tried using the same story on my father, but luckily my Dad has long since caught on to my hubby’s wild exaggerations (so has his family).

4) He refuses to change burned out light bulbs claiming Baghdad only had electric two hours out of the day for years so going without light is nothing.  Of course, the man can’t stand to be too hot or cold (depending on the season) and will make full use of central heat and air-conditioning.

5) Tells me how great I am and how much he loves me so I will get him something to drink or do other nice things for him.  He has mastered the art of sweet talking me into what he wants (aside from #5 on my list…. usually).

6) Refuses to let me have my own handgun claiming I might have “flashbacks” and shoot him.  I am very proficient with a gun and scored expert marksmanship with both rifles and pistols, but that is aside from the point.  I’ve told him that if I wanted him dead, he would be dead, whether I had a gun or not.  For whatever reason, this doesn’t reassure him and he still won’t let me buy one.  In lieu of this, I keep knives handy (but only for protection against intruders).

So anyway, that wraps up some of the nuances of how we make our marriage work.  He has his manipulations and I have mine.  Ironically, we are both aware of what the other is doing.  You would think we have our own separate Iraq-America war going on in the house, but I assure you this is not the case. We spend more time laughing and joking with each other more than anything.  He accepts my independent, hard-headed nature (after realizing I will never change) and I accept that he is inherently lazy about anything accept going to work to earn money.  It is what it is.  We love each other more every day and the craziness you read above works (and is all true).  Hope this post brought a smile to your face!

~ by Suzie on November 21, 2011.

11 Responses to “How to have a successful marriage (manipulation is key)”

  1. Indeed it did bring a smile to my face, Susan! Along with some chortles and LOL chuckles. It sounds like you have a terrific marriage – and a fun one.
    Which is more than a lot of people can say these days.
    (Almost makes me want to go out and find one of those “husband” creatures for myself …)

    • The problem with marriage is that first year or so totally suck. Second year gets mildly better, but it takes a lot of patience to reach the point where both spouses have a good understanding of each other. I do feel blessed for my marriage as it has really worked out for us.

      As for finding a good one, hope you do if that is what you want. Just remember that you’ll never change him so it’s got to be someone you can live with as they are, lol.

  2. Loved it and identified with quite a bit of what you do to keep your man on his toes. I got some good chuckles out of his technique, too.

  3. You are evil. 😛 I probably wouldn’t have believed the Vicks and the doctor one if you hadn’t told me about it before. Very amusing, Susan. 😉

  4. I love #4 regarding what you do to make your marriage work. I need to go get one right now.

    • lol, Dicey. I actually got my whip from a medieval fair for $5. Nothing fancy and more as a joke than anything. My husband has a good sense of humor, though, so it’s still fun to threaten him with it!

  5. Susan, regarding your comment about him needing to be someone I can live with … That door swings both ways. Anyone who wants to hook up with me needs to accept that he would also be committing to three dogs and a cat (no longer two – I lost my Elder Statesman last week …) and whatever/whoever else I might be bringing into the menagerie down the line, LOL.

    • This is very true PL. My husband never had cats inside his home before. His father only allowed one outdoor cat. I insisted that we had to have one and even threatened to put it in the marriage contract (we didn’t marry in the US and the place that we did actually has a spot in the marriage contract for women to put any stipulations they want). He was so worried I would do it, but had promised I could have a cat and kept that promise. I even have a hamster now that he broke down and agree to! Anyway, the point is that you definitely need to find a man who can accept you the way you are. I completely agree with you there!

      Sorry about your Elder Stateman. I know how difficult it can be to lose a pet you care about 😦

      • Thanks for your condolences, Susan. He wasn’t as old as I thought – only 15 (almost 16) but still, that’s a goodly number of years for a cat. I still have my tortoiseshell (he’s young and healthy), otherwise I would probably have been to the animal shelter by now …
        I’m not actively looking for a man to share my life with these days, but I figure if it’s in the cards for me, it will happen. (Who knows? There are a lot of ranchers here in Sheridan, so I could end up with somebody who not only accepts dogs and cats but horses, cows and whatever else might show up on the doorstep, LOL!)

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