February 12, 2008

The Wisdom of the Aged

Tonight I sighed as I finished cleaning the kitchen.
Mike looked at me, concern in his eyes. "What's the matter?"

"I'm not going to tell you."


"I don't want to."

"Why don't you want to tell me?"

"I just don't want to."

From the couch, where he's been wallowing in snotty sickness for 2 days, our almost 16 year old enters the conversation. The following is the speech he gave his parents, explaining what a man goes through when he hears his wife sigh.

When a man hears a woman sigh, and he asks her, 'What's the matter?" and she says "Nothing." he immediately thinks, "Oh my goodness. Have I failed to compliment her on something or did I forget an important date? Does she really expect me to know why is she sighing even though I don't know? Is this going to lead to a huge fight about something she really expects me to know and I really don't know? Will this lead to me sleeping on the couch tonight?"
He panics and divorce becomes a new possibility. All from that one lousy sigh.

So tell me. Do you think this is this true? Does all that really go through a man's mind when he hears his wife sigh?


  1. I don't think men think those things. I think they don't always notice the sighs we generate, and when they do, they believe us when we say "nothing," which leads to another sigh and another "nothing" and so on, until they finally realize they need to press a little more to find out the source of the sigh...which may have changed after all the sighings and "nothings!" We should just tell them out right the first time they ask...though I'm guilty of not doing that myself!

  2. Not at all. He assumes it's the kids (usually is) making me weary. And I sigh ALOT. hehe! Men, for the most part don't think along those terms. Just as a 16 year old doesn't think they could POSSIBLY be the reason Mom is sighing. *sigh* I'm going to get some chocolate and watch an old movie musical now...

  3. Actually, Alec is onto something. He understands men, even at a young age. Mike may not be thinking about "divorce" from "one lousy sigh"...however, it's not the "one lousy sigh" that leads to divorce, it's the not being about to "fix" a "nothing." Men are "fixers." If they ask "what's wrong?" and we say "nothing" then how can fix a "nothing." They DO love us, they DO want to help...they DO want to "fix." Being able to "fix" something for us, makes them feel adequate. If they can accommodate us, we just may think they are heroic, which is what they REALLY want. They want to be a HERO in our eyes, they want to be HONORED, RESPECTED. They just need clear direction on what IS wrong so they can fulfill their role. Deep down they really DO want to make us happy, but they need direction in how to do so. To THEM "nothing" is NOT CLEAR direction...to US, it IS. It's a way, a means an avenue for attention..... which is what WE REALLY want. We want them to pull it out of us. Maybe we're longing for conversation? Maybe we're longing for connection? Or maybe we're just mad and stubborn and use the sigh to first get their attention and then we snub them by saying "nothing" to pay them back for not paying enough attention to us in the FIRST place. Unfortunately, I know this firsthand ;)....

  4. Ok, time for a MAN's perspective. I'll see if I can find one.

  5. Oh, wait...I guess I am one.

    So, I think there IS some truth to this. A man wants to make sure that everything is "ok." A sigh signifies that something isn't right. Even if he doesn't come out and ask about the sigh, he's trying to get to the source of it. He needs to make sure that everything is "ok." For some reason, that's important to us.

    Of course, we're not looking for a long, drawn out conversation over the sigh. And Miss Sniz will tell you that I'm certainly not wishing for a "State of the Marriage" discussion. I'd rather watch Oprah.


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