The domestic war a husband can never win

Saleh Al Shaibany –
saleh_shaibany@yahoo.com –

I think when you spend the best time of your life married then you tend to copy each other in every way between you and your partner.
There is no escaping it. It is like writing on the old carbon copy and every letter is imprinted on a page behind it.
Last week, my wife came home and shared with me what she had observed that day and the consequent discussion was split into two different opinions – her’s and mine.
“I went to buy fish from that old lady we always go to,” she started. “She was peeling an orange in a very calm manner when I entered the shop, as if she had no worries in the world.”
“Oh-oh,” I said to myself, “Here it comes.”
I knew what she was on about. She had once told to me about this particular old lady who was employed in a fish shop and who worked long hours for a pittance.
“She took my order in the same calmness she used to peel that orange and that made me think,” she said, and let the sentence trail off.
“And you connected her with your own employment story?” I asked her, but I already knew the connection.
“Her work has no pressure at all. She has only to sell fish to every customer who walks in.” She ignored my question and continued, “She may be working long hours and paid little, but she is much happier with her job than most of us.”
“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” I reminded her, “because you never jump over it to part the turf.”
She gave me that familiar look that said, “are we being clever again?” “Look,” I said, “her job is not just to sell fish but to balance the book, to be punctual, to satisfy customers and keep the boss rich. Isn’t that pressure enough?”
“At least she was not evacuated from her office and left indefinitely ‘officeless’,” she said with such anger that I thought I needed to say the right thing but when I said it, it wasn’t received well.
“Always count your blessings and not your curses,” I told her.
“What blessings?” she said, not comforted with that old, wise adage, “being paid for a rising blood pressure?”
“No,” I said as any dutiful husband would have said under such circumstances. “You can always quit and stay home.”
She looked around the kitchen where we usually have important discussions that were outside the realm of the household management.
“Not such a bad idea, really,” she said, and smiled. “I can look after my house and children.”
“That settles it then. I will help you draft the resignation letter,” I said. “Not so fast,” she quickly said.
“Why not?” I asked. “Think of the peace and quiet you would have at home away from office pressure.”
“I think I will give it another chance,” she said, and so we left it like that.
I could not help thinking, as a result of that discussion, that working married women have a much tougher role in life than married men. There is always that ‘other work’ at home after office hours which involves much more than the physical side. A woman always makes her home her business and regards any non-financial help from the husband as an ‘interference’.
When she wants an extra piece of furniture, she always asks her husband but never consults him in what part of the house it should go. He just finds it there. Any attempt to relocate it would be met by a stiff opposition.
It’s part of that ‘other job’, which unlike the office one, she usually has her way.