Marriage – Keeping the Bonds Strong

Shopping is a Relationship

This one is for you guys. Here’s some advice that may keep you out of the dog house, which is where I ended up recently.

Women (or most women) love to shop. Many men don’t. And therein lies the conflict. My wife knows I hate shopping, and usually will spare me the torture. My idea of shopping is to research it online, order it online, and get back to doing something more important.

Earlier this week I learned an important lesson in marital relationships. We were shopping for some new chairs. I agreed to go along and help make the decisions. In fact, I actually volunteered. But by the end of the day I was tired. I had a headache. I just wanted to go home and watch the news.

Now my wife and I have always agreed that it is permissible to express how we “feel” when we’re having a “heated discussion.” We don’t attack each other. We don’t make accusations. We just say, “I feel like…” That usually works.

On this occasion it was not the right move. I felt like I had sacrificed to engage in my least favorite activity. I was being honest in expressing how I “felt.” As in, “I feel like I have really sacrificed to engage in this activity which I hate. I feel terrible. I just want to go home.”

Don’t do it this way, guys. We had a very silent, icy trip home. After we had processed things for about fifteen minutes at home, we had a heated discussion on how we “felt.”

What I learned was the following: To wives, our engagement in activities for them (and with them) is an expression of our concern for our relationship. Therefore it is something to be done without complaining. And complaining is received by wives as an expression of lack of concern for the relationship. So it is personal. And shopping is relationship…not an activity to be endured.

So guys, this is one time when the I-can-express-how-I-feel rule does not apply.

I hope this will save you some grief. And women (wow, I’m probably really setting myself up) if I have gotten this wrong, please set me straight. (Constructive criticism, please)

Guys, have you found any other exceptions to the rules, that can keep the rest of us out of the doghouse?