I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and acknowledge the truth. My husband, sweet as he is, can be really dumb. Like, no common sense (or things I think are common sense) dumb. My response for the past decade or so has been to criticize, yell, or get supremely annoyed. It doesn’t really work to change his behavior and serves just to get us both mad. (Although, to DH’s supreme credit, he is a really good sport about it and does try to improve.)

I’ve been reading a lot of books/articles on potty training and dog training (surprisingly, very similar) and the same thought is threaded throughout both of them. Remain calm. Never get angry. Praise effusively when they get it right. Say only “No” in a calm fashion when they get it wrong. And voila! In a matter of weeks/months/years, the dog and kid will be trained into doing what you want.

Part of me has always resisted seeing DH in his true light. (You know what I mean.) I kept thinking, it can’t be possible! How can he not see that his sink is disgusting? How can he not see that the dishes he washed are *gasp*, STILL DIRTY with fingerprints all over the glass? Then I realize, of course he can’t. His glasses are filthy. There is an entire car shop’s worth of grease and fingerprints (he neither works in a car shop nor around grease) all over his lenses. I clean them and within a day, they’re disgusting again.

Today, he was trying, for the first time to take care of DS’s poop in underwear and pee on the floor. Now, even the first day that I was trying to potty train DS, I paid attention to where his poop was falling, or whatever. NOT SO with DH! I had originally thought to tell him to watch out for the bathroom rugs. But I said to myself, “No. You’ve already picked on him enough this morning. There’s an entire area of tile. What’s the chance that he’ll get it on the rug?”

Sure enough! On the rug. Of course, he didn’t notice it. I just did. And seriously, I almost screamed in annoyance. Of all the parts of the bathroom that don’t have a rug, he just had to take off DS’s underwear by the rug. And get it on the rug.

Why? Why????

So, because I’ve already yelled at him for 90% of the two hours we’ve been up, (and clearly, working like a charm there), I have decided to start treating my husband as if he were a toddler or a highly intelligent dog. I will explain things in explicit detail (because if I don’t, he’ll just come back every two minutes asking me what to do) and try to do so as calmly and without sarcasm or disdain as possible. (That will be hard.) And I will repeat to myself, “DH is only a husband. Only a husband. He is not you. He will never be you. Treat him like DS.”

Is that wrong? Or a recipe for marital success?

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