After almost 19 years of marriage, my husband and I have finally figured out why sometimes, we have trouble communicating:
He can’t read my mind.

I know. I was shocked, too. But there it was. And the sad fact was, I was enlightened over a bag of garbage.

One morning I came downstairs to find a bag of garbage sitting near the back door, exactly where I had left it the previous night (the garbage, not the door).
Incensed, I called my husband who’d already left for work.

“You left the garbage next to the door!” I accused him.

“What garbage?”

“The one I left for you next to the door.”

“Yeah, you mentioned that,” he said. “I didn’t notice it.”

“How could you not notice it?” I asked him. “You would have had to physically move it to open the door.”

“I don’t know, honey. I was in a hurry. I guess you wanted me to take it out?”

“No. It was a reminder that today is garbage pick-up day and you needed to bring the cans to the end of the driveway.”

“And I would know this, how?” he wondered.

“BECAUSE I LEFT THE GARBAGE NEXT TO THE DOOR!” I explained. It made perfect sense to me, but my husband said he couldn’t possibly have known this unless he could read my mind. I was flabbergasted. Clearly, if there was a bag of garbage next to the door, anyone with half a brain would realize that it meant it was a reminder for garbage pick-up day… assuming, of course, that you were Kreskin or in the Psychic Friends Network.

Thinking about it, I realized that we’d had other situations where I expected him to do something without my telling him to do it, and then, surprisingly he didn’t do it. Then, of course, I’d get mad that he didn’t do it, and he, of course, wouldn’t have the slightest idea why I was mad because I never asked him to do it in the first place.

Follow that?

Honestly, though, I had always figured that while he might not actually be able to read my mind, my husband had a pretty good idea of what I was thinking most of the time. When we were dating, he realized that I wanted to get married without me actually saying so… although I think the pictures of engagement rings I left on his desk might have helped. And then there was the time that I wanted to have a baby. He picked up on that one just as soon as I waved the pregnancy test stick with the big plus sign on it under his nose.

I suppose the fact that he always seemed to know what I wanted had less to do with being able to read my mind and more to do with knowing how to navigate the marital waters so he didn’t sink into the irate wife abyss.

After consulting my crystal ball, I decided I might be better off simply asking my husband to do things, rather than expecting him to telepathically figure it out. Satisfied with this radical new approach to my marriage, I went off to the bedroom to try on a new bathing suit I had just bought. As I modeled it skeptically for myself in the mirror, my husband walked in.

“Wow! You look fantastic in that!” he exclaimed.

He may not be psychic, but he’s certainly no dummy.

©2011, Beckerman. All rights reserved.
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  • Perfecting Motherhood

    Hmm, I have a different take on this one. I think that men like to play dumb when it comes to most chores we want them to do. After they screw them up or keep forgetting about them, they know we’ll eventually give up and do it ourselves. Some game they must have played with their mom early on (thanks, mom!). I refuse to play this game with my husband. He has his own chores (including taking out the garbage) and if he doesn’t do it, I won’t remind him and I won’t do it for him. It does work wonders after a few mishaps… And I do the same with my boys! After they realized I won’t do some things for them, I get it. Tough love – works like a charm…

  • lostinsuburbiablog

    So funny – my husband and I JUST had the same conversation with my son, but ironically, my husband doesn’t see that he does some of the same things himself. There’s that old apple and tree thing again. Of course, it is mostly my fault for facilitating the behavior in both of them.
    I like the tough love idea… although it may be toughest on me when things I want to get done, don’t!

    • Perfecting Motherhood

      I hear you about having to deal with things not getting done. It does drive me nuts too but if you stick to your guns, it actually won’t happen too much. Tough love seems to make the learning process a lot faster!

  • lostinsuburbiablog

    Thanks! I’m going to try it with ALL of them!

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