Thursday, April 21, 2011

How to Train Your Husband

We got the most adorable dog named Molly a couple of months ago. She is 5 year old dachshund and when I talked to her previous owner she had no problems with kids, people, other dogs. Well flash forward 2 months and she doesn't like other dogs, goes a bit MIA fast when the door opens up, pees in the basement, likes to jump up on my 4 year old and attacks kids if they get near her. Big problem, but I am getting closer and closer to her beginning to listen. So I researched and watched shows such as "It's the Dog or Me" and have been trying to implement those findings into my every day life.

Last week we hit our 11 years of marriage and while doing research on how to train my dog I can now see that I did not train my husband very well. In the past 11 years of our marriage I think I made SEVERAL life changing mistakes in this process and now am wondering if that saying applies to husbands. Is it true that you can teach an old husband new tricks??

My husband is a great man, he makes me laugh, keeps me sane and at the same time keeps me on my toes. He is a keeper and I wouldn't trade him in to the humane society for anything. Yet, I have set him up for failure and this impacts my lack of control in key situations of our life. I have spouts of widow abandonment during the ongoing sports sessions, he suffers from spousal deafness (yet surprisingly never fails to hear me curse him under my breath from afar), doesn't like to interrupt his beauty sleep even when he gets more hours than me, and is a bit forgetful when it comes to housework and his "honey do" list.

Who knew?

To teach a puppy basic obedience, you need to spend from 20 to 25 minutes training it every day for ten weeks

Attention, frustrated wives: if you want your husband to start listening to you and stop leaving his socks on the floor, all you need is a little patience and a bit of time (It took me 11 years to get in this fix and it is not going to change over night). Here is my basic game plan.

1. Teach to Listen to Simple Commands -- This is a fairly common problem for both animal trainers and wives. Husbands just don't listen. We ask and ask, but there is this spousal deafness that seems to place an invisible barrier around our words. Well, we need to set our husbands up for success.
When you want something done, it should be done with a firm, decisive tone of voice. This is something I seem to forget. I ask and then I ask something else, and something else. From now on it is one thing... and not stated in a question.

"Can you do the dishes before you go to bed?" a question. If a command is delivered weakly, your husband may perceive you're not serious about what you're saying and may not consider it worth his time to respond. This is a very common problem among wives. When we give a command our voice rises at the end which almost makes the command seem like a question rather than a statement. Practice giving your commands in a short, firm but loving fashion. "The dishes need to get done before you go to bed". End of sentence, simple statement, walk away.

2. Positive Reinforcement- Dogs love being praised. When your dog performs the action you're commanding, we give her positive reinforcement in the form or a treat or praise. Okay, same can go with husbands. I was talking to a friends husband yesterday about what I should get my husband for his birthday. He said "I always tell my wife she should just give me the present that is free". I am not saying that sex is a reward for your husband because that is just strange, but it does mean that husbands will work for rewards, free rewards. Whether it's cleaning the car, putting the bins out or mowing the lawn, make a real point of thanking him as soon as he does something you like.

Though he doesn't realize it, Tyler basks in the rays of my growing appreciation. He was sitting on the coach folding clothes and I thanked him, now whenever I put the laundry on the couch he starts to fold. In fact, the more positive I am with my husband, the faster his husbandly defensiveness fades away. When I asked him to do something, he was more responsive. His spousal deafness miraculously may seem to improve, too, if implemented more.

3. Identifying your Roles - Wow, I missed the boat here (hello, bossy wife). In a relationship it is not an alpha dog classification. We actually have to work hand in hand with our husbands and try not to take control. My problem is that I took control of everything leaving Tyler very little responsibility with the kids and the house. All I was doing was planting my flag and claiming my territory. Training you husband may also mean training yourself to stop enabling the bad behavior. When Tyler stubbornly resisted I snarled and take it VERY personally. Dog trainers warn students to guard against their deep instinct to boss another creature around, as it does not encourage a positive relationship with your pet. So I am going to take this one in baby steps. Simply command something get done, wait for it to get done and then praise him if it does.

All in all, if none of this work, we might need assistance from an "obedience class". We did try therapy around year 7 and lasted two classes. Things did change for a year or so, but overall the therapist just picked on me. Training a man may sound harsh, but it’s actually about women training themselves to speak up at the right time, and being fair about it. It changes the status quo. It’s asking for what you want during “peace time,” not during the heat of an argument, and rewarding him every time he does the right thing.

In the process, you rekindle the interest and passion you shared when you were first dating. Training is easy and it starts and ends with you. Let’s face it; the relationship is in your hands. Guys look to us to set the tone. If we’re happy they’re happy.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Hearts that She Touched

This past weekend a neighbor past away in the middle of the night. She was young, 6 years younger than me, she had 4 kids. I knew her, in the sense that I saw her on occasion and had the honor of talking with her over the year she lived by me. She made me laugh, She made me smile and we talked for hours about General Hospital.

You touched the hearts of many,
you presence still linger in our souls,
its so hard to think goodbye,
I question why so early in life,
even though you are gone,
you'll never be forgotten,
You'll be missed by many,
its brings tears to my eyes,
that this is a goodbye,
rest in peace,
we will see you in eternity.

A Son's Perspective

My son had to write about his greatest influence. It was on Mother's Day, so he chose to write about his dad ;) It was such a good essay...