Treat him like a dog and 9 other marriage resolutions I'm making

It’s okay to admit you think you can do better in your marriage. I know I can.

I have a great marriage. Really I do. I’m thirteen years into til-death-do-us-part and I can say with all honesty that I love my husband more today than I did the day I promised we’d spend all of eternity in side-by-side cemetery plots.

And yet… he doesn’t always get the best of me.

It’s the nature of marriage, I suppose, but I know that I can do better. And frankly he deserves better for putting up with me day after day. So this year, instead of vowing to sculpt six-pack abs (yeah, right) or forsake Diet Coke (who am I kidding?) I am going to make my husband the direct beneficiary of my self-improvement efforts. Starting on January 1, I will make every attempt to:

… treat him like a child. I tell my daughters daily how smart and talented and funny and fabulous they are. I hug and kiss them every chance I get. The last words they hear before they go to sleep is how very much I love them. When they screw up, I forgive them — easily and completely. Never have the words “but they know how I feel about them” passed my lips.

… treat him like a stranger. I smile at strangers all day long. I ask cashiers how their days are going, hold doors open graciously and compliment people I don’t know on their shoes or their eyes. When I’m angry or annoyed, I certainly don’t grumble and storm around the mall or the gym waiting for someone to ask me what’s wrong.

… treat him like an employee. I wouldn’t hire a personal assistant and say “figure out what needs to be done and do it;” I would outline my expectations with clear, thoughtful direction. If the job wasn’t getting done, I’d address this fact calmly and with a plan for fixing it. I would do all of this without calling my employee “a selfish asshole who never listens to me.”

… treat him like a boss. When one of my editors tells me something I don’t necessarily want to hear or asks something of me that I feel is too much, not even one time have I thrown a fit, slammed a door or hurled an insult. I listen calmly, react respectfully and it always works out.


… treat him like a gynecologist. (Not in that way.) When I tell her that this hurts or that itches, she gives me the precise pill or potion I need to fix it. I understand that if I went in there and said “I’m not well” she wouldn’t have the vaguest idea how to help me.

… treat him like a gynecologist. (In that way.) Well, honestly. She tells me to get undressed and hop up on her table, and I do it on command, even when the room is freezing or my head hurts or I feel fat that day. My husband should be so lucky.

… treat him like a cab driver. I get in, I tell him where I need to go, and then I shut the hell up and let the guy do his job. I don’t map out his route for him or remind him to turn on his blinker. I trust that he knows what he’s doing, and he gets me there every single time.

… treat him like Modern Family. When Modern Family is on, it has my undivided attention. I don’t check my email or peruse eBay or play Scramble with Friends. If the phone rings, I don’t answer it. If your hair isn’t on fire or you’re not bleeding from the mouth and you interrupt me during it, you’re going to be in trouble. Doesn’t the man I married deserve that kind of respect?

… treat him like a dog. I don’t give my dog long, complicated instructions or laborious explanations for why I’d like him to do something. Instead I rely exclusively on the direct, straightforward language I know he can understand: Sit, stay, come, drop, down, shake. I do this because it works.

… treat him like a dog some more. I lavish my pup with praise for returning a tennis ball… every time. I roll down the car windows for him even though it whips my hair into a rat’s nest. When I walk in the door, I give him a good rubbing. I toss him treats just for being cute. I tell him all the time that he’s such-a-good-boy. I’ll bet my husband wouldn’t mind a piece of that action.

Do you have any marriage resolutions for 2014?

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