The Wife's Bill of Rights
By Jill Adler
We, the wives of America, love being married to the husbands of America. We know we have our faults, but with our ever-morphing roles these days, there's a lot of pressure on us to be superhuman. We care for our families, manage the home, keep ourselves attractive, and even bring home our shares of the bacon. We know we sometimes lash out, but we really do want to "live happily ever after" with you. Our mutual acknowledgement of these amendments can go a long way toward achieving that.
We have the right to dislike your buddies.
We know it's important for you to have your guy friends, but you should know by now that we're not turned on by your stories of the good old days at college, your sexual exploits, or which relief pitcher the Red Sox should trade. Disappear for a while and be boys—it's OK, go chug beer and high-five—but please don't expect us to be happy when your friends come over and put their feet on our coffee tables or leave their beer cans on the floor.
We have the right to experience PMS in all its glory.
Either give us our space or accept the consequences. We know it's unfair, but some of us just can't rein it in. You knew that before you married us. We may shout, cry, belittle, act irrationally. It lasts a few days each month, so please deal with it. Or even better: Bring home dinner, clear the dishes, and give us a big hug.
We have the right to demand you finish a household job.
We're not your mothers, and we loathe having to act like them. If you wash the dishes, do them all and clean the sink, too. Don't just bag the trash, take it outside to the bin. If you start a load of laundry, put it in the dryer and fold it too. We don't like nagging any more than you like hearing it.
We have the right to an honest answer to "What's wrong?"
We admit guilt in this area too, but "Nothing" says nothing. If we ask, it's not because we're trying to make casual conversation. It's because we love you and need an honest answer. If there truly is nothing wrong, then ask why we think otherwise. Yes, this could open a can of worms, but remember when we dated and talked about everything?
We have the right to keep our secrets.
Not marriage-ending ones, just small secrets we choose to hide from others. If we don't want to speak our age or share our true hair color or reveal the cheesy TV shows we watch in private, it's not your place to reveal them to our friends, your business partners, or your ex-girlfriends/wives. We're not asking you to lie for us, but we would appreciate your discretion.
We have the right to clean air.
You may think it's funny, masculine, or natural to pass gas anywhere and anytime you please, but when the smell drives us to gag, it's uncool. There is something inherently wrong in the relationship if you must walk over to us and fart, or if you intentionally set a bad example for the kids. We fart too, but we do so discreetly for a reason. You may not like our potpourri and scented candles, but they're infinitely better than toxic and flammable methane.
We have the right to keep and bear tons of girly bathroom products.
You have your tools; so do we. These items are expensive and to be used sparingly. It brings no joy to see our $15 bath bar shrunk down to the size of a quarter after two passes on your chest and legs.
We have the right to speak to our girlfriends every day.
About whatever we want, whenever we want. Please don't eavesdrop or criticize. We know you're not that interested in gossip or psycho-analytical interpretations of why some people do what they do, so we turn to our like-minded female friends for instant gratification. Yes, we do talk about you—a lot. It helps us work through issues. This keeps us happy, sane and, usually, off your case.
We have the right to flirt.
Not the kind that makes you jealous, but the healthy practice of connecting with another person on a non-sexual level. Light banter is fun, quick-witted, and encouraging to our self esteem. It might even remind you of why you feel in love with us. And if it gets us a smoking deal on that new furnace or a free stay for the family at a million-dollar ski chalet, so much the better.
We have the right to foreplay.
A fine bottle of wine, soft music, deep looks into each other's eyes, compliments, holding hands, cuddling—these are all forms of foreplay, and we insist on them. Please don't reach for our crotch or breasts and expect us to melt into a porn kitten. It didn't work when we met, it most certainly doesn't work now. Sure, we women are strong and independent, and appreciate an inspired quickie when the moment strikes, but we also have an inner soft spot the size of Texas that needs squeezing and cherishing. We appreciate you more when you think about how it feels to us rather than how it feels to you.
Jill Adler is a freelance writer based in Salt Lake City. When she's not researching relationships, she edits a bi-monthly sports publication in Utah, is a film and television actor, and is a PSIA Level III certified ski instructor. You can reach her at www.jilladler.com.
The Flip Side
The Husband's Bill of Rights
By Craig Playstead
We, the husbands of America, do not claim to be perfect. We're far from it. While we love being married to the wives of America, we have a few things that we'd like to straighten out. We're not asking for the world here. We understand that things like following our college football team to every away game is out of the question, as are after-dinner cigars. However; there are a few minor things that we'd like to clear up to make our marriage a happy one.
We have the right to go out with our friends at least once a month.
A man's relationship with his buddies is a bond that should never be broken. It helps keep us feeling young, connected and sane. It also helps us break the routine just like nights with the girls do for you. Even as we reach middle age, we like the fact that we still have a "crew."
We reserve the right to dislike your friend's husbands.
We promise to give the guy a fair shot, but when he starts acting like a moron, we can no longer authorize events with that family. And yes, wives have the same freedom to blackball when the tables are turned. It doesn't mean we like your friend any less, it just means that in her haste to have a big, fancy wedding, she chose a jackass that we don't want to spend our rare time off with. Listening to stories about how "wicked" he was on the French horn in his bitchin' ‘80s band is just too much.
We have the right to have a few things of ours in the house.
Everything we hold near and dear to us shouldn't all be in the garage. While we understand that our framed KISS concert poster might not make it on the living room wall, at least throw us a bone. The scene in "Juno" where Jason Bateman realized that everything he held near and dear was in a 200-square-foot room was a gut-shot to us all.
We have the right not to be scolded by you.
We are your husbands, not your children. We don't mean to track dirt onto the carpet or get chips on the couch, but it's not like we just got a lap dance. Don't treat us like your children and we'll do our best not to act like them.
We have the right to teach our sons how to burp and fart.
Sharing bodily functions with our offspring is as much about life as it is about jokes. It's also something that can help brings kids and dads together. Believe me, kids and guys always laugh at farts—that's how we're wired. And we're not talking about being totally gross and inappropriate. We vow to teach them that there is a time and a place for behavior like this—and that the early service at Church is not one of them.
We have the right to teach our children how to defend themselves.
Fighting is barbaric, terrible, and scary. But it's also part of growing up. We want our kids to be able to get out of a bad situation, not be bullied, and be able to take care of themselves. One of the plus sides of learning how to take care of yourself is that the more you know, the less you have to use it. Teaching our offspring how to defend themselves in a scary world is one of the basic duties of a father.
We have the right to as much reading material in the bathroom as we need.
Sometimes we're in there a while, we can't help it. And no, we're not hiding … most of the time.
We have the right to watch the big game.
We care too much about our teams. We know it's not rational, but it's who we are. No one can explain the love men have for their teams, but you may as well embrace it because that love will not die. If you don't believe this, just remember the Boston Red Sox had the most loyal fans in sports and didn't win a World Series for 86 years.
We have the right to the remote when we're on the couch.
This is something that's in our DNA. We know it, and you know it. If there's any doubt, watch us surf at top speed while knowing if a show is worth watching after stopping on it for .2 seconds. It's a thing of beauty.
We have the right to still use chivalry.
Yes … we know women are strong and independent, and we dig that. But allow us to open the door for you, or give up a seat and act like a gentleman once in a while. The world will be a better place because of it.
Craig Playstead is a freelance writer and happily married father of three living in the suburbs of Seattle. In the past he's also been a sports writer, online editor, and talk show host. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.