A husband's perspectic on Fawn Weaver's Happy Wives Club

MY task, as set by Feelgood, was to see how much – if any – of Fawn Weaver’s dos and dont’s would work from a male perspective.

Break time: A demanding young family means romance can get pushed to the back of a long queue, says Noel Baker.
Break time: A demanding young family means romance can get pushed to the back of a long queue, says Noel Baker.

The Happy Husband’s Club? It doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. The first thing I noted in my brief perusal of the HWC rule book is the absence of any mention of children. I’m currently Dad to two chisellers, aged one and three, with another due this month.

My dear wife carries the household while I’m at work and when I get home I launch into my chores once the kids have gone to bed.

Kids change everything. There may well be some zen-loving, uber-fop parents out there who have children that play classical guitar and eat lentils, but I’m in the grouping that is trying to stop their offspring climbing into cupboards.
Romance can understandably get run over in the stampede to change a nappy. Sometimes we’re both so tired (well, I’m tired, my wife is downright exhausted), we end up staring vacantly at the box, too zapped to even change the channel. It is entirely possible that Fawn Weaver’s book was not written with this kind of 100mph household in mind.

Case in point: I began my week-long stint with the HWC rules intending to keep a daily diary of my efforts. That lasted three days. I simply ran out of energy, and maybe it’s for the best. Here are some sample sentences from days one-to-three: ‘comedy of errors’; ‘abject failure’; ‘I’ve got the guilts as I head out the door’.

On the first night of the ‘experiment’, Clonakilty, where I now live, was falling victim to flooding. Flexing my journalistic muscle, I pegged off downtown to issue forth tweets and photos of the heroic local effort to stymie the water. Then I came home to an understandably furious wife who pointed out that as she had been with the children all day, some adult conversation would have been nice. Her head hit the pillow with a righteous fury. Then when I fell asleep I had a dream that I broke the handbrake in the car. It was that kind of week.

So the diary didn’t work, then. Let’s have a look at some of the rules instead, from a male perspective.

1. Surround yourself with other happy wives (or husbands?):

This is as daft as it sounds. Friends are an essential component in anyone’s life, and also a great way of ventilating the stresses and strains of married life.

To take the HWC edict to its logical conclusion, if you were actually having a tough time, your friends would be expected to drop you like a hot stone, and if they were suffering some marital woes, well, you can’t be having that negativity. Begone!

2. Make a list of ten of your spouse’s faults and then forget about them:

‘Only ten?’, I can hear my wife say. This rule sounds great in theory, but there might be a catch. Poet Pablo Neruda once wrote, “Love is so short, and forgetting so long.” Let’s face it, it’s probably the same for that row you had over not emptying the dishwasher.

3. End your friendships with the opposite sex:

A fanciful notion. This implies that you can’t be trusted and that your other half is wildly insecure. Next.

4. A happy husband respects his spouse:

Absolutely, although many’s the couple that has had a full-blown barney in which both parties felt they were entirely in the right. It might not enter the realm of name-calling, but a few days of grumpy co-existence may still have ensued. A row can be great for clearing the air.

5. Know which battles are worth picking:

As I have repeatedly discovered, when your wife is pregnant, the answer to this is ‘none’.

6. Divorce is not an option:

Good to know.

7. Take the wife-gratefulness challenge:

Finally, a HWC rule that makes absolute sense.

Listing all the things that you love about your partner allows you to enter a wistful reverie about all the qualities that made you melt in the first place, while ignoring the repeated imprecations to take out the bin or fix the dodgy pipe under the sink.

I’ll leave the last word to our friend Pablo: “Of all fires; love is the only inexhaustible one.”

And if that doesn’t get me some brownie points, nothing will...



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