By: Shannon Ralph
Reason #9: The dance.
At this moment, I am preparing myself mentally to commence the dance. No, I will not be salsa dancing in my living room. There will be no break dancing in the kitchen. There will be no ballroom dancing in in the bathroom. Rather, I am going to attempt the “let’s-get-something-for-dinner-dance” with Ruanita.
In any relationship, there are dances that must be performed in order to get what we want. There are ruses to play out. As a married person, I can’t help using my intimate knowledge of my spouse to manipulate her to get what I want. Whether it be convincing your spouse you need a dog or a 55-inch plasma television or a night out without the children, we all do it. Any married person who claims they in no way manipulate their spouse is lying to you. That is, unless they are Mother Theresa, in which case they would be a nun and unable to marry anyway. So that is a moot point. Minor manipulation is key to any healthy marriage. We all manipulate.
Tonight, I want Chinese take-out. I am the cook in our family and I really don’t feel like cooking this evening. However, I don’t want to suggest that we order something for dinner because that would make me the “weak” one in our both unspoken and yet way-too-overly-discussed agreement to curb our eating out. So rather than suggesting we get something for dinner, I have to compel Ruanita to suggest it. I have to manipulate her to believe that she wants Chinese food. Hence…the dance. It goes a little something like this:
Me: Are you hungry?
The Wife: Yea. I’m hungry.
Me: What sounds good to you?
The Wife: I don’t know. What sounds good to you?
Me: I don’t know. I am just kind of tired and really would like something good for dinner.
The Wife: Okay.
Me: What would you like me to cook?
The Wife: If you’re tired, I can cook.
Me: No. I’m the cook in the family. I can cook. Does anything sound good to you (rummaging through the cabinets and fridge as if I am looking for something to eat)?
The Wife: Not really.
Me: Okay….well, we could have bean soup (not a Ruanita favorite). Or……hmmm…we have spaghetti (again, not a favorite).
The Wife: Really?
Me: Yea. Is there something that sounds better to you?
The Wife: Well, what would be easy since you are tired?
Me: Ummm…nothing really. Anything I cook will take time. But that’s okay. I can make whatever you want (note the undercurrent of martyrdom in my response).
The Wife: Well, do you want to get something? Is that what you are hinting at?
Me: (with feigned shock on my face) What?! No…I wasn’t hinting at anything (still rummaging through the cabinets). I can cook. What sounds good?
The Wife: If you want to get something, I would be okay with that. I could be convinced.
Me: (Defiantly) I wasn’t hinting at anything, Ruanita. I can cook.
The Wife: No, you’re tired. Why don’t we get something?
Me: (sounding mockingly defeated) Okay…fine. If you want to. That’s okay with me. What sounds good to you?
The Wife: How about Chinese take-out?
Me: Sure, if you want to get something for dinner, I can do that.
The Wife: Yea…why don’t we do that. It’ll be easier for you.
Me: Okay. If you are going to twist my arm…
Ta-da! (Jazz hands).
There you have it. The dance. Were it not for my tree truck thighs and complete lack of even a modicum or agility and grace, I could have been a professional dancer.
The dance is one more way that my marriage is just like your marriage.