June 9, 2024
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June 9, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

As an observer of human behavior—but not in a creepy way—I firmly believe that the best way to solve a lot of shalom bayis problems is to point out that it’s not just your own personal spouse who’s like that. A lot of times it turns out that that’s just how people of that gender are. They’re not doing this behavior to annoy you—they’re just hard-wired that way. And getting upset at them is like getting upset at a dog for not buying you flowers on your birthday. Sure, you can spend years training the dog to do it, but (a) he definitely won’t do it if you don’t train him, and (b) even if you do train him, he’s still going to think that all the other dogs are going to look at him weird.

But if you talk to your other friends who have dogs, you’ll realize that, as it turns out, most dogs can’t read a calendar. And they definitely can’t tell the difference between the various colors of flowers. They mostly go by smell.

I’m not saying to suddenly start discussing all your issues with everyone else. It’s possible there are some things that your spouse does that no one else does. After all, everyone has some weird thing that makes them special—Hashem created each person as a unique snowflake—and what if this is their thing? His unique snowflake thing is that he can’t find anything. And her unique snowflake thing is that 50% of the time she says, “You shouldn’t have assumed,” and 50% of the time she says, “You should have known without me having to tell you.”

But what if there were certain issues for which you found out it’s not just your spouse who acts a certain way, but it’s all spouses? Or most spouses. And nobody talks about it because they’re each secretly afraid that it’s just their own spouse, so no one knows it’s everybody. And what if you found out that there’s actually a legitimate reason for it?

Great idea, right? But who wants to go first?

Anybody? Show of hands?

Okay, since I’m the one who brought it up…

Most men want to know why, when a woman asks her husband to remind her of something, and he forgets, it’s his fault, but if he asks her to remind him of something and she forgets, it’s also his fault.

There’s a scientific reason for that: Basically, the human brain has a finite storage capacity. It’s like how the human arm has a finite storage capacity, so if your wife has too much to hold, or even if she has nothing to hold but wants her arms free to find more stuff for you to hold, she’s going to keep passing you things.

So let’s say she hands you a baby, and 20 minutes later, she says, “Where’s the baby?” And you say, “I don’t know. I forgot.” She has a right to be mad. Right?

“What are you mad about?”

“Nothing! You should know!”

My point is that when she tells you to remember something for her, it’s not that you’re both holding it in your brains. You’re holding it for her.

Meanwhile, if you give her something to remember, you’re totally out of place, because her brain is filled to capacity, because she’s holding everything in there. She doesn’t have room to hold your thing. She has too many programs running at once.

Whereas every time she asks you what you’re thinking, you say, “Nothing.” So here, hold this.

Which brings us to a question that women have: How come sometimes when they ask their husband what he’s thinking about, he says he’s thinking about nothing? How is that possible?

Well, let me assure you that it’s possible. We’re not just saying that we’re thinking of “nothing” the same way that you say that you’re mad about “nothing.” The truth is that a man’s mind just doesn’t go in as many different directions at once. It hyper-focuses on one thing, and then another, and so on.

I think a woman’s mind can be compared to a flower, growing out beautifully in several directions until it loses its petals because somebody decided to cut it off the ground and put it in a vase, while a man has a literal train of thought, barreling forward and rolling over everything in its path, and if you derail it while it’s in motion, people die. This is why, for every girl who loves flowers, there’s a boy who loves trains.

But a train track runs in one direction, which is why men tackle issues one at a time, as they get to them—like at stations, where the train stops, everyone gets off, and then a huge crowd of new people get on, sometimes with one of those Japanese pusher guys shoving in as many people as possible. This is why men sometimes “forget” their anniversaries. They’re not forgetting them; they’re just not thinking about them until they’re up to that station, which is why they tend to devote the same one day to celebrating their anniversary and buying an anniversary present.

The point is, though, that if your brain runs like a train, there are going to be moments when there’s no one on the train—where you’re at the stop and everyone on it has gotten off and the new people are about to get on. And in that moment, we’re thinking about nothing.

In fact, it’s possible that you asking us what we’re thinking about caused the train to hit a wall, and everyone went flying.

What were we talking about?

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He also has seven books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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