“What’s My Wife’s Problem?”

Reader Don W. just left a comment on Husbands: How to Win Every Argument With Your Wife that read:

Can you please write something about us paying/not paying attention to our partners? I am mystified by this process at times. Don’t get me wrong, I lavish my sweetheart with attention. However, there are times when I don’t, but apparently should and don’t know it. For example, my wife sometimes reads books while we’re watching TV together. However, if I boot-up the laptop while we’re watching TV together, she starts staring at me, or trying to hold my hand or she might even start ASKING ME WHAT I’M DOING! Yikes. Apparently, there are different levels of preoccupation and distraction, some acceptable, some not so much, and they are based upon…. I DUNNO!!!! John, buddy, please tell us dummies the rules.

Don, Don, Don. There’s no need to call yourself a dummy. You’re married. Your wife can do that.

No, but seriously.

Okay, so if your wife reads a book while the two of you are watching TV, it doesn’t bother you. But if you boot-up your laptop while the two of you are watching TV, that does bother her.

Well, this is an easy one. Your wife is obviously jealous because you know how to type, and she doesn’t. Which means that back in high school your wife, instead of taking typing, signed up for shop.

Which, Dan, can mean only one thing: Your wife is a lesbian.

How could you not know that? Who are you, Ross?

Okay no, here’s my real answer: I would say that the reason your wife thinks it’s okay for her to read a book while you guys are watching TV is because reading a book is not about real-time relating; it’s not about active, live, person-to-person interaction. But going online is—or certainly can be—and that’s why she has a problem with you doing it.

I’m going to guess that she wouldn’t mind you reading a book beside her while she watched TV, because then there’s still only the two of you in that room. But if you’re staring into your laptop monitor, typing away, who knows who in the heck you might be chatting with—or what the two of you might be chatting about.

It’s like you’re sitting beside her whispering with someone else. No good.

It’s not that your wife wants you to pay attention only to her. It’s that she doesn’t want you paying attention to anyone else while she’s sitting right next to you.

Or she’s a lesbian. Either way, why aren’t you rubbing her feet?

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter.

  • Skerrib

    Rock on. Have you considered going into the counseling business?

  • http://micksgrill.wordpress.com/ Mike

    That guy needs to buy his wife a Kindle…or put some of her favourite books onto an iPad. There, problem solved

  • Joe

    Oh, the big mistake here is boot up the laptop. My laptop and desktop are always on . Man up. Did ]t you read John's comments about never loosing an argument? Then again, everyone is different. I've been married for 38 years. I've known my wife since she was 12. Maybe growing up together lent a bit of tolerance to our relationship. My wife was dumb enough to marry a 19 year old. In her defense she was 18. Poor girl.

  • Gina Powers

    Hee! Me likey…..going to share on FB right now.

  • http://ramblingsofaspiritualidiot.wordpress.com ~Julia~

    Well, you know, you could always just ask her…

    • Robert Meek

      @ Julia – ASK HER!?!?!? Frontal attack!? Over the top with fixed bayonets!? OUCH!

      (Double OUCH! Triple OUCH! Okay, FiFi, quit! Quit beating your doggy daddy with your tail. Quit giving me a good old-fashioned Southern whomping! I give. I give!) She might be K-9, but she believes all girls should stick together! ;)

  • Don Whitt

    Now that my wife is asleep – though I'm pretty sure she's reading a book while doing so – I can honestly say that I love you, man. Seriously. Even though you called my wife a lesbian. That's the last wife, if you'd read my past comments a little closer (you're really busy, I know). And we call her the "Choose-bian" by the way. She CHOSE to be a lesbian.

    I get the laptop being a "portal to interaction" concept. Very cool. When my wife's reading Danielle Steel, it's not like she's relating DIRECTLY to Danni who is actually hunting big game in Africa and testing mascara on penguins right now, not tweeting to my wife or blogging back and forth with her. SO different.

    Dude! Thanks for the advice! The laptop ONLY comes out during "So You Think You Can Dance" from now on. THANK YOU!!!

  • Kim de Geus

    I was laughing almost the entire time I was reading this post (though my husband was laughing harder, and for that he will be severely punished). We both LOVE your writing John. Keep these relationship articles coming. You've got a riveted audience!

  • Zoomer

    Hmmm. I'm detecting some passive-aggressive tendencies among the men here. Well, the men everywhere really.

    Well okay women too.

    Even my cats are passive-aggressive.

    Can you write a column on passive-aggressive cats?

    • Ace

      My cat likes to walk up to me, meow sweetly, then roll over on her back and bat her paws in the air and purr, and act all cute and innocent. Then when I bend down to pet her fluffy floofy belly, she immediately seizes my hand in her claws and teeth like it's a tasty mouse treat.

      She knows I can't resist the kitty belly floof and fall for it every time.

      Oh, kitty cat, why do you betray me so?

      *weeps*

      • LSS

        i have a theory about this. cats forget that we don’t have fur. if we did, the claws wouldn’t go into the soft flesh, we would just be nicely happily friendlily batting at each other’s furry paws.

        either that or your cat is in league with simon’s cat (pls google if you haven’t see those animations, they are great!)

        my cats, however, are innocent!

  • Lily Fraser via Facebook

    Hah! I guess this guy has no clue!

  • Dan

    I’m pretty sure she’s a lesbian, dude.

    (Just kidding)

  • http://www.johilder.com Jo Hilder

    People, have you learned nothing?

    Men only watch TV for one reason – it helps them get into their *nothing box* as quickly as possible. Any man that turns on a computer when the TV is on is being overstimulated. He’s looking for cerebral anaesthesia elsewhere. Men actually hope their wives will boot up the computer while he watches TV because it means the pressure is then off him to interact with her *at all* – he is then free to enter his *nothing box* at will and remain there as long as her laptop battery allows. Man-heaven.

    Women use TV for something completely different. The TV is a teaching aid. It teaches her how to hate herself in a thousand different ways, from feeling her house isn’t clean enough to fearing her backside is too big. Because the TV is a teaching aid, when a woman watches TV with a man, what she is really doing is subliminally training him. If the show is on house renovations, thats what she will be expecting him to do that weekend. If its a rom-com, she is expecting him to take notes on being subtly humorous whilst making love. You see the problem – If he boots up, he can no longer take the notes, mental or otherwise. The program has been thwarted. The learning can no longer occur as planned.

    If this mans wife only stares, he ought to think himself lucky. The wife-manual says beat him with his laptop battery and then strangle him with the cord until he relents and turns his attention back to the program. Trust me..he’s getting off lightly.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdgalloway

      That made my morning Jo. Hilarious and if I remember correctly rather apt. I’ve not had a man or cable subscription in my house for two years, so I can no longer be sure.


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