Why are we so fascinated by all those worst-case scenario survival tips about situations that are as statistically unlikely to happen to us as winning the lottery? Some of those tips seem more useful than others, take Wikihow’s guide to surviving a shark attack.
Step 1) Remain Calm.” Hmm, calm during shark attack? Not so much.
Or this advice on what to do if attacked by a bear, courtesy of the Tongass National Forest: Forest Facts webpage,
“If a bear actually makes contact, surrender! Fall to the ground and play dead….” So far, so good, I think I could do that. Now what?
“… If the bear continues biting you long after you assume a defensive posture, it likely is a predatory attack.” Ya think?
In any case, I’m not sure that my playing dead performance could survive the distraction of being repeatedly bitten by a bear.
How about some more useful advice? Something that there is a good chance of you actually needing and employing? Like what to do when confronted by a nagging wife? Not unlike the famous Supreme Court Justice quote about pornography, nagging is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. It’s the bane of husbands everywhere. So what should you do in this commonplace worst-case marriage scenario?
- Remain Calm
Imagine yourself as the pilot of a large plane or a secret forces special operative and try to remember that all emergencies are better handled without panic. Inhale slowly and deeply and as you exhale make a conscious attempt to relax your muscles.
- Remove head from sand (or elsewhere)
Much like throwing up, these marital skirmishes are always worse in the miserable anticipation. You may be thinking ‘I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than talk about our relationship’ and hoping that if you can just avoid the situation long enough, she’ll forget about it. Whilst that certainly is a popular strategy, its chances of success rank about the same of the plight of Mr. Ostrich, head hidden in the sand, hoping the lioness can’t see him.
- Stand your ground.
Gird your manly loins and resist the urge to run away. Either literally, by avoiding the situation or figuratively by allowing your brain to escape whilst your body remains in the firing line. Retreat is almost always a futile endeavor in these situations and can often make things worse as it provokes a more energetic pursuit. Whilst you may be able to outrun your pursuer initially, never under-estimate her persistence; you’re going to have to sleep eventually.
- Face your fear
It’s always a tactically sound move not to turn you back on the enemy. But this advice means more than that. It means figuring out for yourself what your resistance is about. Two of the most common are, fear of losing your freedom and/or fear of being shamed. Even when they are convinced their wives has the most unreasonable demands that will never be satisfied by anyone, men rarely like to feel they have failed to deliver. Once you’ve figured out what your real fear is, check out if it’s rational. If it seems likely that your fear could actually transpire, retreat immediately to safety. If not…
- Be assertive
If you really want to stop her hounding you, stop running. Women are much more satisfied with 100% of you 50% of the time than they will ever be with 50% of you 100%. Ducking and diving is a recipe for disaster. Rather than trying to evade the issue, stand in your power and say what you can and want to do and then do it. Keeping your word builds trust. Trust defuses nagging. As in business, always under-promise and over-deliver. The irony is that if you actually give her the attention and connection that she is craving, she’s almost certainly going to stop needing to talk about not getting it. Imagine that!
See beyond the teeth and claws. Remember that it’s never about the X. It’s about her need to feel connected, respected, cared for, cherished and desired. You need to pay very close attention to what she is actually saying and yet, even more importantly what is she really wanting.
- Shock and awe
This is not for the faint of heart, but as they say, faint heart never won fair lady. Do the unexpected. Move towards the roar! Instead of getting defensive or giving the cold shoulder, try disarming her with charm. If your sense of humor is something she fell in love with, goof it up. If you can manage to get her to crack a smile, it’s all over. If fancy footwork is more your style, swoop in and spin or dip her. Scoop her into your arms and give her a gentle squeeze. If nothing else, reach out and touch her, gently. It’s hard to stay angry when you’re being held.
In conclusion, gentlemen, I give you the number one marriage hack of all time – Love the lioness and see how quickly she turns back into a happy kitty-cat.
The disclaimer. Men, there are no guarantees here, I offer you hope, rather than miracles with a reminder that these techniques are intended for use against common or garden nagging, they are not a get-out-of-jail card to deal with any serious offences you may have committed against the institution of marriage. Employ them at your own risk!