Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wives and Husbands

People are all really different, of course, except when they're not and one thing I've noticed about being married is that most marriages, broadly-speaking, start falling into certain recognizable patterns. Bill and I - because we have a talky sort of marriage - sat around the other night and tried to list all the different types of husbands and wives we could think of which was really fun. SO MUCH FUN, in fact, that I immediately said out loud that I was going to write down - BLOG IT, in fact - and now everyone within hearing range (i.e. Bill) is holding me to it even though writing it down is sooooo borrrring. But my word is my fricking bond, so here I go:

Every Type Of Husband And Wife We Could Think Of.

The Replacement Mom 
The Man Boy.
You see these two on tv a lot, and sometimes in real life, too. See, the husband is an idiotic irresponsible child (if he didn't start out as one, he is one NOW) and so the wife - either through choice or necessity - gets to be the sole household adult and tells him what to eat and to put on a sweater and how they're going to spend the money and so forth.
Pluses: Keeps Man Boys from being homeless hobos, gives some women a real focus.
Minuses: Probably the least erotic marital arrangement ever. Also, agonizingly uncomfortable to be around.

The Frenemy Wife
I don't know who she's married to, but this is the wife who although she's participating in the marriage, not-so-secretly hates her husband's guts or at least finds him deeply annoying to have around. You can find her crowing with glee whenever her husband leaves for any length of time, and running him down to all her friends the rest of the time.
Pluses: Husband gets to do stuff on his own without any feelings of guilt, I guess.
Minuses: Well, that should be obvious.

The Not There Husband
This guy is not participating in his marriage. He's either gone off with his friends doing his own thing most of the time or if he's actually home, he's in the garage or in the basement or laying silently on the couch watching tv. One excellent example of this type I've known had never bought his wife a birthday present or a Christmas present or a card or anything at any point in the whole length of their relationship.
He's generally married to
The Entire Relationship Wife
This poor woman has to do all the work in the marriage. She alone cleans the house and raises the kids and makes plans with his parents and buys the Christmas presents and takes the truck for servicing and so on and so on.
Pros: Not really any.
Cons: Really lonely.

The Delicate Porcelain Princess AKA The Mary Musgrove
If your dreams were to marry an emotionally fragile hypochondriac who can't drive, I'm sorry to tell you that I already married Bill.
Pros: I dunno, ask him.
Cons: He has to drive all the time.

The Volcano
This spouse - of either gender - has everyone in the household walking on eggshells. They frequently express the belief that holding in anger is bad for them in some mysterious way. They like to yell and sometimes hit things or people. They blame others for their anger and their spouses - generally nice, breakable types - believe this too, to some extent. Their spouses often believe that these people can change, or be fixed or that if they just do things right these people will behave nicely.
Pluses: There are none. Get out as soon as you can.
Minuses: Everything.

The Regretful Wife
This wife is sorry that she married that guy, for whatever reason. I know someone who married her present spouse because she hoped that her ex-boyfriend would come along and stop her before the wedding. He didn't, and now she is in a sad, sad marriage. This is so depressing that I'm just going to skip to the next one.

The Controller
Where are you going? Who is going to be there? Call me when you get there. Call me when you get back. Meanwhile, I'm going to check all your messages on our shared Facebook account and screen all your phonecalls and then I'm going to make sure that you cleaned the house to my standards, and then I'm going to tell you who you can be friends with and how often you can see your mom and what you get to write and eat and what you should wear and on and on and on...
Pluses: Maybe you always REALLY wanted someone to boss you around and you find this level of hyper-vigilance a sign of luv.
Minuses: Every hair on the back of my neck is standing up in utter irritation at THE VERY IDEA.

 The Laura Ingalls
Grinds the grain and homeschools the kids and spins the wool and churns the butter and knits the sweaters and raises the chickens and sprouts the... sprouts and milks the goats and quilts the fabric and rugs the rags and scrubs the floors and is generally exhaustingly virtuous.
Pluses: Admirable.
Minuses: Not my idea of a good time, but I don't have to be married to her, do I.

The Graphic Designer
Coffee-drinking capable misanthropic hard-working artsy types.
Pluses: Very good husband material, will email you funny pictures from work.
Minuses: Will complain about the fonts used in restaurant menus, will email you gross pictures from work.

The Pal Wife
For whatever reason, some people decide to marry someone who's a good friend but not really anything else. Maybe they've given up on finding passionate love or maybe they're not interested in it, but these marriages can sometimes be pretty pleasant if not actually very exciting.
Pros: Marrying someone who likes you is nice, at least.
Cons: The whole sex thing. Also, one of the spouses is likely to leave when they DO find someone they're passionate about.

The Flaky Artist
Will make you listen to poetry they've written about their feelings.Takes up a lot of new careers and hobbies and wants to have long discussions about what they should be doing with their lives. Prone to suddenly leaving to find their freaking bliss.
Pros: Sometimes entertaining. Fun in bed.
Cons: Unreliable. Will break your heart.

The Laid-Back Guy
Mellow guitar-playing fellows who are okay going along with whatever you'd like. Very mellow. Irritatingly, unruffleably mellow. Whatever you like, babe.
Pros: Mellow.
Cons: Really mellow.

That's all I can think of for right now. Do you have some others? Let me know in the comments and I'll add them to the list. (and also, hey! I wrote something!)


  1. OH MY GOSH BECK. I am wondering what category I fit into...

    The crazy, loud, fun-loving, messy, loud, fun-loving wife who gets cranky when we talk about bills but loves convincing people we need to go to the beach...TODAY. She marries a responsible planner who's good with finances because people who steal her spotlight ANNOY her and artistic types ANNOY her (her art is the best art). Also she needs someone to do her taxes so she doesn't accidentally get arrested. Also he was a good kisser for being a math nerd.

    Pros: She doesn't get arrested. He gets to go to the beach (because he probably would stay home and check the stock market if someone wasn't FORCING HIM OUT THE DOOR)
    cons: She forgets to pack baby food for the baby on the way to the beach. He has to pick it up. He likes to plan EVERYTHING. I mean...EVERYTHING. She does not like to plan. There's a tension the PLANNING.

    1. I don't know if I think people fall into actual types so easily - I was just being silly, but I do think that you sound a lot like me, wife-wise.

    2. JoAnn and I are the same person. Evidently, our husbands are the same person, too. So weird.

      I loved the post. I have friends in some of these categories, and I was in a couple of them myself, during Marriage #1. Marriage #2 is so much better. And hotter.

  2. And thank GOODNESS you wrote something. I (true story) was just in my room picking up clothes and thinking BECK NEEDS TO WRITE SOMETHING. Because there are a WHOLE LOT OF BORING BLOGS out she should at least do me the favor of writing. Do us all the favor.

  3. The No Good Reason Not To husband
    The guy who marries a girl because they'd been dating for years and thinks he owes it to her. It's not that he doesn't like her, though he may not deeply love her. He just really doesn't want to break her heart and he knows she really really loves him.
    Pros: wife is happy
    Cons: I don't know. But a guy shouldn't marry a girl because he thinks he has to.

    1. Now I am so sad! And also excited because I can reply to comments. Sad/excited.

    2. That's not us though. A friend would fall firmly in that category though. Our category would be the Shattered Stereotypes. Marriage and work is 50-50 from building stuff to house work to raising kids and cooking supper. Makes a very happy marriage.

    3. We're pretty equitable, too and I agree with you - it DOES make a for a happy marriage.

  4. This reminds me of a conversation hubby and I had once while we were dating: it involved categorizing all the break-ups we knew of. There was the She Wants to Get Married and He Doesn't break-up (which sometimes stuck and sometimes resulted in reconciliation/engagement), the He/She Found Somebody New break-up (much more sticky than the first one), the Non-Starter break-up (where couple acknowledges obvious fact that neither one actually ever liked the other all that much) ... oh, I can't remember them all now. It was a fairly exhaustive list.

    As for marriage types ... how about the Entertainer/Audience match-up? It actually seems to be a pretty good one, as far as I can tell, so long as both partners totally embrace their role (the Entertainer/Wanna-Be Entertainer match-up is not nearly so good). The Audience partner tends to provide the hard work, stability, and patience, while the Entertainer provides the, um, entertainment. But in my observation both seem equally appreciative of the other.

    A variation on that one is the Social Convenor/Introvert match-up. Advantage for the introvert = a social life; advantage for the extrovert = a quietly supportive and loyal spouse.

    And then there's the TMI Wife and the Indifferent Husband. This is a more benign version of the Frenemy Wife - the TMI wife derives a lot of social capital from telling funny/embarrassing stories about her husband and/or marriage. The husband's contribution is Not Minding. Advantages for her = lots of entertaining stories to tell her friends. Advantages for him = he can get away with a lot because he knows his wife will milk all his failings for their full conversational value.

    1. TMI wife!!! I know some of those!! Hahahaha

    2. Should I admit that I can be the TMI wife? BUT I AM SO FUNNY! IT'S NOT TMI IF IT'S FUNNY! Bill is a saint.

    3. Oh, I love the Entertainer/Audience description. I know two couples who fit that criteria perfectly. Both spend parties with the husband in the middle of the floor entertaining everyone with the wife literally standing against a wall, smiling silently. I confess I've never really understood that one, but your explanation makes good sense.

  5. The Scholar Spouse. This is the individual who thinks Epictetus and Dante make for good pillow talk, who is always studying something, whether for one's profession or for fun . Pros: Really, really smart; pretty laid-back about everyday life details. Cons: Unless the other partner in the marriage is also a scholar, can be really, really boring to be around. And if BOTH spouses are the Scholar Type (*coughcoughahem*), then the kids grow up thinking trips to the museum are fun family outings, and have no idea what an amusement park is.

    1. "What is THAT?" our kids asked as we drove past an amusement park this summer. "Fun for dumb people!" Bill said, blithely.

  6. I am now judging all my friends' marriages and putting them into these scarily accurate, very funny categories.

    1. Also, I don't get the Mary Musgrove reference. Is she on twitter?

    2. Mary Musgrove is Anne Elliot's whining sickly married sister in Jane Austen's Persuasion. She WHINES. She is SICKLY.

  7. Love that you wrote something! I *always* enjoy your writing. :) You should write a book. You know, with all the time you likely don't have. ;) But I bet it would sell really well!

    Here's my contribution (based on a real couple I know):

    The Can't Believe They're Still Together couple
    They seem to fight all the time, and he is always complaining about how much he hates being married to her, but for some reason they're still together. It's like they're trying to mess up all your long-term bets.

    pros: obviously there must be something worthwhile. convenience? really good sex? beating the odds?
    cons: really irritating to be around.

    1. I think we know the same people! THANK you!

  8. I am the scattered-brained, fun one and he works his butt off but has become increasingly funnier. I always say " i taught him everything he knows. I am the funny one."
    We are a good team after 31 years but I have taught him everything he knows. I am sticking to that story.

  9. Even better than the fact that you posted (and the amusing nature of what you posted) is the fact that you and your husband sat around discussing such a delicious topic.

    Loved this.


  10. Oh my gosh, I grew up with parents who were a Volcano (oh, the blaming others for her anger...) + a Laid-Back Guy (even down to the guitar). UGH UGH UGH. Badness.

    I'm not sure if I have enough distance on my own marriage to really say who I am, but I suspect I am a Laura Ingalls and letting go a little bit might make everyone happier. :)

  11. Ooooh, Bea's comment up there is us: "A variation on that one is the Social Convenor/Introvert match-up. Advantage for the introvert = a social life; advantage for the extrovert = a quietly supportive and loyal spouse."

    I am not actually an extrovert, but hubs is SUCH an introvert that I seem extroverted in comparison.

    And guess WHAT? His two very extroverted parents are coming tonight FOR A WEEK.

  12. I snickered an evil snicker over the shared Facebook account.

    1. me too! huge exaggerated eyeroll every time I see that. How co-dependent must people be to do that?

  13. Laughing at some, wincing at others. But mostly just happy you wrote something, I love it!

    The Bean-Counter
    Can be male or female. Love to have exhaustive conversations about money, and tend to start them at night just as their spouse is drifting off to sleep. Buy RRSPs, RESPs, TFSAs, and most of the other letters of the alphabet. Fret about credit ratings, the price of gas, and the state of the Greek bond rating.

    Pros: You will never lose your house.
    Cons: Really, really tedious.

    1. ACK! I'm married to the bean counter!

    2. So am I. How do you think I was able to describe the type so accurately? ;)

      You have my sympathies. Let's go buy shoes.

  14. Mary Musgrove. Ha ha. Perfect mental image. "If you could convince them that I really am not well."

  15. I like these...I would like to think that I don't fall into a category. But it's there. I'm just not admitting which one it is! :0)

  16. What about the Passive/Aggressive spouse? Continually forgets that her man won't eat spinach because she feels he should; freaks out when she tries to play music that she loves and he hates.
    Pros: ummm....
    Cons: I guess you don't have to eat the spinach. You're an adult.

    I know some people like this.

    The Competitive Couple
    Who wins for sarcasm? Other friends might be uncomfortable, but this couple's bickering knows no bounds, all under the guise of "humour."
    Pros: Sometimes they're really funny. And you can pick up some good lines.
    Cons: When it just gets too nasty, and they don't speak for 3 days. Can also be regarded as pro.

  17. oh, the competitive couple as desscribed by edj could describe a whole slew of people I knew in California. It was AWFUL. But they nearly all had the twist of "Competitive Couple wherein the wife always eventually gives in." The husband was usually just the bigger ass.

  18. Either 1) I don't get out enough or 2) I have the best, coolest friends because I don't know anyone like these freaks you're talking about.

    Wait...I just figured out my type: The Egocentric. I have no clue that anyone views the world differently than I do. And it doesn't matter what type my spouse is.

  19. So glad you wrote a little something. I think it's cool you and Bill have conversations like this.

  20. Hey. You have a new blog. You are so super-secret-agent about it, too. Hiding from me?!? Crying over here... Missing Beck's words.

    And I know quite a few of those people on your list.

  21. Hey great knowledge of husband and wife relation , But I just want to tell that I loves my wife very much