Thursday, May 3, 2012

Inside the Husband Triangle

I have a lot of needs.

When it comes to making me happy, my husband must complete a complicated series of feats in which he is part home helper, part mind reader, part amateur psychologist, and on some days, part rabid bear wrangler.

I think it would be fair to say that approximately 96% of all the discord in our marriage originates from me. This is because it is remarkably easy to keep my husband happy, as long as I stay inside what I've come to think of as my husband's "happiness triangle".

What is the happiness triangle, you ask? Well, allow me to spend 64 seconds using my wildly limited word processing skills to illustrate:

The above represents the three key aspects to my husband's overall personal contentment. 

Back when I was dating David I remember spending a lot of time wondering what he was thinking. Now that we have lived together for over four years, I've come to realize that there is an excellent chance that the answer to that question is

"Gee, I really wish I had some brownies."

Which brings us to the opening point of the happiness triangle:


That old saying that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach? The person who came up with that was clearly some sort of crazy genius. My husband and I have seen some hard times in our short time together, and it never ceases to amaze me how effectively I can soothe my husband's heartaches with a well-timed baked good. It's nothing short of astounding.


The second part of the happiness triangle is words of encouragement. Now, when I need encouragement, I have a tendency to just scream things at my husband like, 

"Look at my hands! Do they look like crazy old lady witch hands to you? DO THEY?"

My husband takes a different approach in that he never ever complains about anything and rarely gives voice to his concerns. Still, I know that it's important every once in a while to give him a totally unsolicited pat on the back, to tell him what a great job I think he's doing at home and at work, and to reassure him that every little thing is gonna be alright. Sometimes, on very rare, special occasions, I will even use his most-beloved phrase, "Honey, you are right."


This is a very important part of the happiness triangle that I will not be explaining in detail due to the fact that my Dad reads the blog. I trust you to figure this one out for yourselves, K?

And that's THE WHOLE THING. I mean sure, there are other things my husband enjoys: he's a reader, he's ambitious in his work, and he loves it when his favorite sports team wins. There are plenty of points in the overall happiness mosaic, but as his wife, if I stay firmly within the above triangle, I know that my husband will be reasonably content for pretty much, like, ever.

Seems simple, right? Unfortunately, like most things, living within the happiness triangle is easier said than done. I carefully explained the triangle theory to a girlfriend recently. She agreed that her husband had similarly simple needs, and we came to the conclusion that the rest of our marital lives would be defined by "post happiness triangle revelation" married bliss.

Earlier this week she texted me:

  • FRIEND: Are you inside the triangle?
  • ME: Not exactly, yelling at husband b/c he 4got to tell me about upcoming weekend work plans.
  • FRIEND: Oh no! Where does this fit in the triangle???
  • ME: Oh, we are FIRMLY outside the triangle at present.

It turns out that knowing and doing are two different things. But all I can tell ya is that at least I have a goal...