In today’s Greenwich-Post, Joe Pisani writes of a nasty divorce in which two no-longer-in-love people are viciously fighting over the custody of their miniature dachshund, Joey. “I suspect every man wants to be loved as much as little Joey,” Pisani writes. “If we loved our spouses as much as our dogs, there would be peace on Earth and fewer divorce lawyers.”
Seriously, right? The expression “treat like a dog” has a strange negative connotation. We usually don’t say, “He’s treating me like a dog” or “I treated that guy like a dog” when we’re talking about people we revere and shower with affection, but this makes no sense. Most dog owners treat their dogs with more kindness and affection than they treat their spouses, mothers, and in some cases, their own children. When my dog is sick, I talk to her soothingly. I clean up her upchuck for her, and I gently stroke her fur. Do I do the same for my husband? Not. Exactly.
Sure, I might do a few extra things for him — perhaps close the bedroom door so I don’t wake him by accident. But clean up after him? Okay, sure, there was this one time, but trust me on this. It was an unusual situation, and you don’t want the details.
It got me thinking: What would happen if I treated my husband like a dog? What would that even look like? What would change? How would it affect our relationship? No, I wouldn’t clip a collar to his neck and lead him around with a leash (well, not outside of our bedroom, anyway). And I wouldn’t force him to eat kibble from a bowl on the floor. Nor would I continually mention his body odor or beg other family members to please give him a bath. But I would:
- Cuddle with him on the couch, with our bodies pressed up close, and lovingly stroke his arm, shoulder, back, or neck.
- Greet him excitedly. “Did you miss me!!? I missed you, too!”
- Forgive him or even feel bemused when he just can’t stop himself from doing something he knows I don’t want him to do.
- Be effusively positive whenever he does something I ask – “Good boy! Such a gooooooood boy!”
- Go for walks with him on a regular basis.
- Hold his hand in the event he ever needs to be poked or prodded by a doctor.
- Encourage him to have play dates with his buddies, and understand that those man friends fill a void that I will never be able to fill.
If I did all of that? It would improve our relationship. There is no doubt.
So should you treat your spouse like a dog? Go for it!
Read more of Alisa’s writing at ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com.