You know that breastfeeding meme that’s been going around? “I make milk. What’s your superpower?” Well, I have a different superpower: I can get my husband to do anything I don’t want to do by sighing loudly.
It goes a little something like this …
“Ugh, I forgot to lock the front door,” I’ll say with an audible sigh, just as we’re both falling asleep.
“I’ll do it,” my husband grumbles, shrugging off the covers to do what I don’t want to: get up from our warm cozy bed.
And just like that: problem solved.
I don’t do it on purpose, I swear. It just happens. Honestly. I don’t usually even notice it when I do it.
Take what happened last Wednesday, for instance. My husband had just gotten home from work, kicked off his shoes, and plopped down with his computer for some downtime on Facebook.
Just then, the doorbell rang.
I was in the middle of a furious Bejeweled Blitz session and was about to beat Hilary Hurwitz’s high score. There was no way I was going to just get up from my game and default to her; so I sighed. Not too loudly mind you, but just loud enough to be heard by my husband in the next room.
“I’ll get the door,” my husband offered, pulling himself out of his favorite chair.
I felt a pang of guilt for making him get up when he’d just sat down after a hard day, but hey, it’s not every day you have a chance to beat Hilary Hurwitz at Bejeweled Blitz.
But the sighing thing … I’m telling you, it works.
Just yesterday when the basement drier buzzed that the perma-press shirts were done, I was surfing the Web for more important things to do than hang shirts, so I sighed. Loudly.
“Okay, okay,” said my husband. “I’m going. I’ll hang the shirts. You just sit.”
And so I sat, clicking on a photo while pondering how my husband and I have seriously opened new horizons in wordless communication.
The beauty of sighing, you see, is that it forces your partner to use his critical thinking skills. New to the technique? Think of sighing as cognitive exercise; something that’s good for the brain! You sigh and your partner has to stop and think about what it means. There may be clues, but there are never words.
And as long as your partner is forced to read your sighs and fill your heart’s desire, his brain is going to stay razor sharp. So in a sense, you’re helping him.
Last week when I came home from my book club, my husband was eating a sandwich. Dang, that looks good, I thought, so I sighed.
“Want me to make you one?” he asked.
“Nah, I don’t want to take you away from your sandwich,” I reasoned quietly.
He then handed me his sandwich before going to make another, “It’ll only take a couple of minutes,” he whistled cheerfully.
I chowed down, not realizing how hungry I was.
“This is good,” I told him. “Thanks, dear.”
That’s always been our dynamic: I sigh, he does. And while I swear I don’t do it on purpose most of the time, I have to confess there are times that I do.
Like when the baby makes a poop I think to myself, Oh my God, I must have changed five poopy diapers today. I can’t deal with this. I just can’t! Then I remember, my husband’s here; and I softly sigh before pretending to get up from the table. Only this time, my husband doesn’t move (aside from placing another piece of meatloaf into his mouth).
So I sigh again — a bit louder this time — as my husband continues chewing thoughtfully. I slam my glass down on the table, this time sighing very loudly.
This gets his attention. “Whaaa?” he asks, slack-jawed.
“Nothing,” I mumble, sighing this time for real.
As I get up to change the baby, he wakes him from his reverie, at last.
“Sit, sit,” he insists and motions me back to my chair. “I’ll take care of it.”
“No, you worked hard today. I’ll do it,” I offer, sighing again.
“It’s fine,” he repeats. “Sit.”
“Well, if you really don’t mind,” I concede, sighing very softly. “Thank you, honey.”
“My pleasure,” he answers, beaming a smile my way.
And just like that, he does the thing I don’t want to do. And I didn’t even have to ask.
The thing is, no one likes to ask for favors; least of all me. And asking can make you look selfish. This way, I never have to look bad, like I’m exploiting my husband’s good nature. And sighing? It’s just a noise that I make sometimes. Is it my fault it makes him do stuff for me?
Later that night, as we took an after dinner stroll, we passed by an ice cream place. And even though I wasn’t really hungry, I sighed.
“Want some ice cream, dear?” he asked. I couldn’t help but smile; I’ve got him so well-trained.