SOUL PAROLE: Making Peace with My, Mind, GOD and Myself Preview. Available January 2012.
Monday, February 14, 2011
My Wife and "The Change!" A Husband's Survival Guide!
Between my wife's few days of pre-menstrual hormonal mood shifting, the actual cycle, and the post cycle mood swings, I have approximately 2 days a month that her mood is not affected by these evil hormones. I have learned to live with it to some degree. In fact we are so connected she says I have a "man period" along with her. I do not disagree.
One day last week I was eating everything in the house. I had 2 sweet-n-salty granola bars, 2 bowls of cereal, ice cream and leftover cold fettuccine. I was so ravenous that I called my wife. She assured me that there was nothing to worry about. We were due in 2 days. I have learned to roll with it and not overreact when she is acting like Sybil on a coffee drinking binge. Her instant emotional shifts, that change like someone is switching them on or off, I can handle. When she makes it to the happy personality, that is when I talk to her about the important stuff.
The worst is when my daughters and wife are all together for any length of time. It becomes the "Sistahood of the travelling menstrual pants." Any man worth his salt knows that a woman has regular clothes and "period clothes". These special garments are usually more comfortable, have more ventilation and are just a bit bigger than the regular sized clothing to account for the wretched bloating. Men: feel free to take notes on this chapter. It may save your marriage or your life.
When the three of them have merged their cycles into one evil menstrual demon, I get out the holy water and fill my schedule with a lot of "out of the house business." I have made it through the years with the help of God and up until the last few years booze. They are now split up around the world so the powers they held as a menstrual trinity has been broken. It amazes me how much power a tiny little egg, working it's way to evacuation, can hold so much control over the egg keeper.
All of these incidents and cycles have made me a stronger man, husband and father. I have learned to read the signs like a Cherokee scout examining hoof tracks in the great forest. I know when to approach the Squaws' and respect the spirits that bind them. However, nothing could prepare me for the chaos and emotional confusion that my wife has introduced to me by way of "THE CHANGE." The doctor who coined this term was obviously sharing a home with a woman in the midst of this phenomena when he came up with it. He made it sound so innocuous for fear of losing his life or worse, facing his wife's wrath.
Squeaky has a thyroid malfunction and her family has a history of entering this dark phase of existence early in the mid-40's. She is 44 and we are smack dab in the middle of an emotional tempest! The wild card is how long and how severe "The Change" will last. This is true for the long and the short term. I felt it my duty to enlighten men who may be experiencing this with a loved one now or in the near future. Please be comforted in knowing your wife is not Satan's spawn. There will be brief periods of calm and brief periods of storms. When your wife is going through it, the man must have a bronc riding mentality. Just hold on to the reigns and hope the ride only lasts a few seconds and pray you don't get permanently injured when thrown.
The two most important rules for men dealing with the afflicted woman is that whatever she says, do it. The second thing is whatever she says do it! You must be comfortable with wearing sweatshirts in the summer and having a high electric bill in the summer time. The "Hot Flash" is a mighty foe and will present itself at any time, in any place. If you are driving in the dead of winter and she turns to you with madness in her eyes claiming it is 8,000 degrees in the car. It is! Roll down a window or turn on the air. "The Change" comes complete with it's own weather patterns that usually conflict with physical reality. If you wish to survive, follow every instruction to the letter. Up is down, cold is hot, yes means no and so on.
When you have fallen into a deep, restful sleep be wary. "The Change" loves to come out in the dead of night and with a fury. If you feel the sheet is slightly wet, not to worry. It is not incontinence. It is the sweat dripping off your precious wife. During these late night flare ups do not be surprised if your wife turns to you and says "I love you, I need you and screw you!" in the span of about 20 seconds. Accept all three responses as being of equal weight. She means all three. If you find yourself dealing with her in a particularly foul mood, hang in there, she will be morphing into a different person in just a few moments.
The other two important keys to survival are responses to food and fashion. During this transition of life there are times when you will think your wife is pregnant or has a binging disorder. Strange combinations of sweet and salty, burgers to beef jerky, ice cream to ice cubes are not to be questioned. Let them feed. Any comment you make in regards to what or how much she is eating will be met with rabid lashings. Just shut up and get her what she wants.
When it comes to fashion men have one set. Women have multiple lines of clothing for whatever stage of the month they are in and choices should never be questioned. If your wife comes down the stairs in a mumu and a cowboy hat compliment her on how beautiful she looks. If you question her outfit selection you are in for a sobbing breakdown or verbal undressing. Remember this too shall pass. If your wife feels the need to go shopping for different clothes, let her. You may think she has plenty of sweaters and pants. She needs different ensembles to make her transition as comfortable as possible.
Above all, always keep your cool. Over the centuries countless men have tried to figure out "The Change" and alter its course in their loved one. Few have made it. This rite of passage is not meant to be interpreted by man, only accepted and adhered to. Period! By my estimations I have approximately 10 more years of enduring the fury of my wife's midlife change. I pray a lot. I drive to the store at strange hours returning with exotic foods. I bite my tongue a lot and have decided to live with the beast instead of trying to tame it. To my fellow man I wish you good luck on this journey.