I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but some time ago I stopped making Sven prove that he loves me. What do I mean? Well, I guess some people would call it “testing” their guy to see if he makes the right decision, thereby proving that he loves you. For example, a few years ago, I might tell Sven, “It’s totally up to you if you want to come with me to [insert random acquaintance]’s engagement party. I’m just going to stop by for like an hour anyway.”
I would leave out the part about there being consequences based on his decision, which was “totally up to him,” of course. Come with me for the insufferable hour of making small talk with strangers – and get sex and cuddling later. Decide to stay home or hang out with your own buddies instead, and I will use this against you at some future date of my choosing.
I get why women do this. Men are like dogs, and we have to train them to behave properly. They get rewarded when they do good and punished when they do bad. But there were two reasons why this was never going to be a long-term successful strategy for me:
1. I realized we both suffered when Sven made the “wrong” decision
2. Sven has an almost-irrational fear of being whipped.
Sven began to refuse to make decisions. He’d ask, “What do you want to do for your birthday?” and I’d say, “Oh, nothing special. Anything you plan will be great.” Then he’d reply, “No no no…you must tell me what you want to do, because if what I plan isn’t good enough, then it will be a miserable day.” (Sven likes to exaggerate, but at least I did train him not to make the wrong decision.) So, I just started point-blank asking for what I wanted. This year, I texted Sven to book tickets to a show I wanted to see, and that was that. (My birthday was yesterday!)
Sven has seen guys who sit through chick flicks with their girlfriends and leave a party the hot second their wives call them – and vehemently decided he does not want to be like them. Even though I consider myself pretty cool about that kind of thing, Sven still occasionally refuses to do something with me, lest he feel whipped. (See: ballroom dance classes.)
So, I no longer test Sven to read my mind. I just tell him what I want, and if he refuses, then we fight about it, and I eventually win. Better than navigating a party full of strangers on my own. Kidding! It’s probably boring to say, but I like the comfort of knowing that my husband loves me no matter what decisions he makes, even if they conflict with my preferences. There are many other ways that he shows me he loves me every single day. Aww.