Lioness 3.0’s arrival is difficult for me to accept. I’m not complaining. She is letting me know what truly bothers her. Some of these things feel challenging to me on a pretty deep level. Her recent post, Time For A Change, is a perfect example. In that post, she explained that she hates it when I respond to her declaration that she might have a cold with me worrying that I might catch it.
She sees this as me making her illness about me instead of her. I never thought of it that way. She has a point. My thoughts immediately went to the ten or more days I spend in bed with a bad cold. That is selfish of me. But that’s not the point at all. The big news is that Mrs. Lion was willing to let me know that it bothers her when I do that. Further, she announced that I will be punished if I do it again. Score for 3.0!
I never realized that I was upsetting her. I didn’t think I was being selfish or thoughtless. If 3.0 wasn’t visiting, I would have continued with this thoughtless behavior. Well, I still might do it, but I will suffer if I do. 3.0 didn’t concern herself with why I would say that. She knows. But she wasn’t looking to rationalize my statement. She was hurt. That’s enough.
I’ve been in relationships where my partner would let me know when I did or said things she didn’t like. Invariably, she would make me miserable about what I did. It was emotional punishment that pushed us apart. Mrs. Lion is taking a much healthier route. She tells me what bothers her and then punishes me for any future repetition. It’s clean and non-guilt provoking. There is no room for me to object or argue; and no further recriminations from Mrs. Lion. It’s a simple, “Do it again and you will be spanked.”
Some might see this as unfair. After all, what I said wasn’t intended to hurt her. It never occurred to me that it could. Susan, in a comment, argued that Mrs. Lion was being unfair:
“Why make a mountain out of a molehill? It’s an honest statement and don’t pretend that you would not say it the other way around or maybe think it. So what’s the problem? He just announces a fact nothing more nothing less, that’s how men work.”
She went on to say:
“He just stated a fact nothing more nothing less 100% without even thinking about it. Did you ever tell him, that it offends you? If not, you don’t have the right to make it punishable from now on.”
The fact is that she did tell me. She announced it in her post. She didn’t punish me for saying it the other day. She put me on notice that I will be punished if I do it again in the future. This has nothing at all to do with whether or not the statement is honest or correct. It offends Mrs. Lion because it shows I’m not thinking of her at a time when I clearly should. 3.0 will not stand for that.
The biggest question hasn’t been answered. Will Mrs. Lion actually follow through if I repeat this behavior? So far, I haven’t been punished for being a know-it-all or recently interrupting. I believe that Mrs. Lion has taken the most difficult step: she’s informed me that I offended or hurt her. This is epic! It’s the kind of action that will strengthen our marriage. I hope she will follow through as needed.
We’ve learned that prompt, consistent, severe punishment will change my behavior. It works. We’ve also learned that there are no negative side effects to this apparently-extreme exercise of wifely power. If anything, it turns out that it is benign. A sore bottom and a soapy mouth do teach me. Yes, my bottom and my pride is hurt. But that is a small price to pay for positive change. There is no guilt, no going to bed angry. It’s a clear, clean exchange that eventually results in making me a better husband