I know my wife loves me. That is not the issue. The issue is that I’m a man and I therefore like to rank things. That in itself wouldn’t be an issue except that I don’t rank very high in our family hierarchy. The way I see it I’m in a close race with our two chickens for eighth place. (At least I get to sleep inside most days.)

I’m convinced this is a fairly common issue for men, even though we do not mention it. If you think I’m being unreasonable consider these scenarios:

  • Our Shih-tzu poops on the kitchen floor and my wife cleans it up without an issue. I leave a pair of underwear on the bathroom floor and suddenly our house is contaminated and must be cleaned throughout immediately (by me.)
  • Our golden retriever stinks horribly after eating dead animals, but still gets a hug and some kisses. I pass gas and get banished from the room.
  • Cleaning my son’s ferret cage is no big deal for my wife, but having to pick up a cup that I left in the den almost breaks her.

I could go on but I think you get the idea. I totally understand my kids taking the top spot around our house, but I don’t like competing with the pets. I’m pretty sure the pets know this too. They give me a smug look every time I’m getting a lecture about leaving my clothes on the floor or something similar. It seems the only way I can move up in rank is when one of our pets dies or goes missing. (For the record, I had nothing to do with the disappearance of our duck.)

Here are my suggestions for handling it:

  1. Don’t have pets – This gets harder with children. I finally reached the point where I could easily tell my wife “no” and then we had a daughter. It’s a lot harder to say “no” when my daughter comes up with the animal in her hands begging to have it.
  2. Keep pets with short lives – Hamsters and gerbils do not usually live as long as dogs and cats. Around our house chickens don’t last too long either, but I’m not sure why that is. I’m suggesting frogs and lizards for my kids from this point forward.

But seriously: Are we guilty of showing compassion to everyone except our spouse? What would your spouse say gets more of your affection? Do you show more interest and understanding for friends, coworkers or strangers?

What about you? What puts you in second place – or further down the list?



Photo by Ladd Greene on Unsplash