Friday, 18 April 2014

Are You Good at Taking the Temperature?

When it comes to the temperature levels in a room, my wife and I have considerably different comfort levels.  She has a fairly narrow range.  I think her range is 71 degrees, give or take a half a degree.  On the other hand, I am always cold.  I would wear my winter jacket in the middle of summer if I wasn’t self-conscious about being ridiculed.  It does me little good to go to the thermometer because regardless of what it reads I know I’m cold.  However my wife can check the thermometer and turn the thermostat up or down depending on whether she is hot or cold.

Thermometers record the ambient temperature while thermostats control and regulate the ambient temperature.  Most of you probably have known that fact since you were three.  But it is also possible to sense the “emotional” temperature of a room.  If I come home and my wife has had a particularly trying day I can sense it.  It could be her body language, facial expression, tone of voice, or most telling is that I don’t get a hug and/or kiss when I grace her with my presence.  I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve, as the expression goes, and my wife knows pretty quickly how my day has been.  My wife is not only a good thermometer she is an incredible thermostat.  If I do come home with a case of the grumpies she is quick to snap me out of it.  Usually I am able to respond and that changes the mood for the balance of the evening.

Being a guy I am not nearly as good at being a thermometer or a thermostat.  I’m convinced that at birth most men get an oblivious gene.  I am not very good about picking up subtle signs that things in Camelot are not as they should be.  Fortunately for me my wife is willing to say “I need a hug”.  I can’t tell you what a blessing that is.

Too many wives feel they should not have to provide their husband with an emotional clue and they are right.   They believe “he ought to know”.  When he fails to see that you are frazzled and his first question is “what’s for dinner” you want to hit him over the head with the pot roast that you didn’t get made.  Why - because the washing machine broke down, your three year old attempted to flush the cat down the toilet and your mother called to tell you how fabulous your sister is.

Figure out a signal between the two of you to avoid either of you having to guess.  The one who had a good day gets to be the thermostat.

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