Thursday, July 9, 2015

Occam's Razor: The Rule of Husbands

If I had a nickel for every time I got in an argument over something ridiculous with my husband we'd be filthy, stinking rich. But since they don't hand out nickels for bickering, I've been trying to find a more harmonious way to coexist with my husband. It's taken me years to develop this little gem of marital wisdom, so try not to laugh at its simplicity. We'll start with a little example:

I'm counting down the minutes until my husband gets home because it has been a long day with all these monkeys hanging off me and I can't wait for a break. The hour in which my husband usually arrives comes and goes with no husband in sight. So I make a mental list of reasons he's not home yet.

1. He stopped by the store to buy me flowers on the way home because he knows that I've had an exceptionally difficult day. 
2. He stopped for take out so I don't have to cook tonight.
3. He got caught up in a few final things at work or his train was delayed and he's running late.
4. He's bringing home a surprise house guest! Maybe my sister or my bestie who both live in the city where he works.

The most expensive flowers my husband has ever purchased.
They are from the bush in our front yard. 
Tell me I'm not the only one who comes up with romantic reasons my husband is not home yet. Anyone? I mean don't get me wrong, he can be a very romantic guy, but with three kids, a dog and a fixer upper house, our idea of a romantic evening these days is putting Business Time on the calendar and then going to bed at 9:00 pm. Sure, it's possible that he's got some sort of elaborate plan in the works, but is it likely? Nope. Am I smart enough to know this after 8 years of marriage? You'd think so. To make matters worse, once I've concocted all these romantic plans only to have my bubble burst, I am actually disappointed. I set unrealistic expectations for my husband, and then when he failed to meet them, I was crushed. So when my husband finally walks through the door instead of being happy he's home, I'm disappointed.

Now in the heat of the moment, all this makes perfect sense, but as I type this out it seems so absurd. And believe it or not scenarios like this have resulted in arguments or just general dissatisfaction with my life. Why? Because my husband did not read my mind and bring me flowers?  And so after binge watching the geeky Sci-Fi show Eureka a few years ago where the concept of Occam's Razor comes up repeatedly, I developed the Rule of Husbands.  

The principle of Occam's Razor is "when you have two or more competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better." When applied to husbands it's just "the simplest or most obvious explanation for your husband's behavior is usually the right one." Back to my earlier scenario about "why is my husband late?" He's not buying me flowers. He's not picking up take out. He's just running late. It's the simplest, most obvious answer.

This rule comes in so handy when you are sleep deprived, upset, perhaps a little hormonal or when a sensitive subject comes up.

Did he leave the minivan on empty because he's mad at me? Or did he just forget?
Did he leave these dirty socks next to the bed to annoy me? Or was he just in a rush to get out the door this morning?
Did he forget that it's his turn to get up with the baby or is he just so sound asleep he can't hear her?

Maybe I'm the only crazy lady who thinks like this. If I am, feel free to let me know in the comments and I'll go crawl in in a hole of embarrassment. But the next time your husband does something that leaves you wondering "What was he thinking?" let the Rule of Husbands be your guide. 

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