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On Understanding Men: 9 Things Wives Will Never Get About Their Husbands

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By Ben Schrank

The author of the big-hearted novel about marriage Love Is a Canoe tells us what's really going on with our better halves.

The Thing About Our Mumbling Monotone
The way we say "I love you" sounds flat and weird and robotic, but that doesn't mean we don't love you. We just sound like a robot. But we are not a robot. Because, hopefully, you would not have married a robot. But you might have married a man who sounds an awful lot like one.

The One Place We'll Always Bomb Out
The supermarket. We can never be inventive enough. We are happy to do the shopping, but we will buy recycling bags and new sponges, Raisin Bran and peanut butter and... nothing fun ever. We're sorry.

When You Need To Lie (And When You Don't)
We like being told that we look good on the way out the door before a dinner party just as much as any woman does, even if we are wearing a plaid shirt and a tweed blazer in a way that does not read as "fun." We also will need to be told if we smell bad and that we should go do something about it because knowing we smell bad doesn't necessarily trigger a need in us not to smell bad. ''So just tell us to go take a shower and then hide the outfit and say we must've lost it. We'll believe you.

What To Do About Race-Walking Strangers In The Airport
Why do we need to beat random people on the walking escalator -- even people who are going to a different gate? Why did we leave you behind? Unless we actually lose you, please, please, let it go. Our competitive nature is embarrassing and quite dumb, but we can't get free of it, and telling us about it won't make it go away.

The Truth About That Look
Take any random afternoon. We are glaring. We are frowning. We have been silent for two hours. It does not mean we have stopped loving you. We're just driving the car or wondering why someone we report to hates us or missing Led Zeppelin and wondering if My Morning Jacket is the new Zeppelin and perhaps we're too old for that music but should we embrace it anyway if we had more time, if we were more comfortable with the Cloud and digital music... We are really getting worked up. But it's not about you. We love you. And we are not going to tell you why we were so unhappy-looking just now because we are embarrassed about it, and now that you've asked twice, the truth is we can't remember, and we are not going to admit that, either.

Our Secret Turn-On
Pilly cotton underwear. Both intimate and sexy.

Our Secret View On Change
Just because we don't try new things (teal sweaters, two-week cruises with our in-laws, soy milk) doesn't mean we're against trying new things. We might say we want spaghetti with meatballs the size of grapefruits, but if you say "Why don't we make a kale salad instead?" we are going to do it and like it just as much. We are grown-up now, and we know what's good for us even if it's not the first thing we pull out of the fridge.

Why We Think Being Silent Helps
Because if we're not talking, we can't say something critical or annoying. We will never understand that being silent can seem critical or annoying. Because we are not talking!

What We Most Want You To Know
We know there are things you do that we take for granted and don't celebrate enough (like waking up with our baby and feeding him breakfast far, far more than we'd like to admit), and we also know we think it's a big deal when we tell you you're beautiful, when that's something we can never tell you enough times. We know that taking the big chores you do for granted while always remembering to tell you we love you and think you're astonishing will never balance out, but every single time, we are going to hope, foolishly, that somehow, it will.

Ben Schrank is the author of Love Is a Canoe. You can reach him at benschrank.com.

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