The other day, I took my car in for an oil change. It was a bit overdue, and I had a coupon, so I ended up at the local Midas with my fiance. While we waited for the mechanics to get done with my car, we chatted some with the manager. He saw that we were a young couple, so he ended up telling us the story of how he met his wife. It went something like this.
“I’m not from here originally; I’m from up north. I came down here 30 years ago for a two week bike trip. But close to the end of the trip I got into a wreck; some woman hit me as I was driving down a mountain. I ended up in the hospital for awhile. Right before I was supposed to be released the nurse came to do one last check and I told her, ‘I’m only here for a day or two more. Wanna go on a date?’ I didn’t think she’d say yes, but she did. I got back up north, and after a couple weeks I called her and said, ‘I’m thinking of moving down south.’ And she said, ‘Okay. You can move in with me.’ So I moved in with her and her roommate, and six months later we were married. We’ve been together 30 years now. That’s a lot longer than most guys my age.”
At that point my thought was, How cute!
Then he added, “Thirty years…it’s about time for me to get a new one, don’t you think? Ha ha ha.”
The cuteness vanished. Instead of thinking how sweet his story was, I felt sorry for his wife. I don’t know his life, or his relationship, or his wife. But I would bet that he doesn’t say stuff like that to her. To me, it sounded like he still loves her. I mean, he told us their story in detail, and seemed proud that his marriage had lasted longer than many of his friends’, even if it was because it began earlier.
I could be wrong, of course. It could’ve been that they married when they were very young, and realized they weren’t right for each other, but stayed together anyway. They could be having issues. I don’t know. But that comment really rubbed me the wrong way.
Making that thoughtless comment, in my opinion, devalues the person you’ve committed your life to, for better or worse. Most marriages, at least in the beginning, are entered into because two people love each other and plan on doing so by combining their lives for, hopefully, the rest of them. Thirty years ago, the man that did my oil change loved and valued his wife enough to envision a life with her, and to commit to her. But now he feels okay joking that it’s been 30 years, and for whatever reason — they don’t love each other anymore? he’s restless? she’s too old? — he should “get a new one.”
It’s been said, but I’ll say again — women aren’t like cars that you can just replace when you get tired of them, or when they quit running as well as they used to, or when you decide you like the newer model better. Marriage is a serious commitment, and whatever your situation is, you’re not going to make it any better by joking about replacing your wife like you would a vehicle.
As I said above, I bet the man doesn’t say stuff like that to his wife, even jokingly. And I do understand that the comment was meant as a joke. But why is staying married to your wife for 30 years, which to me is an incredible accomplishment, something he felt like he needed to make an excuse for? Does staying married to one person, admitting you love her to strangers, make you feel so uncomfortably vulnerable that you have to joke that oh, I don’t love her that much?
I know he didn’t mean any of this. Even my fiance, when I mentioned it later, didn’t think anything of it. It’s seen as normal, because tons of guys make this joke. Everyone gets that it’s a joke, so it’s okay. Right?
I don’t think so. To me, a woman who will be a wife very soon, it sounded harsh and stinging. I wouldn’t have wanted to have been his wife, even though she wasn’t around to hear the comment. I’m tired of jokes like this, about wives being the “ball and chain” and about how 30 years is too long to have one wife, especially given the fact that marriage is more beneficial for men than women. See this quote from the link:
“Not marrying or cohabiting is less detrimental among woman than men,” said Dr George Ploubidis, a population health scientist at the UCL Institute of Education.
“Being married appears to be more beneficial for men.”
I’m ready for us as a society to quit devaluing women as wives. Not spouting off comments like the one he made would be a great place to start.
Good points. I, too, understand that it’s “just a joke”, but does that mean that we should? I don’t think so. I thinking shows a lacknofnrespect, almost along the same lines as racial jokes, blond jokes, jokes about the disabled, or any other joke done in distaste. It’s not just a matter of being “politically correct”, it a matter of showing tolerance, acceptance, understanding, and respect.
Thanks for speaking out. Well said.
Exactly! There are other, much more funny jokes that could have been made.
I loved this read. I can’t even imagine why he had to add that. Like why would he talk about it with such interest to share like he actually truly loved his wife and then add that line. Was it meant to be a joke? Did he think that’s funny? Those are the only reasons I can think of.
Hey, your parental unit showed you how to change the oil yourself, that would had saved all this heartache! Problem solved.
Girl, PREACH. Ugh this upsets me so much when I hear guys or society or anyone/anything talking about women, particurarly in marriages, as if they’re objects the men tire of over time. Even jokingly…its not very funny.
I completely agree, girlfriend.There seems to be a silent (or not so silent, really) rule/understanding that marriage is a “life sentence” to the man. Yet, on the other hand, marriage is portrayed as the ultimate dream life goal (man or woman). There’s definitely a very real and hypocritical double-standard here and it’s always bothered me. I waited on a customer last week and ALL he did was bash his wife the entire time… “Gotta keep the ol’ woman happy if it’s even possible”; “Are you sure this is right? She’ll be really mad at me if it’s not. She’ll nag me all night long”… it was absolutely non-stop.The customer is “always right” so I bit my tongue. He actually came back a few days later because he asked for the wrong items and he did it again with the verbal bashing: “She says she wants one thing when she needs something else! Then I’m the one that has to run all her errands. ‘Happy wife; happy life’-ha! Ain’t no such thing.” More than angry it actually made me really upset… I just filed divorce from my husband. Apparently my soon to be ex-husband shared this customer’s view on marriage “on the outside” while being the seemingly perfect devoted and love-struck spouse at home with me. I just flat out don’t understand the disconnect… but it needs to stop. You love your wife or you don’t. You want to be married or you don’t. It’s really that simple.
So sorry to hear about your divorce. And you are absolutely right. If people really believe marriage is a so-called life sentence, why propose at all?
As they say: ‘Woman: without her, man is nothing’ XD Unfortunately, this reluctance to display visible affection for spouses is something I observe in my own parents, and I thought it must be a cultural thing seeing as I come from a rather traditional Asian family. Hopefully that couple would be able to find ways to renew and revitalise their marriage after these past 30 years.
I hope so, too. My parents are a bit like that as well. I’m hoping my fiance and I can take these examples and come up with something better.
Have you seen that webcomic, it’s like four panels, and it’s these three dudes at work talking about their evening plans and two of the dudes are like “I’m going to the bar to avoid my wife,” and “ugh, my wife is going to nag me as soon as I get home!” and the they ask the third guy where he’s going and he’s like “I’m going home to hang out with my wife. Because I like her. That’s why I married her.”
I have not but I love that!
I live in a community where the divorce rate seems (to me) unreasonably high. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this and I’d say love isn’t enough. I believe that mutual respect is as important for the health of a relationship. That you intuitively see this before you’re even married bodes well for your future.
So, so very true. I hope that is the case.
Wow, if someone would say that to me I would probably ask them why they thought they had to add that to the conversation. That comment was extreme and there is a lot of devaluing wives in general, but at the same time when guys are with guys they will act differently and most things hey say won’t mean anything to them. Of course it’s not ok to say things like that but in a smaller scale there is a concept that when a couple doesn’t speak openly about their problems, the frustration will sneak its way into random conversations to let off some of the aggravation the spouse is feeling.
Part of me wishes I had said something. You definitely bring up a good point.
Exactly layvi. there should be couple goal which is the responsibility of both partners.
For sure, there has to be effort on all sides for true happiness