At the Psych Central website, Dr. Suzanne Phillips recently wrote a column about how we can improve our relationships with our spouses by treating them the way we treat our pets.
In the piece, she explains that many pet owners say they love their dogs and cats because they’re not demanding and love unconditionally. Which isn’t necessarily the way human relationships work.
And yet …
When was the last time your husband barfed in your purse? Ate your socks? Peed on the living room rug? Rolled around in mud and then jumped on the bed?
The truth is that pets are demanding, and while they do seem to love unconditionally, in reality there are often certain terms that need to be met first. Anyone who has lived with a cat understands that.
And yet we forgive our dogs and cats their many faults and their demands on our time, showering them with love, kisses and more than a little lovely dovey talk.
Dr. Phillips says that in our sessions with couples, she hears often that partners “wish to receive the kind of love and attention the pet is getting.”
She does have a point. I mean, every day we’ll tell our dogs how much we love them, how great we think they are, and how happy they make us, while we wait for a Hallmark holiday to tell our spouse the same thing.
Dr. Phillips offers some thoughts on how to improve our human relationships by treating people the way we treat our dogs and cats. You know. Avoid holding grudges, greet everyone enthusiastically, assume the best.
Well, if she’s sure that’s what we’re supposed to do …
From now on I’ll make my husband sit quietly and then shake my hand before I give him dinner. When he starts to get on my last nerve, I’ll lock him in a crate. When he comes home from work, I’ll jump on him and bite his hands and then bark for 10 minutes to let him know how happy I am to see him. And when he’s demanding my attention, I’ll do what I do with the dogs: take them outside and spray them with the garden hose.
That should really help the relationship, don’t you think?