Naturally and instinctively mosquitoes get drawn towards light. Nature has designed them so, as this affinity towards light helps them to navigate in the night using the radiance from the stars and the moon. It also provides them with the much-needed warmth in the night in the absence of sunlight. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes and the moths are living in a world, which is dramatically different from the one in which they evolved. Biologically they have evolved and developed a stronger resistance to chemicals and pesticides but instinctively it remains the same. There are machines called Zappers, which have been invented to prevent these mosquitoes from disturbing us. These Zappers have tube-lights surrounded by hot steel mesh. By doing what is natural and instinctive the moths and mosquitoes are attracted to the light in the Zappers. The moment they touch the very hot wire mesh, they are burnt to death. A soft singe, a slight smell of something burning, and all that remains of them is ashes.
Right before my eyes I have seen so many of these tiny winged creatures die an unnatural death. Their instinctive attraction ironically became their fatal attraction. However their death has taught me valuable lessons.
I love my wife and I want to protect her. I feel I am more capable at dealing with people and issues than she is. In the initial stages of our marriage, every time we were alone, she had something to share about her relationship with other people. Sometimes it involved my parents, sometimes her parents, sometimes it involved my friends, sometimes it involved her friends, and so on and so forth.
As she would start to share, the moment I could offer a solution to her I would immediately interrupt her and begin, “See Bharathi, it’s like this and blah… blah…” I would go on and on and on. At the end of that advisory role I would feel so good about myself. My chest would swell with pride and I would pat myself mentally for being a good, loving, caring and a wonderful husband!
For example she would be sharing, “Naren, you know I went to the tailor. She had promised me that I will get my blouse today but she did not give it. I wanted to wear that matching saree today but because of the tailor…” Before she could continue further I would provide that unasked solution, “Next time don’t go to this tailor. Find a new one who has a value to his/her commitments.”
I think an issue has been solved but she is thinking, “Why does he interrupt me every time I want to speak? Why doesn’t he just listen?” She comes to a conclusion that I am not interested in her at all. She becomes resentful and she feels that she is being completely ignored.
WHAT TO DO?
Through years of experience I have learned to hold myself. Instinctively, I would want to respond to save further trouble to my darling wife but ‘No’, this should not be done. Husbands, are you reading? It’s a big, bold, capital NO. For the fact is that she is not asking me to respond at all. She just wants to release herself off her emotional baggage. She is looking for a vent. What is required is a hug, a light kiss, a pat on her back and that’s it. Unless she demands a solution by asking for one, I do not venture into a solution at all. Very sternly, I hold myself off my natural instincts to offer a solution. I remind myself of the fate of the mosquitoes.
The same is applicable to a woman offering a solution to a man or participating in what I call as an interruptive conversation. Women love to talk simultaneously and are amazingly capable of switching subjects while in a conversation without a break in their flow. They can come back to one of the subjects in discussion after tremendous meanderings without batting an eyelid. They believe it builds relationships and it shows involvement and interest in the other person. Now, now, now. This really irritates a man (trust me I know experientially of it) to no ends.
There have been times when I would be expressing my feelings to her and I would be saying, “Darling, do you know how much you mean to…” but before I could complete what I wanted to say, Bharathi would say, “Naren, did you post the letter I gave you yesterday?” Oops!!! I see this as a very rude interruption. The conversation seems meaningless and pointless after this as to me it appears as though I am not allowed my natural expression. To top it all, she is not even talking about the same subject. She has switched the topic of conversation totally. She has me confused and baffled by this behavior. I become resentful and destroy the peace of the house.
WHAT TO DO?
Men do not talk endlessly. Allow them to talk when they are expressing their feelings or offering a solution. Rest assured, they will be out of stock of words very soon. When a wife gives unsolicited advice, men think that you are pointing out at their incompetence and this hurts them badly. Men want to feel in control of their lives at all times.
If you as a wife want your husband to just listen to you and not offer solutions, which actually will come as a relief to him after all the problem solving he had done in the day, all you have to do is to tell him this in very clear terms. “Can you just listen to me for some time?” That’s all. Else he will instinctively think you need solutions.
One beautiful question will simply reveal to us how mindlessly we go on advising each other. The question is: “WILL I REALLY BE SAYING SOMETHING THAT THEY DO NOT ALREADY KNOW???”
As spouses, we have to curb this natural instinct to ADVISE each other. Of course you should offer suggestions if asked for. If my spouse is making a grave mistake, naturally I should be assertive and steer her to the right course.
I am definitely better than a mosquito whose natural instinct becomes a cause for its death. In fact I am indebted to the mosquito for having taught me this invaluable lesson that, if I do not curb my natural instinct to advise, it may become the death of happiness and peace in my marriage. Thank you Mr Mosquito. Thank you for such an important ‘marriage byte’.