Golden Rules, I Told You So, and Loki Level Manipulation

Now that I’m married, I can definitely see why marriage is so controversial in America. Insofar as America is built around individuality and liberty, marriage seems to be built around the erosion of the individual. Forget about liberty.

However, some Americans also feel that there are conflicts between marriage and Christian values and teachings.

I’ve considered what the Bible advises about marriage, and I’m not convinced that it offers the best advice for my strong female character.

So I turned to the Golden Rule:

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” Matthew, 7:12.

In my marriage, this rule is not so golden. Consider this:

Hans & Chewie, Master Yoda, and Darth Maul walk into a bar. They play a game, but they don’t let the wookie win. Han Solo translates for Chewie:

“Would you mind if I try to pull your arms off now?”

Hans Solo and Master Yoda would prefer that Chewie not try to pull off their arms.

“Are you up for it, Darth Maul?”

Darth Maul would nod. He wouldn’t mind tussling with a wookie at all.

But I bet Darth Maul’s wife would like him to talk more. Unfortunately, Darth Maul prefers to only utter profound truths.

(Apparently I’m not the first to think of this criticism of the Golden Rule.)

Still, the Golden Rule has recently helped me to manage my wonderful wife.

When my wonderful wife is right about something, she loves to tell me that she’s right about something. The top three sentences I’ve heard since our wedding?

“I told you so.”

“See? Didn’t I tell you so?”

“You act like I didn’t tell you that already.”

My wife says one or two of these three sentences even if I preface my statements with:

“I was thinking about what you said the other day…”

“I realized that you were right about…”

“Don’t tell me you were right because I’m telling you right now that you were right.”

If your wife is like mine, don’t ever try this one:

“I told you so. I told you that yesterday. You called me an idiot. Remember that? Well, who was right?”

That turned into a difficult week.

I’ve been trying to get my wife to listen to Bob Dylan.

She has taken a firm stance in the past, declaring that Bob Dylan is terrible. My wife is proud — I keep waiting for her to speak in the third person — so she will not want to admit that she is wrong.

This called for a subtle scheme.

Last weekend, I convinced my wife to watch Part 1 of Martin Scorsese’s documentary about Bob Dylan, No Direction Home. The next morning, I got an email from my wife. It read “That documentary was OK. Let’s watch the second half later this week.”

I could have said “I told you so.”

To be honest, I wanted to spray paint “I TOLD YOU SO! BOB DYLAN RULES!” across the doors of my wife’s shoe closet.

But I didn’t.

I wouldn’t want to be treated that way, though I wouldn’t mind if she spray painted “Dylan Rules” on my closet.

Instead, I wrote this:

“It was nice to sit with you and the cats to watch that movie last night. I think Nia really liked it. Martin Scorsese did a great job of editing all those interviews!”

The trick is to give credit to things that my wife likes: her cats, the couch, and Martin Scorsese’s directing. Not Dylan. But she’s learning about him. She’s getting the songs stuck in her head. She doesn’t have to admit that she’s wrong.

If I may, that’s a post-doctorate application of the Golden Rule.

And it’s Loki level manipulation.

Now we’ll see if this works.

Because if it doesn’t, it means that my diabolical wife is manipulating me somehow…


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