For those of you who are married, you already know what I am about to tell you is the absolute truth. For the rest of you, take note. I have been blissfully married for 34 wonderful years, and I can state unequivocally that the three words you most want to hear from your mate are not, “I love you.” Don’t get me wrong, you want to hear those words as often as you can, but don’t think for one moment those are the words you most want to hear.
Marriage is a unique combination of love, and yes, competition. You compete for all kinds of things including the tug of war on your blanket. You try to make joint decisions whenever you can, and compromise is normally the order of the day, but every once in awhile you take the law into your own hands and dare to make a decision on your own.
That, of course, is when I get into trouble. Like the father in the children’s book, “The Berenstain Bears,” or the father in the “Dick Van Dyke Show,” or the “Danny Thomas Show,” the man in the family is portrayed at best, as a well intentioned fool, and when I make a decision on my own, unfortunately, I invariably reinforce that stereotype.
But once in a blue moon (another idiotic expression) I make the right decision all on my lonesome. This probably happens every decade or so, but when it happens, I hear the most beautiful expression a man can ever wish for, “YOU WERE RIGHT.” Those words are so unfamiliar that when I hear them, I am not sure I hear correctly and ask if they could be repeated again and again. The very sound of these three short words brings joy to my heart!
Now we move on to the next generation, and my daughter, Dr. Kathryn Ross (no relation to Katharine Ross the actress). Kate has seen her parents’ interaction for over 30 years, and she unfortunately knows well that her father — moi — should leave the decision making to Mom. The other day, I actually made a unilateral decision, which turned out, by some complete miracle, to be the right one. After the shock wore off, I heard my daughter utter the following: “You were not wrong.” That is not exactly as good as “You were right,” but I will take what I can get.