My wife showed me a thing online the other day offering special classes for men. Like “How to put the toilet lid down” and “Yes, you can wash dishes.”

I don’t know if she was hinting that I should enroll in some of these courses. I’ve been married a long time; I could teach a few of them. 

For instance, in Spousal Communications 101, when your wife tells you, “We don’t have to celebrate my birthday Friday,” she’s not telling you that she doesn’t want to celebrate at all. She’s conveying two pieces of information here. A) She’s subtly reminding you that her birthday is Friday because she knows you won’t remember on your own, and B) Celebrating on Friday or Saturday would be OK with her.

Communications 102 is a little more complex. That’s when we learn how many “OKs” are not OK. Generally, when your wife tells you “OK,” she’s not necessarily agreeing with you. She may be acquiescing. 

If you keep talking, she might say “OK” again. It might be a little louder and firmer than the first one. It’s a warning shot for you to quit while you’re ahead.

If she has to say “OK” a third time, you have reached your limit. You better shut your pie hole because you’re not going to get a fourth “OK.” It might get replaced with a verbal lashing if you’re lucky. Depending on how dense you are, it might get traded for a frying pan to your noggin. 

This is just the tip of the empty icecube tray as far as life lessons for husbands go. We could fill this whole newspaper with tips and tricks just in the first semester.

There’s way more to it than picking up your dirty clothes and dusting once in awhile. We’re several semesters behind pregnancy, parenting roles and aging.  Some things you’re just going to have to figure out on your own. 

But just so we don’t leave you defenseless, the fallback rule is this: When you don’t know what to say, not saying anything might be your best bet.

© Copyright 2019 by David Porter, who can be reached at One area that remains a mystery to me is the “where do you want to eat” dilemma. The “I don’t care, where do you want to eat?” response is a never-ending circle.