Disclaimer: This is NOT about sex. This is about everything else I suggest.

I’ve been married to the love of my life for 33 years. Recently, I’ve noticed a clear and disturbing trend:

I propose an idea. He balks.

I’m not sure when this started. Perhaps with the kids grown and gone, I’ve become more observant of his behavior.

In any case, I’m on to him.


Case in point:

I had grown tired of the main piece of artwork in the family room. One evening, over dinner, I casually mentioned I was looking for a different piece of art for that wall.

Him: “NOOOOO!”

As if I had proposed something torturous and deadly. As if I’d launched a personal attack.

Him: “The existing art is perfectly fine. I like that piece. I’ve always liked that piece. What’s the problem with it anyway? Why do you always have to change things?”

His response instantly convinced me that I wasn’t just tired of that art, but I despised it and could not look at it anymore. I quietly took a sip of wine.

Later that week, I found a new piece of art, just the right size for the space. The new art had a completely different color scheme. A new color scheme requires new décor. I purchased coordinating accessories and started shopping for new throw pillows.

Hubby recoiled . . . curled up into a ball.

After the new art sat for a few days, leaning against the wall, he came unfurled and agreed to help me hang it. As he began to adjust to the changes, he also agreed to accompany me to shop for new throw pillows. This was completely new and foreign behavior. As soon as he consented, I feared this was the worst idea ever conceptualized. Nevertheless, we shopped together and he contributed to a final decision.

The mini family room redecorating adventure was complete. And guess what? Hubby loved it as much as I did. I was amazed that we had emerged unscathed. But then, he said it:

“That was a great idea!”

owl with irritated face

This is how it goes. This is the game. In the end, he comes full circle.

I wondered: what’s the point of the conflict when he eventually acts as if it was a brilliant idea all along?

Futile disputes reign

The custom leather chairs I wanted to order for the living room were an absolute “hell no!” However, his new leather chair quickly became his favorite spot in the entire house.

The fence I picked out for the backyard . . . he didn’t want a new fence. We debated for a year. I refused to drop the idea, so he suggested every fence alternative imaginable. In the end, we installed the beautiful fence I had so carefully selected, and it inspired us to update our landscaping plan.

The trip to St. Martin? He was thoroughly annoyed when I asked him to stop deflecting on dates so I could schedule flights. Mid-trip he said,

“This is the best vacation we’ve taken in years!”

I couldn’t have agreed more.

He and I always seem to end up on the same page. So, why all the initial resistance? When did my husband turn into a naysayer? When did he become so resistant to change? Is this a common affliction among men in mid-life?

Can anyone shed light on this?