Pointless Arguments

April 20, 2016

in Uncategorized

The other day I was in a HobbyLobby with my wife (see, I’m a good husband). Other than the Elvis Gnome (we were in Nashville) I wasn’t interested in the stock, so I was people watching. Loretta and Merle* were having a “discussion.”

Merle: “That’s where Dolly bought her bowls.”

Loretta: “Where?”

Merle: “Michael’s”

Loretta: “No she didn’t.”

I don’t know where Dolly actually bought her bowls, because Merle and Loretta proceeded to argue about it like a couple of kids.

Bowls © quinn norton (Flickr) | Wikimedia Commons

If I had to guess, I’d say Loretta was right. Studies find women are far better at recalling things like this. It seems estrogen-induced brain differences are at play here. (Can we get another cheer for ovaries?)

Please don’t use this bit of information to tell your husband you’re right and he’s wrong the next time you recall things differently. While the odds are in your favour, there will be times you’re wrong and he’s right. The bigger issue here is to not let silly differences in memory ruin your afternoon. Or week. Or your entire marriage.

Learn to dismiss things like this without needing to be right. I’m not suggesting you give in and say he’s right. Just drop it with “You might be right” or “I might be mistaken.” 

Part of what turns these things into fights is what your hubby has in place of ovaries. Testosterone pushes him to argue. It also makes him care, perhaps too much, about your opinion of him. He doesn’t want you to think he’s stupid, and that’s what these kinds of things can communicate to him even if it’s the furthest thing from your mind.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and my hormones impair my memory. 

* No actual country stars were sighted.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

libl April 20, 2016 at 3:20 am

I wrote on TGH about this, but I want to reiterate how important it is to let go of inconsequential details. Save any correction for truly important things like appointment dates and times and medications.

If your hubby is a chronic embellisher, or convenient detail forgetter, let him face the consequences of his own actions. But also remember that he experiences things differently than you do.

Remember that infamous dress? Is it blue/black or white/gold? He saw white/gold, I saw blue/black, and I admit that I felt a bit smug when I found out the dress is indeed blue/black in real life. I saw it “correctly.” But that doesn’t change the fact that his mind registered it as white/gold. That experience was just as valid and real to him as my own. “I don’t care if the dress is blue/black in real life. You asked me how I saw the picture of it and I told you.”


Paul Byerly April 20, 2016 at 7:47 am

@libl – That dress is a perfect example.
As I recall I saw it as blue and orange. So fun to be me!
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sunny-dee April 20, 2016 at 8:01 am

It was white/gold. THEY SWITCHED THE DRESS!!! ;)


Brandi April 20, 2016 at 2:02 pm

I may be pushing my luck with this comment, but doesn’t this apply to both sides?


Paul Byerly April 21, 2016 at 6:31 am

@Brandi – It does – and I posted about it on the Generous Husband yesterday.
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K April 23, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Depending on how long ago Dolly bought her bowls, they could both be wrong. I agree that women usually have better memories for details. But, memories are very fickle. Current neuroscience supports this.

Despite the above comment, this is something I’m working on currently. We grew up in a culture where rich, detailed story telling is the norm. Culturally, we tend to include what many would view as unnecessary details in our story telling. My husband is much better at only including the relevant details in his stories. Go figure! When my husband tells a story, I often find myself adding to or correcting the details of his story. He personally doesn’t view this as me being disrespectful. But, I am becoming aware that it’s possible other people may think this behavior is disrespectful. For that reason, I’m working hard to try to stop correcting him when he tells a story. Since detailed story telling is so much a part of who I am, it’s very hard to change. But, I don’t want to do anything that could be viewed as disrespect toward my husband even if it doesn’t bother him.


K April 23, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Paul, on another note, I’ve noticed some men on TGH have recently asked you to include more generosity ideas on the blog. So, here’s something my husband does for me that others may like too.

No matter who cooks (we both like to cook), he often serves my plate. This is something he started doing when we were dating and would eat at his parents house. I’ve always thought it was very sweet and loved it! It demonstrates that he cares about me, wants to serve me and knows and respects what I like. I have several quirks about how I like my food. When he serves my plate, it shows me that he pays attention to these things and respects how I like to eat my food even though it might be different than what he likes. But mostly, I just think it’s a kind and loving thing for him to do. Especially when I see how much he enjoys doing it for me.

Another related thing he does is order for me when we go out to eat. Of course, I tell him what I want. But, he always does the ordering. I really like this! I think I just like that he is taking charge and it’s something I don’t have to think about.

Now, I realize that some women would not like for their husbands to do either of these things. But, I’d guess that many would at least enjoy it occasionally.


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