Friday, June 4, 2010

I Think You Missed Something

I don't own a pet.

But, I read a recent New York Times article about the relationship between pets and marriages anyway. I'm a sucker for the Times' wacky stories about random trends and New Age science.

Anyway, the article basically tells pet owners that they should consider treating their spouses the same way they treat their pets. The article advocates that married folks refuse to hold grudges, show affection regularly, exchange exuberant greetings, assume the best about their spouses and commit to their relationship for the long haul. The article adds that many people are far more forgiving with their four legged partners than they are with those who walk upright.

I must admit, I nodded my head a little reading it.

After all, the article gave some sound advice about how spouses should treat each other. Hell, it's good advice on how everybody should treat each other. The things is, once I took a step back and truly considered the information, a problem emerged. Basically, human beings and pets are very different, and the reason why we cut our pets more slack is because, well, their our pets.

There is a big difference between a pet and a spouse. There are different expectations, and honestly, different freedoms. The level of intimacy and connection is far greater for most of us with our spouses than it could ever be with our pets. Well, at least for those of us who are not a six-pack away from a bestiality charge.

When I did have a dog, I made sure that sucker obeyed me. When I said "sit" I expected his rump to hit the floor. When I stayed "stay" that dog better become a statue. He ate what I said, walked where I said and slept when I told him to sleep. In fact, he lived in little cage and thought that was normal.

I think we all know there would be a Gary Coleman-type situation if I tried to pull that stuff on my wife, and she's a fairly mild-mannered woman.

We don't have the same level of control over our spouses that we have over our pets, which obviously makes our spouses more aggravating. We also don't expect our pets to be very intelligent, while most of us assume we married somebody with common sense. The different expectations, and the different level of control create a very different type of dynamic.

It's amazing to me that this story sort of glossed over that in an effort to make a point. Well, not really amazing since most people gloss over inconvenient factoids when they're making an argument, but this seems like a pretty glaring factoid to ignore. People and pets are different, and that's why our relationships are different, and why we find it harder to put simple solutions into place.

Now, let me go take my wife for a walk.



Shady_Grady said...

"Now, let me go take my wife for a walk."


Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

*chuckling at the same thing as Shady Grady*

Raving Black Lunatic