The Silent Treatment: Three Reasons Why I No Longer Answer Obvious Questions.

Growing up I would often babble on and on about whatever new nonsense popped into my mind and my father would occasionally remind me of the age old phrase “Silence is golden.”  As an adult I am finally understanding the capacity of this phrase in regards to remaining happily married.

Let me set the stage for you.  I am feeding the baby while he is attempting to fight me off.  The garbage can is open and the trash is to the very top.  Enter husband.  “Do you want me to take the trash out?”  he says.  I look at him blankly and give no response.


Two days later.  I am giving our son a bath.  His wet diaper is on the ground by the tub.  Enter husband.  “Should I throw this out?”  he asks.  Again, I purposely offer no reply.

My husband is great.  I married him because he is funny, and kind, and so, so, so extremely intelligent. But somewhere in our eight years of marriage I have become The Great Wizard Of Oz, here to answer all questions.  I don’t think it’s on purpose, maybe just a result of turning one’s brain off for the day and auto-defaulting to “wife takes over” mode, but that is not an excuse.  Men are smarter then they put off, and so here are three reasons why I will no longer answer the obvious question.

  1.  Answering will be much worse than not answering.  You may not have this problem, but when you are a sharp-tongued tiger ready to pounce at any given moment, answering obvious questions may not be beneficial for either party.   A response is likely to be more detrimental than a lack of response.  If I attempt to be sincere in answering these sort of questions it does not end well since my tone gives me away.  I end up in more trouble than if I simply said nothing.
  2. The answer is known by all involved parties and therefore no reply is needed.  I know the answers.  He knows the answers. No one needs to dictate every little move when the action is obvious. Every person on the face of this earth knows that if the trash is to the top of the can, it needs to be taken out.
  3. Maybe, just maybe the obvious action will become just that…obvious, and the task will simply be completed with automaticity instead of asking for approval or disapproval.  My day is a whirlwind involving a menagerie of multitasking activities that consume my every moments until about 8pm.  At the end of the night when my husband asks me what I did during the day, I often am unable to remember.  I have done so many random, non-impactful things, that I have no recollection.  I just do the things that need to be done without thinking.

It might be silly.  It might piss my husband off, but it must be done.  I refuse to raise a child who is unable to solve his own problems and depends on mommy for everything.  I will not set that kind of example by enabling any person who is capable in my life to rely on me for direction with simple tasks.

So the next time you are asked if the trash needs taking out,  if the clean dishwasher needs to be emptied, or if the pans on the dry rack should be put away, I encourage you to administer the good old fashioned silent treatment.  No answer is needed, we all know what to do.

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