All right, so that's a lie. But so is the long-held belief that
compromise is the secret to a happy marriage. Not true, doesn't
work. Compromising doesn't make either one of us happy.
win-win situation that many self-help books preach?
It doesn't exist. Whoever wrote those books never had a spouse
whose core temperature was nowhere near their own.
Of all the techno-gadgets in our home, no device is handled more
often than our thermostat. Why the man can't leave the thermostat at
a constant, comfortable 73 degrees is beyond me. For him there are
only three temperature settings: polar breeze, arctic blast and
colder than a witch's wart. If it isn't one of the first three, then
it's hotter than Hades. He has the air conditioning cranked up to
arctic blast in the summer, and in the winter, he sets the
thermostat just above the point where the pipes might burst.
Meanwhile, I can either spend an enormous amount of time outdoors
in the summer for fear of frostbite, or I can turn off the AC and
open all the windows and doors. Guess which one really ticks him
I have asked for a down-insulated bathrobe and matching slippers
for Christmas every year, but until Santa leaves that lovely
ensemble under my tree, the only thing I can do in the winter is
turn the thermostat up. An hour later, it will have been turned down
Oh, he's good. I've never caught him doing it and he's never
caught me. We do it on the sly because we know it will cause an
argument. There's nothing dumber than arguing about the temperature
of the room.
In the winter, he likes to bluster about how much the electric
bill is going to cost if we don't keep it turned down -- no doubt
trying to guilt me into willingly freezing my nether parts off.
However, he doesn't seem to mind the high electric bill in the
summer while my lips turn blue.
[to top of second column]
Compromise? I don't think so. If we set the thermostat higher
than he would like and lower than I would like, then neither of us
will be happy.
I would rather have it exactly where I want it 50 percent of the
time, but I find I need to be very vigilant about claiming my 50
percent. This is not exactly what the self-help gurus would call
compromise, but what do they know anyway?
Traveling in a car is even worse. I have to wait until my husband
is distracted by traffic before I can adjust the AC and fan to thaw
out. Sometimes he'll catch me, and acting as if he is trying to help
me out, he'll turn everything all the way on or all the way off,
depending on what season it is.
Now, people, just because I don't want to freeze does not mean
that I want to roast. But he'll wait until we are both beginning to
get crispy before he turns on the freeze machine again. Then he'll
apologize to me, "I'm sorry, Laura, but it's just too hot in here."
No kidding, Mr. Freeze.
Do you remember the old Batman series? One of his archenemies was
Mr. Freeze. He was a very unhealthy-looking, bald, fat character who
looked the color of death. It was as if he could not quite handle
the cold he was creating. I would bet that he didn't have a wife. If
he did, he'd have had a chance to thaw out now and then … whether he
liked it or not.
Holy witch's wart, Batman!
[By LAURA SNYDER]
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist,
author and speaker. You can reach her at
or visit www.lauraonlife.com
for more info.