My husband emailed me a link to a hilarious New York Times article, What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage. He had just one sentence in his accompanying note.
It’s worth reading the article all the way through, both for the humor and the pretty decent take-aways on changing behavior, whining, positive reinforcement and happier relationships. A couple of choice snippets, both of which made me giggle aloud in the context of the article:
“The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don’t. After all, you don’t get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband…”
“It took a lot of discipline to maintain my calm, but results were immediate and stunning. His temper fell far shy of its usual pitch and then waned like a fast-moving storm. I felt as if I should throw him a mackerel.”
And lest you think the article is all about the stereotypical wife wanting to change the stereotypical husband, it’s not.
And my husband’s single sentence in the email? He was downright gleeful: Now that one woman has revealed this tactic, husbands everywhere will be free from the “Shamu maneuver.”
That’s what he thinks. Note to self: Must try out on Rod. Second note to self: Must assume Rod is trying out on me.
[Update: To see a follow-up post, please visit The Shamu Maneuver Causes a Stir.]