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Are You Boring Your Husband?

Some Guys have all the luck. Like me, for instance. I have Mary. And you can take it from me—I’m never bored with her.

Mary is that rare kind of wife who is always able to keep a husband interested. She has most of the qualities that I think are necessary in any woman if she is to be a good mate.

She has a real brain, for one thing. She has an extremely logical mind—and she’s anything but a flighty, jellyfish personality. She has strength, with moral stamina, and she can meet any crisis with calmness and serenity.

I can still remember how she took over when my mother was dying. Mother had been in a coma and didn’t recognize anyone. At the time I had to leave on location for a picture and I was wondering if I shouldn’t simply cancel the contract, but Mary pointed out that I would do mother no good by remaining at home.

“You can’t help mother by staying here,” she said, “so the only unselfish thing for you to do is to make the picture and to earn the money to take care of her and of the family. Why just stay here and worry?”

She assured me she would handle all the details. While I was away, mother died. Mary managed all the necessary arrangements and did so without any hysteria or any frantic wires to me.

Then there was the time Mary was waiting for Patricia to arrive. I wanted to be with her when the baby came but I had already signed to do a New York play and again I was uncertain as to the course I should take. Mary insisted I go ahead and do the show, and she stayed home, had the baby, and then three weeks later arrived in New York with Patricia.

Mary runs our house—even to being my business manager and handling all legal and financial matters. When our house was being built she was actually the contractor. She would go out in the coldest weather, sit by a fire, and check on the building. She made certain that we weren’t gypped by unscrupulous men and that there was no waste. As a result, she saved a tremendous amount of money in the construction of the house. 

She is also a tolerant person—and this any man likes. Even in religion, she has no dogmatic tendencies. She has instead a great respect for anyone’s religious beliefs, faith or color.

And yet she does all this without losing one ounce of her femininity. She is always all woman. She has the necessary physical attributes to make herself an enticing woman.

Although she has had three babies she still has a marvelous, a seductive figure. She is very neat and clean and is very orderly. She has a fine eye for dressing her particular figure and for making herself physically desirable. And yet there is no great fuss about acquiring glamour or femininity, She doesn’t even do a thing with her hair. It is naturally blonde without being artificial in the least. And she has a beautiful face without having to take unto herself loads of cosmetics. She is also the right height for me. There is tremendous vitality about her too. She’s rarely ill and has enormous recuperative powers on the few occasions when she does get tired. I always thought I was a mass of energy, but Mary can keep right up with me. In fact, she can surpass me at times. This is a wonderful trait because nothing can annoy a man more than a woman who is forever wilting.

This may sound as though Mary does exactly what I want her to do at all times. But it’s not so. And if it were, I probably would get very bored with the setup. I don’t think any husband wants a wife to indulge him to the point where she becomes a vacuum. Mary is, for example, not always patient with my moods. This is good for me. Whenever I’m in a nasty mood she simply walks out and leaves me alone. I get furious at the time but later, after I’ve had a chance to cool off, I apologize to her. This may be what she had in mind all along. I might add that I try her tactics when she gets in a mood. It’s harder for me to walk out, though, because I like to rationalize too much.

Mary is extremely tolerant of my eccentricities. I’m a nut about vitamins, proper food, and exercises—-simply because an actor has to keep in condition. When I had nine o’clock calls while making “Dial M For Murder” and “Lucky Me,” I’d get up about three or four hours early to take the exercises I have assigned myself. Mary doesn’t take the exercises and she doesn’t use vitamins the way I do, but she always sees that I have them on hand. As for the eccentricities themselves, she simply says, “That’s Bob—the man I married.” She never ridicules me for the habits or tries to make me do things differently.

Mary and I are happy and interested in each other because, in addition to the qualities already mentioned, we are mated well physically. A man and woman must be attracted to one another physically if a marriage is to succeed. Nothing can bore a husband—or wife—faster than a mate who is not physically attuned.

Some wives become bores because. of their romantic attitudes. There are those who like to curl up on their husbands’ laps at the least provocation and smother them with kisses. The man may like this for a while, but it can become too much of a good thing. He may be the type who wants to do the pursuing, who may like it if his wife is a little hard to get.

I don’t think most husbands, however, like a wife to be so attentive that she becomes possessive. Mary has a saying that seems very true—“Hold close with open hands.” It’s like holding an animal too tightly. He can’t wait to get away. But if he’s let alone he’ll come back soon, wagging his tail and wanting to be petted. When a woman has the attitude of “You’re mine,” a husband can want to get away. He feels a trap is being set for him and he instinctively wants to escape. The same is true of a woman who is held too closely by a man. In either case, a little indifference, the granting of a little personal freedom, will pique the other to such an extent that he’ll come back wagging his tail and wanting to be petted.

A good many wives bore their husbands by spending too much time talking about the drudgery of their household chores. Well, a man has to realize that house work is boring. It’s like running a subway. It’s a dull, underground kind of work. He can help his wife by seeing that she has modern implements and timesaving devices to make her work easier. But if she starts screaming about how hard she works all the time she’s going to wind up with a roving husband.

Where some wives go wrong emphasizing the house, others make a mistake by devoting far too much time and attention to the children—and at the husband’s expense. I know of one case where the wife has spent so many years concentrating only on her children that she has suddenly realized she no longer has a husband.

Mary even emphasized our children too much at one time. She used to stay home with the children instead of going with me to important functions—and, as a result, I stayed home too. She worried and fussed about them whenever she did go out, even though they were with the nurse and were perfectly all right. She finally saw her mistake and has balanced her duties as mother and as wife better.

I think wives should go out with their husbands, relax, and forget the children—if they’re assured that they are being well taken care of and if there is no illness. Too many women forget that there’s a bit of the baby in the best of men.

Men are also bored, I believe, by wives who gossip. They get to the point where they won’t even tell their wives any of their business for fear it will be repeated. Mary is not a gossip in the least. She never goes to bridge parties or to cocktail parties with the “girls.” She hasn’t the time even if she were the kind of person to enjoy blab fests. A gossip is anything but a good companion.

Then there are the wives who complain about not having enough to wear—and about the sad state of the financial department.

Some wives wail that they are practically naked while they have ninety dresses in the closet. No husband likes to hear this chatter. However, he has to be broad-minded enough to recognize the fact that a wife’s wardrobe is a problem to her. Styles change rapidly and all kinds of accessories are needed—and if she wants to be a credit to her husband she has to look well.

Sometimes a man doesn’t realize how many clothes his wife needs. The better she dresses the more chance he has of getting ahead in his job—as strange as it may seem. If she looks attractive he’ll be invited to important affairs where he can meet new people, form new contacts, and improve his own business. But a wife has to know how to buy wisely so that she doesn’t wreck her husband’s bank account.

The wife who complains about finances should take care of them herself—and she’d soon learn how short a distance a dollar can travel. Mary handles all the bills. I couldn’t begin to take care of the money since I leave for the studio before the stores open and get home after they’re closed. Mary, naturally, complains about finances within reason. She tells me where I’m spending too much money, where I’m buying things I don’t need. And you know something—she’s usually right. But she never discusses finances in a nagging way.

No man can be changed by nagging. He’s just going to be so bored sitting in the verbal draft he’ll disappear—for good.

I realize, after all is said and done, that men can be boring to their wives too—and for the same reasons. I guess the only sure cure for boredom is to develop an active interest in the person you married, his likes, dislikes, habits, eccentricities, what-have-you. And then face those qualities with tolerance, understanding, compassion, and love. No man can remain bored for long in the face of an active as well as a quiet display of love. He’ll be happy to stay romantic as long as he’s given enough hints that romance is welcome. And he’ll even go along with the clinging vine—if it comes from stock that is so good that it will not collapse in an emergency.

The husband who gets bored is usually the man who has found that he has be.come just one more of his wife’s collections—like her washing or sewing machine or her new TV set. Then he wants to go out and start collecting little items on his own.





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