posted by Joe Anaya on January 30th, 2012

There are lots of things fathers teach their sons. Some bad things, but mostly things that boys need to know to be successful among other boys or in the world. It can be something simple like how to skip a stone across water or something socially important like which urinal to pick in a public bathroom (don’t take the one next to an occupied one), or something the boy will carry the rest of his life. To this day, I hear my dad’s voice, “If it’s a job worth doing, it’s a job worth doing right.” He only said it once but I hear it often.

While I was single, at my sister’s wedding, I began to run into one of men’s most common pearls passed down to each generation. I found out my brother-in-law was advised by my father, “If you get into a disagreement, just let her have her way.” “I don’t think your daughter’s that way.” My dad laughed, “Not my daughter, all wives are that way.” While I shot my sister’s wedding video, I interviewed all the married couples. One of my uncles advised, “Just do what the woman wants.” Another confided, “Marriage is give and take. You give and give and she takes.”

When I relayed that story to a friend, she laughed much harder than I thought she should have for a mildly interesting story. Then the global realization hit, she chortled, “That’s exactly what my uncle told my husband before we got married.”

I have since heard the adage, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I didn’t realize how true this was, until I was married and had a kid. When you’re married before kids, you can disagree and be mad at each other and you’ll resolve the problem when you’re ready. But once you have kids, most often, for the sake of a functioning family, you have to move on with the rest of your lives quickly. Often the best way to do that is to just let the wife have her way, move on, let it go. Yes, you could make some principled stand or argue point by point. But in the end, even if you win the argument or decision, your family was at a stand still while this went on, and really you know you’re going to pay for it, every day a little at a time, for weeks on end. Was it worth it? According to most married men, the answer is a resounding, “No.”

Like in the Star Wars scene where the droids are playing chess with Chewbacca, and C-3PO complains, “Nobody cares about upsetting a droid.” Han warns, “Because a droid won’t pull people’s arms out of their sockets when they lose.” C-3PO wisely advises R2-D2 to, “Let the Wookie win.”

The best advice a father can pass on to their son, “Let the wifey win.”

File Under King of the Castle