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Happy Marriages: The Chain of Command

Updated on September 7, 2008

So many marriages are in trouble because a couple becomes locked in a power struggle. Power struggles can manifest in many forms, from invading a foreign state just to prove that you're the man around these here parts, to smaller but equally damaging skirmishes in the domestic sphere.

For instance, say she asks you to take the trash out. Of course you refuse on principal, you're a man, not a minion! The trash stays and rots in the kitchen. Your youngest child catches typhoid after licking the debris spilling out the sides of the can. You're not looking after a sick kid, so you go out and play golf whilst your wife stays home to look after little Brutus Jnr, who spills the beans by asking where his other Mommy with the big blonde hair who comes during the day and likes to play hide and seek under the bed is.

Next thing you know all your clothes are burning on the lawn and you're divorced - simply because you didn't take the trash out when she asked you, because you tried to deny your inherent subservience to the domestic goddess who rules over your life.

This story has repeated itself endlessly in marriages since the beginning of time. The problems of course, arise when those involved in the marriage attempt to pervert the natural order of things by being equals. Equality is an excellent basis on which to behead a royal family and all the aristocrats who will stay still long enough for you to lop it off, but its no way to run a marriage. The secret to happy marriages is to acknowledge the chain of command from the very beginning.

The chain of command generally looks like this:

Child - Children quickly establish themselves at the top of the chain of command with a combination of sleep deprivation techniques and a wide eyed cuteness that leaves parents unable to resist their every command. Children are also blessed with never ending persistence and single mindedness which quickly wears down any adult and forces them to do their bidding. The only reason children don't rule the world is the fact that there are kiddy locks on the doors of the UN. Even the great Vladimir Putin was brought to his knees by a small blonde child demanding attention due to a sore stomach, so don't think that you're immune, Mr General Sales Manager.

Wife - When she is not doing the bidding of the child, or if there is no child in the relationship, then the woman heads the chain of command. Her desires are paramount, though nebulous and sometimes unfathomable. She keeps her husband on his toes by alternately praising and rewarding him with carnal affection and shrieking and crying hysterically for reasons that may, or may not be tied to the lunar cycle.

Husband - Mostly confused, the husband usually believes that he is the head of the household, imbued with responsibility for providing for and defending his family. This may sometimes get him the big piece of chicken, but is otherwise an often thankless role. He should be adept at putting up shelves, or paying someone else to do so.

Mistress - Though at the bottom of the chain, the Mistress often holds the familial unit together, doing the things the wife refuses to do, and generally connecting the husband with the man he always wished he was, rather than the domestic servant he has become. The husband is more attractive to his Mistress than his wife because in spite of the natural chain of command putting the wife at the top, women tend to prefer dominant men. Whilst he can never hope to dominate his wife, a man can be dominant to his Mistress as he is not dependent on her to iron his shirts, find his car keys, or refrain from slipping arsenic into his soup.

Disclaimer: The above is intended as satire, and should not be used for the justification of real life infidelity, or the promotion of small children to positions of supreme power.


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