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Married to an Engineer

Updated on October 23, 2006

Ladies, are you having a difficult time finding a good man? Well, he is probably at work; that's why you can't find him. Are you a woman living with a male engineer, not having a meeting of the minds? That's probably because he's at work, and he is already in a meeting.  

This lens will help women understand the value of the male engineer, and how to better maintain a relationship with one.

My qualifications are that I have been with the same Electrical Engineer for over 10 years, and my dad is a retired Aerospace Engineer.  I worked among engineers for 13 years before starting my own business. I am a computer nerd, but my degrees are in English and business.

You may be asking: What about women engineers? I have many women friends who are engineers, and I don't think this information applies in reverse (with male non-engineers and women engineers).  I have found women engineers to be a lot more outgoing and talkative than male engineers -- being a woman trumps being an engineer in most cases. It does, however, basically apply to dual-engineer couples, where a woman engineer is with a male engineer.   These partnerships are unusually tranquil and successful, and the kids are really, really smart. 

But a Talking Frog?

An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess." He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week." The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled and returned it to the pocket.

The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you and do ANYTHING you want." Again the engineer took the frog out , smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you for a week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog is cool!"

On a serious note, the best thing about engineers is that they like, and in fact, require, intelligent women. They are not threatened by women whose salaries or educations meet or exceed their own. When a man is so deeply interested in his work, even a beautiful woman had better be at least as novel as a talking frog to drag him away from it.

Married to an Engineer: The Positive and The Negative

Positive: Able to fix most things around the house.

Negative: When he finds the time to do it, it will take a month, $1,000, and 6 trips to Home Depot to change a lightbulb.

The best way to get him to do stuff around the house is to threaten to do it yourself or worse, hire someone to do it.

Positive: Has an occupation that is in high demand, with a stable employment base. Great salary and benefits.

Negative: Works a lot; not home much.

Positive: Not home much.

Positive: Not preoccupied with superficial things like appearance, grooming, etc. This is a lot easier to change than basic personality traits like honesty and work ethic, which most engineers have in abundance.

Negative: Needs some minor alterations. However, replace the gimmie shirts, get a decent haircut and product, and lose 10-15 lbs. of fat, and they usually clean up just fine. Don't forget to moisturize. They are happy to have you take care of this.

...And another Engineer Joke.

Q: When talking to an engineer, how can you tell an extroverted one from an introverted one?

A: An extroverted engineer will look at your shoes rather than his own when talking to you.

Meet Your Engineer Where He Is: NOT Important. - Stuff that is NOT Important

One of the critical things about negotiating life with another person is to understand what is and is not important to him or her, and letting the unimportant stuff go. An engineer probably can't and won't tell you. So I will.

Don't bother talking about the stuff that is not important. It certainly isn't worth starting an argument about. It's meaningless chit-chat. He won't care, and won't remember what you talked about. As long as it's within your household finances, religious and moral beliefs, just go do it. He probably won't notice anyway. The following things are not important:

  1. A drastic change at the salon.
  2. Buying clothes, shoes, handbags and other accessories.
  3. Buying furniture.
  4. Most of the crap you buy on eBay.
  5. A reasonable amount of cosmetic surgery.
  6. Most cars so boring that they are of no interest to an engineer, so go ahead and buy yourself a new car if you need one.

Meet Your Engineer Where He Is: IMPORTANT - Stuff that is IMPORTANT to him

Some things just won't make it under the radar (incidentally, these kinds of geeky metaphors may be tired but they help you to communicate with your engineer. The following things are important:

  1. Mac, Windows, or Linux. Ladies, you may go out and buy a home computer without him, so long as the operating system is approved. Sure, you can each have your own computer with different OSs, but why introduce conflict?
  2. Having work done to the house. I can't remember anyone other than my dad working on our house, ever, except for carpet cleaning. No matter who you hire or how much you pay, it will irritate your engineer to look at the shoddy handiwork (and it will be, by his estimation, shoddy) for as long as you own your home.
  3. Selecting a Mobile Phone and carrier.
  4. Having a human kid. Real important.
  5. From the Don't Do What I Did files: Dog number 4. I have pretty much used up all my "better to ask forgiveness than permission" waivers on that one, especially since dog #4 doesn't like him.

Interests: Getting on the Same Frequency

Don't Do What I Did, Part II: Mamma Mia (the musical). Some things are better enjoyed only with friends. When you are married to an engineer, you need your own friends even more than most women.

Which reminds me; with an engineer, it can be more difficult to have your own interests, and some common interests. You pretended to enjoy rocket building when you were dating; now you need to look for something in which you can participate together.

Travel is excellent, especially if he has to go to interesting places for work anyway and you can go sightseeing while he works. Activities that require a lot of gadgets are excellent, like car clubs, RVing, scuba diving, camping. Guess which one I do? The one that is air conditioned. Yup, that is our Flush King sewage-sucker doodad up there.

Common interests might give you something to talk about together. Start a blog or website so that you can write about your common interests online, and he can stay updated by reading about it during breaks at work.

Engineer Husband Engineers A New Cutting Table

Unlike most solutions, this was a problem I knew existed.

I sell fabric for a living, and for a couple of years I made do with a really crummy table. My neck was hurting all the time because I was always stooping. Finally, my hubby got tired of listening to me complain and took the top off my old table, which was made from 3 cheapo Office Depot folding tables. He put the old top, which I liked because it did not snag, onto new shelving from Lowe's, and made a new cutting table that is the right height, is long enough to inspect 3 1/2 yards of fabric at a time, and has tons of storage underneath for more fabric. I love it!

Engineer Night at the Movies

The most important thing is to watch the movie "Office Space." You will find it both hilarious and educational.

I can't explain the obsession with Monty Python, but when you are dating, you can watch it together and act like it's your favorite movie, too.

Mythbusters: The 3 Pilot Episodes That Started It All! - Jet Assisted Chevy / Biscuit Bazooka / Poppy Seed Drug Test
Mythbusters: The 3 Pilot Episodes That Started It All! - Jet Assisted Chevy / Biscuit Bazooka / Poppy Seed Drug Test

Hmm... the entire first season is out on DVD - we own it (of course), but Amazon does not seem to have it. My engineer replays the exploding CD-ROM over and over.



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