By Toni Gibson-Mark, KPA-CTP
I might be a little (a lot) obsessed with my dogs. They truly are the highlight of my morning, afternoon, evening and night. Most of my hobbies include them and, if I could, I would even take them on vacation with me.
My husband doesn’t share these feelings. Sure, he loves the dogs and he wants to give them the best life possible. But it’s definitely true that he prefers vacations without them and space for his legs in the bed. My cell phone has about 672 pictures of the dogs in various poses and my husband probably has less than 10.
My husband really should be the one writing a blog called “How to stay (happily) married to a woman who just might love her dogs more than you." But I’m the one with the microphone here, so my blog is labeled “How to stay happily married to a man that doesn’t understand why dogs are the best thing in the world, and (on some days), you might actually love them more than him.”
I prefer dogs in all aspects of our lives—holidays, vacations and weekend activities. My husband prefers alone time for us both, so it’s always a compromise. I always get holidays with the dogs. Besides, many holidays are stressful for dogs (i.e. fireworks are scary on the 4th of July and it’s a lot of commotion around Christmas), so the dogs are always with us. Then we go on vacation dog-less.
Since we don’t plan our vacations around the holidays, the timing is a lot less stressful and the dogs can safely and happily stay with a family member (as long as they promise to send me lots of pictures and videos while I’m away). Our weekend activities are mixed. I participate in a lot of dog activities without my husband while he engages in his dog-less hobbies.
The last thing my husband wants is to be drowning in even more dogs (so dog parks are out), but he wouldn’t mind spending time outdoors on a hike while the pups exhaust themselves sniffing every blade of grass on a trail.
We debated a lot when we got married. I REALLY wanted the dogs to be part of the wedding and my husband REALLY did not want them to be part of the wedding.
We had to compromise. I took photos prior to the wedding with the pups and my husband opted out. (In the end, it worked out. These pictures show who I REALLY married anyway!) The compromising sounds easy enough, but the hard part is the patience. We’ve got our own dogs and I often bring home other dogs to foster or doggy-sit. Sometimes our house is so full of dogs, and I just love it!
While my husband enjoys playing and seeing them, he sometimes runs out of patience when they are all under his feet. I don’t blame him. I have to make sure that when our lives are filled with four-legged pals, he gets alone time without them. This lets him refuel and he does better with them later.
The other thing that is tough for my husband is the realization that dogs are expensive! He definitely wants the best for them, but when it comes time to cough up the cash for those pricy vet visits, he’s always the first to grumble under his breath.
I just have to remind him that I’m with him on that—I hate paying too-- but the amount of joy that these goofballs bring to our lives outweighs every dollar.
I am grateful every day that my husband puts up with my over-the-top dog appreciation. Dog appreciation is just like any other hobby and it isn’t a requirement that we share the same hobbies (thank goodness for that, because I don’t think I could sit through a single soccer match if you paid me).
I push a lot more on him than the normal dog aficionado and he handles it better than I would expect him to. As long as I respect and give him time to indulge in his hobbies, he doesn’t mind that I wake up in the morning to be silly with my dogs and buy them toy #762 because “they’ll just LOVE it!”.
Deep down, I know he loves those fur-kids anyway -- even if they do take up most of his space in the bed. We both know that there isn’t any greater joy than having puppy-dog tails wagging to welcome you home every day.