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A very civil disobedience movement

india Updated: Jul 10, 2007 06:55 IST

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So the secret is out: the wife is the sheriff at home and the husband is only too happy to play deputy. At least, that’s what the recipe of a happily married couple is according to researchers at Iowa State University. The husband, in the words of Stephen King’s immortal character Dolores Clairborne, may have “two or three hundred executives who drop their drawers every time he says shit” but when the wife tells him “to take his shoes off and stop tracking dirt on her nice clean carpet, he minds”. Call it a neat evolutionary mechanism or a pragmatic division of labour, the researchers came to the conclusion of wife as decision-making boss in a relationship after studying 72 couples. So wives not only talk more than their hubbies, but they also draw more favourable responses from their husbands if things are on an even keel.

So what about all those Stepford wives, those archetypal sati-savitris who sit when their hubbies tell them to sit, stand when their hubbies tell them not to sit? Well, the researchers do talk about happy marriages here. Despite the asymmetry involved in a ‘Yes, dear’ response from the typically uxorious husband, it could be a case where the man takes the wise decision of letting the woman rule the proverbial roost. For one, the woman feels the joy of being empowered at home — somewhere the man is happily willing to invest less on; and two, who wants to choose the colour of the curtains, the next holiday destination, the Diwali party list anyway?

Both parties are happy — and the delicate balance of domestic bliss is maintained. Even the Missus, bless her, thinks that she’s getting her way because she wants it that way. Hurrah.