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What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage June 28, 2006

Posted by tkcollier in Life, Lifestyle.

What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage – New York Times
I listened, rapt, as professional trainers explained how they taught dolphins to flip and elephants to paint. Eventually it hit me that the same techniques might work on that stubborn but lovable species, the American husband.

The central lesson I learned from exotic animal trainers is that I should reward behavior I like and ignore behavior I don’t. After all, you don’t get a sea lion to balance a ball on the end of its nose by nagging. The same goes for the American husband.

The runaway interest of this article is covered in this “Shamu-mania” Salon article.


1. Neela - June 28, 2006

I came to the same realization a year or two ago. I think this applies to almost every husband on the planet.

Have you seen “I Love You, You are Perfect, Now Change”. I recommend it. You will find it very funny.


2. mike - August 3, 2006

I droped my clothes on the floor.
So my wife removed the floor.
I could not believe it when I came home the floor was gone and dirt was our floor in the bedroom.
Now I never throw my clothes on the ground where the floor used to be because they will get dirty, well, dirtier. So I throw them on the floor in the living room.

3. mike - August 3, 2006

To be serious
The article mentions lost keys and a tirade.
When my wife loses her keys I help her because 4 eyes scanning the many places keys might hide in plain sight are easily spotted by more eyes. And vice versa is expected.
She picks up the clothes.
I pick up the dog poop in the yard.
She vacuums.
I scrub the toilets and shower with powerfull chemicals that would make her hands fall off.
The whole thing is lost on humans.

4. ddd - January 18, 2007

Why don’t we call it sexist when women compare men to animals?
Will women now start to scientifically prove that men are mentally inferior to women?
I seem to remember a word women used a lot 30 years ago: fair. Fairness requires a mutual understanding, recognition of another person’s needs.
Usually if a man is dropping his laundry on the floor, it is in revenge for some other slight, usually the lackluster lovemaking of a woman.
Her kisses are not leading her husband to better behavior, she owes those kisses to her husband for her arrogance.
After the kisses are given, he picked up his laundry because he is no longer owed kindness.

5. Kelly - April 2, 2007

Nobody compared men to animals.

It’s comparing training techniques and saying they are similar – basically, it all boils down to ‘you get more flies with honey than vinegar’.

It works well on children, too.

6. Katelyn - April 28, 2008

I love shamu

7. Neil - September 5, 2008

So if men need to be trained, do women? You shouldn’t need to train them. Men don’t train our women to not think that they own us and that we are here to be trained by them. Here how about this-find the right one-which in your case sounds like a weak and powerless pushover who will never argue with anything and just do whatever you want whenever you want. Or you could grow up and accept people for who they are. If you want a butler or a sex slave, go buy one, but don’t find someone worthwhile and not listen to their requests. If you want someone to train, then it must only be fair for them to train you. Is that what you want… in 10 years… “look hank, it’s the best thing i’ve ever done– she irons, cooks, cleans, takes care of the kids, mows the lawn, and doesn’t even whine about it.” is that worth it for you? Split it up and make it fair. A marriage should be codominant. Stop watching your shows where women just get together and think that they are never going to find the right guy and that all guys are difficult, and maybe you’d have a different opinion. No more Everybody Loves Raymond (where his wife really doesn’t and just tries to train him). No more Sex and the City, where the women are all not in control of the stupid situations they put themselves into and rely on the helplessness and pity of each other. You should get it through your head that we are not your slaves or just here for your entertainment and peace of mind so that you can hold the appearance of having a loving relationship and having life all figured out while clearly you are better off single. You really don’t have anything figured out.

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