David Szpunar: Lead Engineer, PC Help Services

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October 15th, 2007 at 6:00 am Print This Post Print This Post

Dealing with Dual-Spousal OCP: Two Years

In honor of being married to my lovely wife for two years today, I have decided to share my secret to finding a compatible woman to marry. Specifically, if you’re both OCPs (Obsessive-Compulsive Perfectionists). (Some people might use a term with the initials AR, rather than OCP. That’s your choice.)

The basic principle you must use to compare to your potential spouse is what I call the Toilet Paper Principle, or TPP. The principle is very simple. Do you and your potential mate agree on whether the toilet paper rolls should be placed on the holder so it feeds over the top, or down underneath? If so, it’s likely that you will be able to find other areas in which you both are obsessive, but about the same thing in the same way, which is a key to surviving at least two years from my experience. For example, you may discover that you both have a passion for correct grammar and spelling. If one of you discovers a spelling or grammatical error in a document of some sort, the person discovering the error may enthusiastically complain to the other about what a lousy job of proofreading the document’s creator has done, why can’t they use a dictionary or at least Word’s spell check, etc. and can count on their partner to heartily agree and possibly join in with a corroborating comment. This comes in particularly handy when writing; everyone, even perfectionists, make mistakes and typos, but when you have such a wonderful partner to rely on as an uninterested editor (and believe me, depending on the topic, I do mean uninterested!) to pick up your slack.

This sort of interplay with common obsessions is very important if you are to survive each other for any length of time. Because inevitably, you will discover areas in which you both have passionate opinions that don’t line up with each other. People who are OCPs I’ve noticed tend to be stubborn and opinionated. Some of them are outgoing, and everyone will recognize this immediately. Others may be people-pleasers and thus hide their opinions from the general public.

When you get married, however, you will share your opinions with each other. Stubbornly. After all, you’re always right. Or at least, your wife is. According to her. You may even be fooled into thinking this has something to do with hormones, especially if you end up with children rather quickly. Just give it 9-12 months you think, and convincing your wife to change her mind will be a lot easier. You think this because, as a guy, you’ve already forgotten the dating and engagement portion of your relationship, where she was just as stubborn.

Guys aren’t allowed to defend themselves against women if they’re gentlemen (this applies to physical contact but should probably extend to verbal onslaught as well), so they have to use other defense mechanisms. The easiest (and thus generally the most popular) is to simply forget things quickly. This usually comes without much effort, and it gets easier with practice. Fortunately, practice is easy to come by, and hey, if you really can’t remember what it is your wife said while you were in the middle of contemplating which good science fiction domain names might be available to register “just in case you need it,” you have a good, honest defense should you be accused of forgetting your wife’s statement. Of course, you won’t really get away with it, because how could you possibly not hang with baited breath onto everything your wife may mention in passing, unless she is completely unimportant and disposable and you’re a horrible person?

At least you can take comfort in knowing that you truly don’t remember her telling you–that thing she says she told you, until you forget all about it ten seconds later. And then, who cares? On to the next thing! How about mounting touch-screen computers and keyboards around your house to fold out of every wall on adjustable arms and connect to your existing terminal server session on your central server when you authenticate with the built-in fingerprint reader to pick up your web browsing or to-do list creation (to help you remember) where you left off in the last room? Sounds like an excellent project for that spare several thousand dollars that you…already spent on other necessities (ahh…a geek can dream…). Oh well, at least there are plenty of spelling and grammatical errors you can go find and share with your wife, and she’ll commiserate. And you won’t have to switch the toilet paper around the next time its use is necessitated, because your wonderful wife will have replaced the roll in the correct direction for you. And her. And you’ll both live happily ever after (until your kid hits his teens, so I hear).

(I make no claims as to the reality of any of the above (much of humor is exaggeration of reality, after all), but you know enough of it rings true to–ring true. At least if you and your wonderful partner both share OCP traits. Thanks to my wife for two AWESOME years and for many more to come! Happy Anniversary Sweetie!)