Why Spouses Should Never Say "Promise Me You Won't..."

How many times have you had something difficult or unpleasant to tell the wife, and the first thing you've wanted to say has been "Promise not to freak out" or "Promise not to yell"? Several, I know. I've pulled that move myself.

Gentlemen, we must stop it. It is beneath our dignity, and, more importantly, it is beneath the dignity of your dread queen, the Lady Wife.

The "promise not to..." gambit is a move to abdicate responsibility, which is not a thing a man who loves his wife as Christ loves the Church would do.

How is it so? Let's run through a relatively benign-seeming application of the tactic. You have some friends over, and you want to show them a picture of the family that you think is hilarious (you're probably right, too, did you see the face your daughter made?!), but your wife hates. You're not going to just show it to them, because you know your wife won't like it and you don't want to talk about it later, so you have to disarm her. You know, just manipulate her a little.

"I'm going to show the Smiths this picture, baby, but you have to promise not to be embarrassed."

Dude. Not cool. Let's run through a progression that shows what you really mean. And let's do it assuming you're right, that the photo is innocuously hilarious and that the Lady Wife is unreasonable to be embarrassed by it. Still not cool.

Because you have to promise not to be embarrassed actually means promise not to be mad about your transgressed modesty.

Which means promise not to be mad at me about your transgressed modesty.

Which means promise not to be upset at me over your issue.

Which means if you get upset over this, it's your fault.

So when you say "Promise not to get embarrassed" you're saying "Promise that whatever results from this action, you say it's your fault."

Which you'd never say to your wife, even if it were true. After all, all you want to do for her is to give your life for hers.

So let's agree, just between the two of us, that we won't engage in that shitty gambit anymore.