If I Treated My Husband Like My Nail Tech


Everyone’s spent a day at the salon and felt refreshed not just from the full set or fresh haircut, but from the conversation with your long time trusted nail tech or hair stylist. It’s the perfect amount of familiarity and anonymity that make for the type of conversation where you can open up without wondering if Aunt Sue is going to tell your best friend’s mom.

Our husbands, on the other hand, often get the last ounces of our energy at the end of a busy day, and the conversation lacks productivity and compassion. During my last set of shellac, I was thinking, if I treated my husband like my nail tech, I would:

  1. Ask lots of questions – I know where she is from, how many kids she has and their grades, that she started doing hair and nails at age 12, what she’s worried about, and vice versa. Could I say all that about my husband? Probably. But what would some question-asking do for our relationship? Questions beyond “How was your day?” Would he feel more cared about? More important? I know the importance of him asking me questions so maybe it would matter.
  2. Pass out compliments generously – Wow I love your (insert whatever here) shoes, leggings, new hair color, lipstick. But the line of conversation with my husband is less showering of compliments and more, “Where’d you get that tie?” How could our relationship change with a few easy compliments, especially if they were personality based and not superficial (“I love your problem-solving abilities”).
  3. Allow silence – After a certain amount of time in the beauty chair, conversation wanes. But it’s not awkward, it’s relaxing. Could this be the norm in a marriage? I can’t remember the last time we drove around without talking about the insurance deductible, the kids’ school days, the gutters.
  4. Make an appointment – When I need my hair done, I make an appointment. When I want quality conversation, I used to make an appointment – a date. Now I try to squeeze it in over teeth brushing at 11 pm or on the phone on a lunch break. Not exactly the makings of a great environment to solve the world’s problems. It’s time for the return of the weekly date night.
  5. Learn something new – My hair and nail tech has taught me secrets of great eating, the potion she makes that prevents sickness, skin care tips, and that the best long wear lipsticks actually come from Walmart, to everyone’s surprise. I always listen to her advice, fascinated, because she seems to know everything about everything. But my spouse rarely knows more than me, of course. But what if he really does, and I just haven’t asked or taken any time to learn from the source closest to me?

It’s been a long used adage that we treat those closest to us with less patience and kindness than strangers. But maybe it’s not good enough.


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