Women are generally known for being more compassionate than men. They are often more caring, empathetic and gentle. However, there is a scenario where apparently the female caring gene gets turned off. For many men, it catches us completely off guard, like a blitzing cornerback hitting a quarterback from the blind side.

I’ll stop the sports analogies before I get carried away. You may have noticed that it has been a while since the last post. (I include that sentence to make it look like people read this blog. Truth is, nobody actually noticed.) A really nasty cold had me down for almost two weeks. A bottle of NyQuil and two days off work were finally enough to bring me back. It also gave me some time to notice another interesting thing about marriage – I call it Sick Husband Syndrome.

Sick Husband Syndrome can be very confusing to a husband. During dating and the newlywed stage, the wife is usually quick to take care of even the slightest cough or sniffle. Here’s an example:

Husband: I’m feeling tired.
Wife: (sympathetically) Oh no! Do you have a fever? Have you been coughing? Take another vitamin, three of these tablets and go lie down. I’ll bring a warm washcloth for you to put on your forehead.

Somewhere along the first few years, though, Sick Husband Syndrome kicks in. Once this happens the wife stops noticing any symptoms of illness in the husband. Shortly after this happens the husband would be wise to not mention any symptoms lest they be accused of skipping out on chores. Example:

Husband: [cough][cough] Hey honey, my throat has been killing me today!
Wife: So you didn’t take out the garbage?

When a couple has children this can become even more confusing because the wife resumes her ability to care for illness, but directs it only at the children. This is how it happened to me recently. I had not been feeling well since I returned from a trip. I took a few hours off work to rest in the afternoon. I barely ate any supper. My son was not feeling well and my wife had been checking him over to see what was wrong. I went to the bed to lie down. About an hour later my wife finds me dozing in bed. What was her response? Not “I’m sorry you’re feeling bad.” Not “Can I get you something?” Nope. Her response? “You’re in bed already? I’m washing clothes.”