How to get along with your American husband. Part 1.

One of the hardest things for me during the first year of our marriage was the concept of time. It was like we owned clocks from different planets.

Picture this:

I’d say, “When are we going to the store?”

H. would say, “In a minute.”

I’d go get dressed, curl my eye lashes (ok, maybe not), put on my shoes and be ready, sitting and waiting for him in the garage. And nothing would happen. Fifteen, 20 minutes would go by. The cat would come over and rub against my legs, absorbing some of the electricity beginning to get generated in my body.

I’d storm back inside and say, “Well, are you coming?”

“I said, in a minute…”

And then I discovered that my American husband had keywords when came to time. Knowing them had made a world of difference and probably added a decade to my life.

“In a second” means “Almost ready to go, go pee and get the keys.”

“In a minute” means “I’m ready when I’m done, which will probably be sooner rather than later.” In reality, this phase can stretch anywhere between 30 mins to several hours.  It’s safe to put a pot roast on, start the laundry, turn on a movie, go work on work projects….

“In a little while” means “Over my dead body.” He is doing the same trick on you as your mom did when you were a kid and you’d be passing by an ice cream store. “Mom, can I have an ice cream? Maybe on the way back…” How many times did you actually get it? Yes, by the time you were coming back you probably forgot… Well, he’s hoping the same thing.  Rephrase the question or offer some sort of incentive. I’ll let you decide on that part.

Disclaimer: Not all American husbands come with the same time mechanism… They keywords might be different, but the basic wiring scheme is the same…


About annahuddleston

Business and travel writer based in Las Vegas.
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9 Responses to How to get along with your American husband. Part 1.

  1. Monet says:

    Smile. You hit the nail on the head with this one.

    • breadnbutter69 says:

      Baked your Chocolate tarts today! They rocked!!! Please don’t make anything else chocolate for a while – I’m not fitting into anything!

  2. janay says:

    Mine is the same way. I call when he says he will be leaving work and he says “I’m almost finished it should just be a few more minutes.” This has been anywhere from twenty minutes to three hours. “Just walking out the door” usually means something more like ten to fifteen minutes. And “I have to finish this memo it shouldn’t take long.” means put the kids to bed maybe I’ll be home by tomorrow. I’m glad I have started to recognize his verbage. I started having my own system of not going insane trying to figure out when he would get home. I call about an hour before he’s supposed to get off and ask him if he knows when he’s coming home. Almost always he says “I’m not sure but it shouldn’t be too late.” Then I call again when he was supposed to leave. If there’s somewhere I need to be and he said he would be home to watch the kids I start my calling process at about three. That way I have time to get a babysitter. On the days I’m going to murder someone if I don’t get some relief, I just go shopping, or take my kids to a play place to get some “wiggles” out so I can make it until 9 or 10.

    I love your blog. And now I know where my husband gets it from 🙂

    • breadnbutter69 says:

      “I”m not sure but it shouldn’t be too late” – love that :)! Hey at least you know what that means 🙂

  3. taika says:

    I don’t have an American husband, but i do have a South African ex-boyfriend and some SA male friends. They, too, have key-words for time that I found very confusing before i deciphered them. “Just now” means any time soon, but not immediately (like you might think), whereas “now now” means sometime sooner than “just now”. I should add that “just now” is a concept similar to your “in a minute” 🙂

    • breadnbutter69 says:

      That’s a new one!!! Will keep that in mind when traveling to SA later this year – I wonder if it also applies to things like airplane flights.. 🙂

  4. Sofia says:

    I could not stop laughing as I read your post. I too am married to an American man (am from Portugal) and still today after over 15 years of marriage it drives me crazy his sense of time. Much as you said, a second usually is minimum 5 minutes and 1 minute usually turns into half an hour!

  5. Alice X says:

    This is so true, they can be worse than girls when it comes to actually doing anything on time. Great post.

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