If you like your dog better than your spouse, you are doing marriage wrong

Aug 27, 2015 at 10:25 a.m. ET
Image: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/BlendImages/GettyImages

I love my dog. Love him so very much, it sometimes hurts. I love my cats, too. But in my house, there is no question that people are number one. It turns out, I am in the majority with that thinking. But not by nearly as much as I would expect.

A new survey of nearly 1,000 dog owners finds that 38 percent love their dog more than their partner or spouse. Um, that's close to half of people. I love my dog (and my cats for that matter), but come on.

Dog owners even admit that they'd be slightly more devastated by their pet running away than a breakup, according to the survey performed for PoochPerks.com.

Look, dogs are wonderful. They have our backs all the time. They greet us at the door, tails wagging with bright eyes, and they love us unconditionally even when we are at our least loveable. But here's a quick fact: Our spouses are supposed to do that, too. And they are human.

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OK, so it is true that when my husband comes home from work, Rocky (our Chihuahua/min pin mix) greets him with a wagging tail and plenty of kisses while I often have a list of chores and desire for him to hold the baby so I can get work done. Even so, I would hope that he would say he likes me better. In fact, I know he would say that. There is loving your dog and then there is an unhealthy obsession and if you prefer an animal to your human, then you have crossed into the latter category. Sorry to all the dog lovers, but you know it's true.

Humans are infinitely more complicated than dogs, but the love they give us is richer and more nuanced. My husband is my best friend and my favorite sparring partner. We fight, but we also love. Sure, it's not as simple to get his kisses and affection, but why should love be simple? That's not the kind of marriage I want. Passionate love is complicated by nature. It is full of shades of gray and complications. It's the kind of love that makes life worth living. I love Rocky, but compared to what I have built with my husband, my love for him is nothing.

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If you find you love your dog more than your spouse, maybe you are doing things wrong. When spousal love is right, it feels complicated but also simple. Like a best friend you get to wake up next to every day. Man's best friend is not his pooch, in fact. It's his wife. That's the right way to do marriage. Love your dog, but keep it in perspective, people.

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