Misadventures of a 20-Something Mom: January 2013   

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Making Marriage Work...Because Murder is Frowned Upon

Let me set the stage for an epic marital argument that occurred in my house today.

1) My husband decided to take the baby for a bike ride.
2) Ecstatic to have some baby-free time, I whipped up a tile grout cleaning connection I saw on pinterest and began scrubbing a small area of our floor. (Don't ask me why I chose this as my "fun," baby free activity, I'm not quite sure either.)
3)Hubbie came back with a tired, hungry, and cranky baby and found me Cinderella-style scrubbing said tile. (melodrama-intended)
4) Baby began screaming because he wasn't allowed in the kitchen where I was scrubbing.
5) Husband grew more and more perturbed by the minute.
6) Pot finally boiled over when hubbie stomped into the kitchen in a rage, and fell ass over tea kettle onto my sparkling clean floor.
7) And so began a long, nasty, tirade, directed at moi.

Today, my husband was a Grade-A, Douche-canoe. He was snarky. He was loud-mouthed. He was quick-tempered and downright mean. If his objective was to make me want to beat him with a rubber mallet, he not only succeeded, he struck that one out of the park. Needless to say, it was not his best day.

Thank baby Jesus, he hardly ever acts like that. Fortunately, today was the exception, not the rule.

HOWEVER, when he does act like a royal turd, I usually take his behavior as an invitation to lash back. To unload all of my pent up frustrations in a seemingly endless tirade of my own. A months worth of bottled up complaints and resentments can come spewing out of my mouth in a stream of verbal diarrhea.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine that there are probably better ways to respond.

So today, instead of losing my cool, chopping him in the throat, or plotting his murder, I just zipped my lips. And as hard as that was, it actually panned out. Remaining quiet gave me the necessary time to sort through my thoughts before responding to his asshattery. And I'll be damned if after thinking things through, I didn't realize that he kind of had a point. My timing for the floor cleaning project (right before the dinner/bedtime routine) was awful and the spot I picked to initiate it (the middle of our kitchen)was even worse. He was right, and I was wrong.

The way he addressed the issue, and the lame-sauce manner in which he spoke to me was hurtful and disappointing. I was right and he was wrong.

In essence, we were both right and both wrong. But while I was thinking, it occurred to me that marriage is so much more than that.

When my husband and I got married, we did so under the mutual understanding that we are in this for the long haul. In an era in which divorce is increasingly prevalent, our commitment to one another was not something taken lightly. Seeing as we both come from broken homes, divorce was never going to be an option for us. If and when we said "I do," we would make an irrevocable promise. A promise for forever.

I am happy to say that I am just as committed to this man today, as I was that August afternoon many years ago, when my shaky fingers slid a golden band onto his strong and steady ones and promised eternity. Today's fight does not even put a dent in the amount of love and adoration I have for him. And the next fight, or the one after that can't and won't shake our sturdy foundation either. Ours is a marriage based on friendship, laughter, trust, communication, and deep-seated love. I am confident that it will stand the test of time.

However, to prevent any homicides and ensure that our marriage remains fun and livable, it needs work. Every day. We have plenty more arguments in our future, but we need to learn to fight fair and communicate better as a preventative measure. My husband is a man of metaphors, so when I finally came back to discuss this particular disagreement, I tried to speak in his language.

I told him that our marriage is a bit like a house that you love dearly and plan on living out your days in. Home ownership take effort. You are either mindfully working to make it sparkle, or lackadaisically facilitating its dilapidation. For example, snippy comments to one another might be equivalent to a chipped floor tile in the house. Big, blowout arguments akin to a gaping hole in the drywall. After awhile, you lose sight of the house's true beauty, and all you can see are the flaws. On the other hand, striving to make one another happy and actively listening and communicating would be like patching those drywall holes or adding a fresh coat of paint to the "house."

My husband and I are both in this forever, so we just have to decide whether we want to live in a beautiful cottage or a dilapidated shack, and act accordingly. I challenge you, dear readers, to ask yourself the same.