I have found recently that the price you pay for new things in your life is new things to fight about with your husband. Chris and I honestly don’t fight that often, and when we do it lasts about 2.7 seconds and then we buy each other ice cream and move on. We both have thick skin, but more importantly, we both know that the best way for us to deal with things is to just say whats eating on us and then duke it out for a few rounds and move on. And eat ice cream.
We’ve talked about it before and we both think this comes from doing long distance for four years while we were in college. When your primary source of communication is a cell phone with crappy service, you learn to be clear, concise, and honest. Its hard to play head games when you’re on a cell phone. Try being coy or aloof when your cell phone battery is beeping in your ear because your battery is about to die. So very, very UNdramatic. We’ve learned that when something is bothering us, its much faster to just say what the problem is. And, lets face it, we’re lazy people. Putting it all out there just takes so much less effort than trying to craft elaborate games of “guess why I’m mad today…”
Lately though, there just seems to be more topics for debate. It started small. I wanted a nice neutral living room color. Chris wanted hooker red. This week, its gotten progressively bigger. If I were writing a book about our marriage and needed to title this chapter, I would call it “Adjusting Our Routine: Life After Chris’ Employment.” Chris, however, would title it, “Pay Attention to Me, Dammit!”
For three years, I have been the wife of a Yale graduate student. I learned right away that rather than get mad at his schedule and lack of free time, I should just find something else to do. True, this something else was sometimes throwing pennies at him while he worked for hours on his thesis. Nevertheless, I learned to keep myself entertained. That actually was 90% of the reason I got my own masters degree. I thought, “I can either do yoga every afternoon while I wait for graduation day, or I can work on something productive that I can use the rest of my life.” I made girlfriends to have dinner with and go see movies. I went shopping. I started this blog. I learned to bake (sort of).
In the last week, though, these things that have been part of my routine for three years are suddenly really pissing Chris off! A few nights ago, he was watching TV so I played online in our office for a while. Chris kept walking into the office and just standing there, then walking out again. Finally, he made some snide remark about how I wasn’t spending any time with him. Then, he came home yesterday from work and found me taking a nap. I had been home for a while and knew we were going out with friends later, so I took a load off for a while. Everyone knows I prefer to sleep over doing laundry. That’s no secret and nothing new. But Chris walked into the bedroom and looked disgusted. It was like he had caught me eating Chunky Monkey out of the carton in a closet somewhere. This time his snide comment was along the lines of, “I’m home. Get up.”
He’s like many of the elementary kids who are getting for the summer. He’s been looking forward to not being in school for so long, but now that it is here and he has all this free time, he’s bored and he’s looking for trouble. And since his little sister lives 2,000 miles away in Orlando and since I’m almost positive SHE could actually beat HIM up, he’s decided he’ll pick on me instead.
Yesterday, after chastising me for taking a nap (the nerve!) he decides to accuse me of not paying any attention to him. Oh brother. Here we go. So I yell back to him (as politely as possible, of course, because I’m nothing if I’m not a lady…) “MY LIFE DOESN’T STOP JUST BECAUSE YOU GET A JOB!” And you can pretty much tell how things went from that point. As we are going round for round on this one, Chris is turning on the shower and getting ready to get in because we are going to a friend’s house for dinner. So, he closes the door on me and gets undressed and gets in the shower. End of discussion. I pace around the house fuming for a few minutes and then suddenly I throw open the bathroom door and yell at my poor, naked, soapy husband, “AND ANOTHER THING…”
Ladies and gentlemen, please refrain from attacking your spouse in combat when either of the parties is naked. It tends to take the fire out of your argument a bit.
Like usual, in the short time it took Chris to put some clothes on, we were over the argument and packing a beer cooler to take to dinner. I’m fairly positive that this little incident will come back a few more times in the next few months, but I’m also fairly positive the naked thing was the low point, so that’s good news. Better to just get the low point out of the way right off the bat.
What can I say though? Fightin’ words are just part of relationships. We say them, own up to them, apologize for them, and move on. But, just between you and me, I will fight to the death before I allow hooker red walls to be painted in my living room.