Tag Archives: arguing

#37: Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do.

8 Dec

At least, that’s what they say. And it’s what I’ve been trying to put into practice.

Patience is something I’m still working very hard on. I’m not afraid of confrontation, but I try to avoid it if it’s not really necessary.

But in order to not be confrontational over minor things (which could come across as ‘nagging wife’ or ‘complaining wife’) one must exercise some patience.

I’ve been getting better at it. Last night, my husband and I were talking, and it got to be late. My husband HATES talking about anything serious before bed. I, on the other hand, can not sleep if stuff is on my mind, and I feel most comfortable talking to him when we ARE in bed. Our guard is down, we’re comfortable, we’re not tense. It seems like a PERFECT place and time to talk.

But he doesn’t like to; maybe he feels vulnerable. Maybe he actually wants to sleep when he gets into bed. I don’t know or understand the reason why, but since me bringing up things before bed seemed to always turn things into a crazy fight, I’ve been trying to honor his request to not talk about anything serious before sleep.

So last night, as we started talking, he said he’d rather not, and really wanted to get some sleep.

And I obliged and shut my mouth. That was an exercise in patience. Not so much because I had something burning that I just HAD to discuss (the issue was minor), but because I’m not sure when I’ll get to have my say and I have to sit and wonder when he might want to talk. I have to be a mindreader. If I bring it up again, I’m a nagging wife.

Last night, he had his say (he disagreed with me), then said he would really like some sleep.

This takes me to something else completely. Sometimes I don’t even care what the issue is about. I just want to know that he takes my opinion/thoughts/whatever seriously, even if he disagrees. I want to know that he’s at least trying to understand what I’m saying. I don’t know that if he gets to say his peace and then decides the conversation is over.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not even mad. There’s no point. We’re going to be with each other for a long time, and if he hates talking before bed, nothing is going to magically make him like it. So it’s my turn to make the accommodation and try to be patient.

Sometimes I want to blow up and say, “Well when the heck do you expect us to talk? We work all day, come home, feed the kids, eat our dinner, do bedtime for the kids, do some chores, maybe watch an hour of tv, and then it’s our bedtime! Bedtime is the only time we have peace and quiet. When do you propose we talk???”

But I know that’s not a good direction to go, either. I think most times if I’m just patient and calm, things will work themselves out. Things will eventually get addressed.

So I’m going to work some more on being patient, not rushing to solutions, decisions, or blowing up and yelling.

But does this make a really understanding wife, or a pushover?

Situation #7: You know how you have to argue something to the very end on principle alone?

22 Oct

Yeah, well, you don’t.

Don’t argue it and bring it up to death, even on principle alone, (unless it’s something you feel SO strongly about that you will divorce them unless they somehow see your reasoning and agree with you.)

Pick your battles.

I picked the wrong one last night (again) and kind of feel like an ass idiot.

You live and you learn.

And I’m trying to learn to bite my tongue when it’s not a big deal, or even if it is a big deal but not worth getting into a huge fight over.

Marriage Project Assessment #4 – Bake, Cook, Ego-Boost and Clean your way to a Happier Marriage

21 Oct

At least, that’s what I’ve been doing to work towards a better marriage. Not that there’s much wrong with it to begin with, but it seems to me that it’s easier to tend to your marriage when it’s not in trouble.

Well, all this cooking, cleaning, and loving up my husband seems to be making a HUGE difference (either that, or he’s found and reading my blog!) I started this blog to work on things I can control in my marriage (as opposed to using this as a place to vent about marriage and my husband). I can’t control my husband. I can only control me.

As I’ve mentioned several times before, the intent here is to better MYSELF in my marriage, but then unintended consequence here is that my husband has been just amazing. He’s been communicating a lot more than he EVER has. I mean, he talks a lot (we love to talk about anything and everything), but as far as communicating about feelings, emotions, or dealing with issues, that’s always been a little struggle for us.

So yesterday, when he IMed me about some errands we needed to get done, I was feeling particularly lovey, and I told him out of the blue, “You know, you’re a GREAT husband and father.” And he wrote back, “You know what, THANK YOU, that means so much to me.” Who knew?? I thought I’d get a standard “Thanks.”

Last night, I got home before he did and got to work reviewing my cleaning planner. I did some dishes, got dinner started, got coffee ready for the morning, and finished folding the laundry. I had quite a bit done before he even got home. We watched the rest of the Yankees game together (Yeah!!! They Won !!!!!!.) Then we went to bed super-early to watch the Giants against the Phillies. At 9pm. We just kind of cuddled, and it was incredible. Then out of nowhere, he tells me how happy he is in general, how glad he is that I’m his wife, and how glad he is that I’m the mother of his child. He also went on to tell me that he’s made an effort to try very hard lately – my hangups are staying clean and orderly and keeping my head on straight, his is that he tends to get a little angry and let things bother him. He told me that he’s trying hard to not place blame every time something small goes wrong, and he apologized for sometimes placing that extra blame on me when it’s not warranted.

Wow!

Am I making a difference here?

Furthermore, our marriage IS good already. Do you think for people who are having marriage troubles could follow the same steps that I do and receive the same outcome, even if they think their spouse is at fault? If they work on the ‘small things’ like I am, could their spouses outlook improve as well as an unintended consequence?

 


Some useful links:

 

Archive of my marriage projects

My marriage project assessments so far

What is this marriage project all about?

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Situation #6: Weekend update.

11 Oct

DC Bomb Scare. 5mph on the highway. A cranky husband. Those are just a few of the things that have occurred over the past three days.

As most of you know, my husband went away to a conference last week, and I wasn’t sure how I’d handle it. As I mentioned in my last post, I thought I did pretty darn good!

I couldn’t WAIT to see him. He’s been a ball of mush lately, and I’ve been riding the wave of the whole ‘in-love’ part of marriage for the last few weeks.

Trying to leave work:

Friday afternoon, we texted all afternoon, and I was so excited for him to board his flight to head home. About an hour before leaving work, one of my colleagues noticed lots of police outside our office and that the road was closed. I’m not an alarmist, but here’s something I haven’t mentioned yet;

  • Fact #1 I live in Washington, DC. And if you guess that police action in DC is common, you’d be guessing right.
  • Fact #2 I work in an office that is VERY close to The White House (and yes, I know the picture I posted is not of the White House).

So of course my alarm bells were ringing. Then our front desk told us that it was a bomb scare. I left work and went to get the kiddo from daycare to head home.  All in all, it took me an hour and a half to leave work, get the kiddo, and get back home. That’s less than 20 miles, by the way.

Getting to the airport:

I fed the kiddo a quick dinner, packed up the baby bag with goodies in case we had to wait too long at the airport, and we took to the road. It’s 29 miles to the airport. Husband’s flight was scheduled to arrive at 8:49pm. I left the house at 7:15pm I figured that would give me time to park, find his gate, and be waiting at the appropriate area for him.

I was wrong. There was a major accident on the highway, and I was slowed to 5mph. For OVER five miles. Now, there were several exits I could have taken to get off the highway and take backgrounds, but wouldn’t you know, he was arriving at the only DC area airport I haven’t yet been to (we have three major airports here, one I can SEE right out my window. He was not arriving at that one.) So I couldn’t get off the highway; I had no idea where to go. I eventually made it, and arrived right as he was exiting the terminal. Right on time!! It was so exciting! He was with a colleague, so I didn’t get all mushy right away. As his colleague was walking away, he said to my husband, “See you on Monday!”

See you on Monday? SEE YOU ON MONDAY??? Monday is a holiday!! I have it off. He thought he had it off.

He texted his boss to confirm that Monday was a work day. It was. I had to bite my tongue. I hadn’t seen my husband in days, and thought we were going to have a nice long weekend together. It wasn’t his fault, though. No use taking it out on him.

The weekend

My awesome wonderful husband was a crank all weekend. He complained that there was a basket of laundry that wasn’t folded, that there were dishes in the sink… the list goes on. I felt totally deflated. I thought I did a good job! Between the kiddo being sick, me trying to work, trying to get everything done…ugh. I know I’m not the most tidy person you’ve ever met. I admit I’m not. And I know it frustrates my husband, because, well, he IS rather tidy.

I don’t like being untidy; I just FORGET to do stuff.

Saturday afternoon, I went over to Barnes and Noble and bought a weekly planner. In the back, in the notes section, I wrote out a checklist of all the stuff I should be doing on a daily basis (one page for morning, one page for afternoon). And then on the actual days, I’ve started writing other chores that need to be done; for example, today I need to sew a button on a pair of pants. Had I not written it on the calendar for today, it may not have gotten done until next weekend.

The Rest

Even so, the husband has still been a bit cranky all weekend long, and a little distant too. I was frustrated. I know I’m not neat, and I know it frustrates him, but was that reason for me to totally feel deflated? It’s a pretty crappy feeling.

So this morning I sent him an email:

Hey handsome. I love you, and the kiddo and I miss you today.I’m really not sure what happened this weekend.. (besides our great lovin’), I just felt like you were distant and somewhere else. I was so looking forward to seeing you after your trip, and I feel like it just did not go  anything like I thought I would. I thought things had been going great for weeks, I felt really good like we were in a good place, but this weekend was just a down weekend I guess. I felt you come across as negative and cranky all weekend, and it got me really uptight. I’m sorry about all the stuff around the house; I’ll keep trying to work on it. I’ve got a little list going today. I love you lots, and I really look forward to spending the weekend with you next weekend.

He sent two responses, which I’ve edited and put together to save space:

I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to come across that way. I’ve been stressed out about work. It isn’t happening fast enough and that just doesn’t bode well. Everything that I’ve put together has fallen apart and everything of value is taking too long to materialize. So, it’s been weighing on me for a few weeks now.I should have told you that this was stressing me out and not made you feel like it’s you, and I’m sorry if I’ve been taking it out on you.

I learned a few lessons, here:
  • I thought this was all about ME. The world doesn’t revolve around me.
  • I’m glad I had some self-restraint. Earlier, my husband had told me he appreciated me picking him up at the airport, and that his colleague’s wife wasn’t picking him up because it was too much of a hassle. When he started getting on my case about the laundry and the dishes later, it took every ounce of me to not say to him, “Well perhaps this is why your colleague’s wife doesn’t pick him up at the airport; she’s probably too busy at home tidying up to perfection so he doesn’t complain when he gets home.” I can guarantee, though, if I had said that, there’s no way he would have opened up to me and told me he was stressed at work with his new job. He would have been justified in making it about me.
  • It’s best to stay calm and not rush to judgment.
  • My husband is TRYING. He’s REALLY trying. He’s not exactly Mr. Openupandsharefeelings, especially when I bitch back at him, so this is major. He wants to work hard for our marriage, and it’s a conscious thing. He’s not just subconsciously or peripherally thinking about our marriage and our family.

 

Update to Mistake #2: Know when to grow a pair. Also know when to let something go. Don’t be wishy-washy.

29 Sep

Crisis averted? Maybe?

I eventually went to bed. He was asleep, and as much as I really, really, really wanted to talk, I kept my mouth shut. As I was drifting off, I could hear our little one tossing and turning through the baby monitor. My turn to get up, of course. He settled back down, but the noise of the kiddo woke my husband up, too.

He kind of looked around (I think he was unsure if I was back yet), and HE ASKED ME HOW MY NIGHT OUT WAS.

There I was, expecting him to turn his back on me, expecting him to give me the silent treatment as a form of punishment, but no. He asked me how my night out was.

So, was I expecting my expectations much too low in the arguing arena? I don’t know, but when I had come to bed, I was on the defensive, ready to go at it if he should say anything to hurt my stupid fragile feelings.

After we talked about that for a minute, he apologized for fighting with me. And you know what? After a long miserable day from hell, that was enough. That was MORE than enough. At this point I didn’t even care about the original issue; it’s really something we may just have to agree to disagree about. I apologized, too, for pushing and pushing earlier in the day.

Overall, I think that went okay. Crisis averted. Time to get back at it and start a new ‘project.’

Mistake #2: Know when to grow a pair. Also know when to let something go. Don’t be wishy-washy.

28 Sep

Mistake:

Let’s be clear that I’ve made more than two mistakes since starting this blog, but I try to write about positive things and keep the tone of the blog pretty upbeat.

But I think I screwed the pooch on this one. I don’t necessarily think my position that has caused us to argue is ‘wrong,’ I happen to think it’s right, but I know I haven’t exactly handled myself well.

I just got home from an evening out with friends. My husband was supposed to come too, but wasn’t really up to it with us being frustrated with each other. I was bummed that he didn’t want to come, but maybe it was better because we had some cooling off time.

Whenever we get upset with each other, I’m always afraid that he hates me or will leave me, so I often keep my mouth shut to avoid an even worse argument. Other times, I want to tell him off. Somehow, I seem to end up somewhere in the middle consistently, and it NEVER works.

My husband has some buttons, and I try not to push them. He hates ‘discussing’ things before bed, so I try to avoid it because I know it won’t help anything. Which is why tonight, I’m writing instead of going to bed. If I go to bed, I’ll never be able to keep my mouth shut, and I won’t be able to sleep. Lose/lose. He also hates when I ‘push’ him, and, well, today I definitely pushed.

But when’s it my turn? When do I get to talk about how I feel? I tried to talk to him today, but he thinks I’m bringing up “the same old issues.” Or thinks I’m bringing on drama or creating drama. I hate that he doesn’t take me seriously.

I feel like when we DO have a bad fight, this is where it ends up. I feel like I don’t get the same respect when I try to tell him what I’m feeling as he demands when he’s trying to tell me how he’s feeling. And when he pulls the silent treatment, it feels like he doesn’t give a shit at all.

I know what we were arguing about, and I’m willing to fully accept the fact that we might not ‘agree’, but I know that the process of arguing (me being pushy; him pulling the silent treatment) frustrates the heck out of me. The whole thing is just hurtful. I want him to care about what I think even if he totally disagrees with it. The silent treatment? Well, that just sucks the life out of the recipient.

Am I glossing a heck of a lot of this over? Well, yes. There are two sides to every story. But I guess for me, this has turned into stress about HOW we argue, and for him, it’s about me complaining. Again.

I feel like if we both just sat down, talked calmly, and heard each other out, things would be much better.

When things are good, they are very good. When we argue, I feel like it’s the end of the world.

He did leave the light on for me tonight, though, so perhaps it’s NOT actually the end of the world?

Time to start a new ‘project’ tomorrow.

Project #17: Organize the ‘Pile of Doom’ (i.e., The Mail Pile)

13 Sep

Project:

Do you have a huge pile of mail on the kitchen counter? Dining room table? Somewhere? How come every time I clean up the pile, it’s suddenly there again?

Our pile is on the kitchen counter.

And regardless of how much I try to clean it up, it’s always there.  It drives my husband NUTS, much like me not hanging up the phone. He’s even taken to calling it ‘The Pile of Doom.’ You know it’s bad if it’s got its own nickname.

He is like a nagging wife about it. Sometimes I wonder, “Why can’t you clean the stinkin’ pile?” But considering the pile usually consists of:

  • bills
  • coupons
  • junk mail
  • school / medical / other financial ‘stuff’

how could he clean the stinkin’ pile? It’s my job in our marriage to handle the bills,  manage the organization of coupons, and to file  school/medical and whatever else paperwork. So it doesn’t make sense for him to manage the pile. As much as I want him to, there’s no point; he’d be handing it all off to me anyway! He’s busy enough doing other stuff, like cooking dinner (since I’m a terrible chef) and doing the dishes (since the sink makes me gag.)

Yesterday, he got on my case again about the ‘Pile of Doom.’ And I don’t blame him. It’s on the kitchen counter, on a space he needs to prepare dinner.

I did get a little desk mail holder about a year ago, but it turns out it’s too small to hold the mail until I get a chance to sort through it. (And he’ll never let me forget that I bought it and don’t use it!)

So yesterday at Target, I found some folders by the Post-it Note people for organizing. The neat thing is, they stick to the wall! How awesome!

I put them up next to our keys, so I can just dump the mail in them as I hang up the keys at the end of the day. Then I can sort through the mail when I’m ready.

Here are some sample pictures from online of what these things look like:

I put the pockets up last night and cleaned up the ‘Pile of Doom,’ but so far he has yet to notice. I don’t care if he notices the pockets or not. I just hope he feels better about his kitchen counter being clean!

Result:

TBD

(Curious what my Marriage Project is all about?)

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