“I got in an argument with a girlfriend inside of a tent. That’s a bad place for an argument because I tried to walk out, and had to slam the flap.” – Mitch Hedberg
OK, I realize that you are scared to death of fighting with Troy. In your growing up years arguments were verbally and occasionally physically violent affairs. In addition, you taught yourself to keep the peace at all cost, believing this was peacemaking. It’s not. Anyway, this is why you cry when Troy loses his temper instead of fighting back.
But one day you do fight back, and it’s wicked awesome.
So it’s late at night. You have had a grueling day with the kids, and they are finally sleeping. You just want to lie down, eat your bowl of chili in the basement den with your sweetie and watch some “Thursday-night line-up” to laugh out the stress and fatigue.
Troy gets a phone call and just sits there talking and slowly getting more and more annoyed. You don’t know why, so assume it’s about the call. When he gets off the phone he angrily reprimands you for not turning the TV down so that he could hear his call better. Now, he was talking on a portable phone; portable as in, you can take it with you to another room; as in, you do not need to sit here with me on the couch competing with Seinfeld; as in, you can get off your butt and take it somewhere else. (Yes, you still think he was in the wrong all these years later and continue to look for an opportunity to re-inform him of this. Having him proofread my blog works).
His getting snippy ticks you off, so you stomp over to the computer and slam the remote down on the desk. This cracks an empty CD case that was lying there – but more to the point – it startles Troy and his anger ratchets up. You turn and start to walk up the stairs when he says or does something over the line (I’ll let the specifics here be a surprise) so in (righteous) anger you whip around and throw your mostly full bowl of red chili at him.
Slight detour to our story: You should know that being married to an athlete does not turn you into one. You never do learn to catch or kick – or, more important to this story, throw – anything with your eyes open. Troy eventually outlines why vision is a key component of accuracy. This explains quite a bit about why you were always picked last for kickball. My advice? Keep focusing on your singing. If you close your eyes people just think you’re really into it.
So, as I said, you turn and throw the mostly full bowl of red chili at your husband, but of course, completely miss the target standing not five feet in front of you. Chili spatters all over the white carpet that blankets the room (you heard me right. White carpet. What kind of people with preschoolers and a German shepherd pick white carpet? The same idealists who believed in the rhythm method). The basement now looks like a murder scene…with beans.
The look of the perfect mix of shock, fear and rage that come across your man’s face is comical. He begins screaming in foreign tongues (never knew he spoke Vietnamese) and stomps over to the laundry room door, hitting it repeatedly with his head.
Second detour: As you know, Troy is a soccer player. What you don’t know is that when he loses his temper he slams his forehead into stuff like he’s going for the ball. Your first apartment, where you learn how to handle your finances together, had little round tennis ball sized pock marks running down the hallway. Every time this happened you secretly wished he would hit a stud. He never does and you don’t get your deposit returned.
And we’re back.
The irony of your man yelling in falsetto about how you have ruined the house while he destroys the laundry room door with his head is lost on him. You should be shaken up, but instead it is taking everything you have to not laugh in his face because, frankly, watching a grown man have a temper tantrum is hilarious. You have to cover your mouth so that he doesn’t see you laughing. He assumes you are crying and softens. Mwa-ha-ah!
The great thing about Troy is that once his anger is spent his sense of humor is heightened. You go to the store together to pick up some carpet cleaner and the two of you spend the rest of the evening crawling around on your hands and knees cleaning up the mess. Somehow this turns him on and you spend the next hour doing even more pleasant things.
Chickie-wa, do not be afraid of fighting with your husband. It’s great. It’s better than crying while eating a chocolate bar when you have your period. There are a few rules of thumb, however:
- Try not to do it in front of the kids. It could scare them. You do this so well when they’re growing up that when you slip up later in their teen years, not only are they not traumatized by it, but laugh at you.
- No name calling.
- Try not to throw/break stuff. (Except for those stupid Coca-Cola dishes he talked you into. What are we, in college?)
- Always talk it out afterward.
Keep in mind that fighting is different than arguing. You can argue and keep quite calm and rational. Fighting happens when you pretty much lose your mind and follow your animal instincts. Try to avoid this (we’ll discuss strategies later). But if you can’t, seeing the humor in it can turn a potential tragedy into a great memory. (and another child. Be careful there.)
Love, Older Wiser You