My husband and I got into a fight.
Then this happened.
Have you ever noticed that when you have kids, work, and then a billion plates you’re spinning all at once that eventually those same plates come crashing down?
It doesn’t have to be a big crash, but simply a crack in the apparently perfect exterior of your happy home. I’ve found that almost every moment of every day is taken up by something, and even on my husband’s day off he is tackling some project that needs to be completed. I’m much the same always doing something. In my mother-mind I assume the home will simply crumble into ruins if I’m not attacking it with 409 and my trusty broom. Of note, it probably wouldn’t, but we might run out of clean silverware and socks.
On this particular day, having a secondary adult to help me, I decided to tackle cleaning the kids’ car seats, and anyone who has put one of those back together after washing the cover can vouch for my slip of sanity. Try three at once. As I tried to figure out what went where, bent back a fingernail on a stubborn snap, and struggled to pull small fabric over the plastic I fussed to myself.
That may be putting it mildly. Rather in a loud, grumbling voice I conversed sarcastically with the cumbersome safety device, and sarcasm just so happens to be my spouse’s least favorite language.
“Calm down!” He commanded harshly from the next room.
And at his tone of voice my already frayed nerves bristled, “well, excuse me! I guess I’m not allowed to ever get upset about anything!”
He retorted, “You do; I just never say anything about it! Cause when I do you get all bent out of shape, like you are now!”
He was right.
He rarely said anything.
Both of our tempers flared when confronted.
“You’re right. I’m sorry.” I called out.
And that was that. Or so I thought.
Within moments my six year old came into the kitchen.
“When’s your anniversary?” she asked.
“In November.” I answered. “Why?”
She said hesitantly, “I think you and dad need to go out for your anniversary. Because you had a fight. You need to be alone.”
With a smile I explained, “Just because Mommy and Daddy had an argument, that doesn’t mean anything. It’s ok.”
She smiled happily, walked away, and left me with a few things to mull over. First, it’s sad that my husband and I go out so little that my child associates our date night with a special occasion. Definitely need to work on that! Secondly, we probably needed to chisel down those spinning plates. That’s not easy when you’re running a household together, but quality time together on an off day was more important than any to-do list. But I suppose more than anything her concern made me feel good. The truth was my husband and I argued maybe 2-3 times a year, so the fact that she was so concerned about overhearing one made me grin. I was glad that it was something she took notice of, rather than a normal occurrence to not bat an eye about.
Something my husband said in our argument actually explained it. It wasn’t that we never disagreed, or that we didn’t do things that peeved the other off. We simply made the conscious effort to offer grace. And really, most things you can argue about aren’t really big things in the grand scheme. Sure, we discussed and talked through large, important issues, but nagging had no place. Neither did placing blame or pointing out inadequacies and idiosyncrasies. In other words, we didn’t fight about his laundry on the floor or my problem with forgetting until the last minute to tell him plans I’ve made for everyone.
Now, that certainly didn’t mean we had it all figured out. Perhaps a little more discussion of nuisances might prevent mini-explosions like the one I referenced above, but I thought we had a pretty good handle on it. The fact that neither of us minded apologizing when we were wronged helped.
There was no bitterness or hurt feelings after our spat, and the rest of the day went as if it hadn’t happened. I didn’t hold on to hurt feelings, and he didn’t imagine things that weren’t there. Our daughter could go on in shock in awe that Daddy raised his voice at Mommy, and as I had it figured we had knocked out 50% of our arguments for the year.