Friday, October 4, 2013

Step Four: Hold Your Horses. And Your Temper. But Not That Knife.

Most husbands people avoid fights. They'll sometimes fight for you but for the most part they don't like to fight with you. 

This has been my hardest lesson in marriage so far because, ladies and gentlemen, I have a short-temper. I get annoyed by the smallest things- people won't get out of the way for me to disembark from the train, sewing teeny tiny even straight lines, even flies that are way too skilled at avoiding the fly swatter can piss me off. For the most part my anger fiercely burns for about two hours; the average play time of a feature length movie, or the time it takes for a pie to be made. 

In that time Mr. E can walk in unknowingly...or sometimes he's the cause of it because hey we're human, and it's all I can do not to lump him in with all of the other no-good-very-bad-awful things that are happening to ME. Because in my life the world revolves around me and my wants and desires and when things don't fall into place the best I can do is lash out. 

Except I can't. Because I'm not five. Or even fifteen.

My marriage is a partnership- we're equal and equivalent and all the other ways to say THE SAME. As in neither of us is more important than the other. None of our wants or hopes or goals is more important or less important because the other person has them and we don't. That's not to say that we have the same goals, but just because they're different or our methods clash doesn't mean that the other person is WRONG. Because nobody likes being told that they're wrong. Nobody likes being yelled at or having the door slammed in their face or listening to that self-important "I told you so" voice from their spouse.

One of my favorite things about my husband is how much he has taught me about patience and forgiveness and turning the other cheek. Our story is one of opposites: we fought more before we got married than we ever have after that knot was tied (literally; we did a hand-fasting ceremony). We would bicker all of the time, but I didn't mind because
a) I kind of like to fight 
b) I am independent and assertive, hear me ROAR! 
c) we rarely did it in person so I wasn't very inconvenienced.

But fighting face to face is extremely inconviencing. You have to face that person over and over again as you slam through the house pointedly trying to avoid the other person. All of a sudden we were playing musical rooms, each of us huffing and puffing to get our own way in 800 square feet. Nobody is winning here. Frankly, at this point, neither of us even like the game anymore.

So tactics had to change. Being at odds about one thing usually led to us being at odds about everything so Long Nights On-Set Without Checking-In turns into Never Being Able To Fold the Towels Correctly or Don't Leave the Nice Knives in the Sink. This is not conducive to getting your husband to do what you want. In fact, this isn't getting you anywhere.

I am breaking my habits and trying again (and again) to be more like my husband: reserving judgement until the situation has been explained. Keeping my cool. Trying to understand his point of view. When I reach out like this and let him know that not only am I trying to reign in my gut-reaction, but also trying to see his way of things, Mr. E is way more accommodating- partially because he has a sympathetic heart and he knows how hard that can be for me, but also because by treating him like my partner even at my most out-of-control moments he is reminded that I have crazy love and respect for him. Seriously.

To get your husband to do what you want (and enjoy doing it) you need to treat him as your equal. Sometimes that means physically swallowing the rage and bile that threatens to spew forth when you've told him for the umpteenth time to put his shoes away. So remember to  put a cork in it- he'll be more likely to help you out or listen to your side of the story if you show him self-control.

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Mrs. E