Marriage Bloopers. Part 2
Posted by Jenni Clayville.
It’s funny… Brian and I rarely fight anymore. We have conversations. We have disagreements. We have dialogue… but we don’t really fight.
In the first few years of our marriage, we fought. Like Cindy & Chris… we fought. And when I say “we fought”, what I really mean is Brian would avoid conflict, and I would push for it. We didn’t know it at the time, but what I wanted was to encourage dialogue to work through an issue and what Brian was avoiding was anything that resembled a disagreement. Not a good combination.
One day, I was trying to talk through a situation (God knows what now…) and Brian barely even looked at me. He didn’t want to start a fight so he kept his eyes glued on the tv. All I could see was how disengaged he was. I mistook his desire for peace as a sign of him not caring. So instead of putting him at ease, I pushed the issue more. I nagged. I sighed. I gave him the silent treatment while I cleaned the kitchen… loudly. However… I only grew more and more furious in his silence.
I noticed our brand new beautiful toaster oven had crumbs sitting on the bottom. I had asked him “a MILLION” times to use the tray included in the oven when toasting to help alleviate a mess. As I tried to clean it in my fury, I realized how little control I had. I wanted to talk. I wanted his attention. I wanted a clean toaster… but I was obviously not approachable at the time.
Next thing you know, I’m hurling my beautiful brand new toaster oven with all my might down to the ground. I hated this toaster oven and all it’s fake beauty. I picked it up just to hurl it down again.
My husband, who was previously trying to avoid any drama, could no longer ignore me.
I was in tears. Hysterical. Literally over bread crumbs.
Before I could pick up the oven again to smash it some more, Brian grabbed me and pulled me into his chest. I’m 5’2″ and he’s 6′ tall. When he chooses to hold me, he HOLDS me.
He didn’t yell at me or call me crazy (though I’m pretty sure I was certifiable at that moment), but he held me tight and said nothing. There was nothing that could be said. He just held me. And loved me.
I wish I figured it out then (of course it took me till after a much BIGGER blooper)… but if I had simply said “Babe… I need you to turn that off so we can talk” that day, I would probably still have a toaster oven. Imagine… actually trying to communicate instead of trying to manipulate a situation.
Because I couldn’t control the situation and because I didn’t know how to TRULY communicate, I threw an adult sized tantrum. I assumed a lot that day. I assumed my husband didn’t care. I assumed I was alone. I didn’t have his best interest in mind either. I was out to win. Win what? I don’t know. Obviously nothing that mattered.
Instead of throwing my obvious lack of sanity in my face, my husband held me. He showed me he wasn’t going anywhere. He didn’t engage in my crazy and he didn’t elevate the dramatics of the situation. He calmed them. He was the one who acted like a grown-up and communicated without words.
Isn’t it interesting how we try to avoid the hard work of communication? Why can’t they just read our minds? A marriage takes work… and the first part is learning to understand and hear each other.
In other news… I’ve never gotten another toaster oven.