I am a fairly prolific Facebook poster and I know that sometimes my FB friends get to learn way more about what is on my mind than they want to, but I am also a firm believer that there are certain things that should not be posted. I will never post when my family is gone on vacation. I might as well say “Hey world! Our house is unoccupied! Feel free to come and take whatever you want! Oh, and sweep the floor while you’re at it, would ya?” I will never post compromising photos of myself. Because they don’t exist. And I will never post updates about arguments with my husband for all the world to see. In my humble opinion, those kinds of problems belong behind closed doors or with my girlfriends over glasses of appletinis.
That being said, I am going to share about a recent incident between my husband and I so that others can learn from my ridiculously ineffective communication strategies thereby vastly improving their own relationships. I’m like Dr. Phil over here. But with more hair.
Earlier this week my husband made some innocuous comment that I took the wrong way. You know, the same thing that happens in every household, I’m sure. Something like: “Nice day out, huh?” To which I responded with something like “What do you mean it’s a nice day out? Isn’t every day nice? You don’t appreciate me.” Or something to that effect, and then my feelings were hurt.
I really don’t get hurt feelings that often. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Earlier in our marriage, BK, (before kids), we used to fight more. They were often long, drawn out events that involved tears and drama and not much sleep. Because somewhere along the way, I had decided that the age old advice of “Never go to bed angry” was worth following. What a bunch of nonsense. All that did was make us tired the next day because we’d stay up until we weren’t angry and, since we are both seriously stubborn, that could take many, many hours.
Once we had kids, there was no time for staying up to “work it out”. I would go to bed on fire if it meant I got a precious minute of sleep. Plus, when we had kids, our priorities changed. We realized that there were more important things in life worth worrying about than who takes out the trash more often. We became much more efficient at resolving our differences because (a) we wanted to get to sleep while the getting was good and (b) and there was always some other minor crisis involving diaper explosions, lost dolls, or skinned knees which required our immediate attention.
Still, like all couples, we have our disagreements. My typical approach is to talk and nag about what is bothering me, to which my husband responds by either tuning me out or becoming defensive. I can’t say I blame him. We all tend to shut down when being told of our real or perceived shortcomings. Yet, despite this approach being highly ineffective, it was still my go-to whenever I became upset.
So this time when my feelings were hurt, I decided that I was not going to go all talky about it. Nope, instead I was going to be mature and reasonable and I was going to not speak. A.K.A… the Silent Treatment. Now, I am a grown ass woman. Why I thought this would be a good idea is beyond me, but I tried it anyway. For four days. Four, very long, very quiet days. Only, the thing is? Dear husband didn’t notice. In fact, I think he enjoyed the peace and quiet. I talked when I had to, of course, but I sounded like a caveperson with all my grunts and monosyllables. And the dude didn’t even realize that I was not talking to him!!! Which, of course, made me more ticked off.
So finally, when I could no longer hold it in after realizing that I was walking around all mad and upset for days, while he was living in the lap of luxury enjoying a break from my annoying voice, I said “I need to talk to you”. Usually when I utter those words, it is in the midst of some minor battle and they are not received well. I can see his imaginary armor and battle gear getting put into place ready to defend whatever I throw his way. But this time, he just said “okay”, stopped what he was doing, and looked at me. So, I told him what was bothering me, he listened to me, and he apologized. And that was it. Weird.
As I mentioned before, I’m hoping others can learn from my ineptitude, so here are the nuggets of wisdom I wish to share:
1. Appletinis are delicious.
2. The silent treatment does not work, it just makes you the one holding in all the bad feelings while your significant other goes about his or her day in sunshine and happiness.
3. Go to bed angry if you are tired. Sleep trumps all, especially when you have children.
4. Better yet, just let it go and then get some sleep. Things are never as bad as they seem in the morning.
5. Don’t rehash your relationship woes on Facebook. Nobody wants to hear it. Talk it out with your spouse. Get some counseling if you need. Or get some friends who enjoy appletinis.
Look out Dr. Phil!