Tuesday, September 18, 2012
My husband is just about perfect. He is kind, funny, thoughtful and motivated. He is not only an awesome spouse, but an excellent parent. He believes in fairness, forgiveness and simply doing what is right. He is just about perfect. But even Lord Perfection can become irritated with me. Hey, what can I say, its a gift. We get into these infinite altercations that USUALLY spawn from my tendency to put my foot in my mouth. We try our hardest to find the source of the disagreement, but never quite come to a reasonable solution. The arguments just seem to get bigger and bigger and a place of peace seems so far out of reach. It feels like we stall out. AHA! Holy analogy Batman! Your relationship is like a car. You do the basic things to keep it moving; filling the gas tank, making sure the tires are road ready, and you just GO! Day in and day out, you are able to pile your kids in and get from point A to point B when those basic needs are met. You are giving minimal effort. Then one day, the thing starts sputtering and clanking."CHECK ENGINE" light begins to blink. NOW you instantly remember this thing has an engine. Yes, the engine. It is the most important part of the vehicle; its central nervous system. Without the engine, your car would be a sports utility tin can. So, what is my point? We forget to care for the foundation of our families. Your union is what started this journey. Your teamwork is what keeps your family functioning. Why are we simply doing just enough to go through the motions? Why are we only going from point A to point B? The check engine light is not just a cool feature that came with your vehicle, its a warning. Its your cars way of letting you know, your engine could completely stop functioning. I honesty think the arguments are important. Our light is blinking. We cant come to an ending point because even with the sounds of the clanking and banging, we are STILL trying to find a quick fix to our problem. We're going to have to 'pop the hood' on this situation.
I am no one's mechanic, trust me, but since high school I have been the proud owner of some of the world's worst cars. I think I know a little something about diagnostics. (I am also not a psychologist, but I slept in PSYCH 101 in college.I have references that can vouch for that if need be. I'm sure I was snoring.) Let's ask ourselves some important questions:
1. When did the fighting begin?
How did all of this start? Is this something trivial? Can I offer an apology for being a butt head? Are they just having a bad day? You've had a crying newborn, you know how this works.
2. Are we GETTING ALL UP IN IT?
For those of you who do not live in my mind, this simply means take time aside to talk/assess the situation in full. Do not walk away. Do not give up or give in. Remind one another that the goal is to come to a solution that you BOTH are HAPPY with.
3. Do you know what going on in each others lives?
Now, hold on. If "She drops the kids off for soccer practice on Thursdays" was your answer. Slap yourself. Lord Perfection has a tendency to keep his "goings-on" to himself. He thinks he is being helpful. Its not, bud. Everyone needs to vent. EVERYONE. Even Super Moms and Dads. You cannot help but internalize your personal feelings when you are raising a family. Because, you know, kids take over your life. BUT this is why you have a partner. See that guy next to you struggling to close the stroller? Yea, him, he understands. I'm sure he'd love to swap horror stories. I bet there is a jerk at his job too. Or perhaps she would just like to watch the game in her underwear also! Okay, don't count on that last one. Just talk will ya!
4. Are we doing the Tootsie Roll?
We are surrounded by children, CONSTANTLY. We have had to develop "code" words for any grown up conversations. This is a precautionary measure. (You hear your 3 year old call his little brother a douche bag and you quickly learn that little ears are bionic). With that being said, I refer to our intimate time as the "tootsie roll". Don't ask, just walk with me. Sex, is extremely important. Go on; admit you get cranky if you aren't doing it. You know what? You should be frustrated! Sex is a way to physically reconnect. You can FEEL how important you are to one another. It is the ultimate expression of affection between spouses.
5. Do we need recess?
Parents need a break. You are working the hardest job know to man, WITHOUT CLOCKING OUT. Now, before you contact your local Department of Labor, set aside some kid-free time. Even a few hours will make your jobs far less stressful. Again, adults are only tall children. You need to be having some fun! I bet its been a while since the two of you were the ones misbehaving in public. Skip dinner and a movie. Go to an amusement park; go dancing; jump into a mosh pit at a heavy metal concert! Be carefree... together. Who knows, you may even get lucky at the end of the night.
I must reiterate, I am not a psychologist. I am not an expert. I am only a spouse who understands how hard it is to maintain a relationship while raising children. You must remember your relationship is the most important component of your family. It is the engine that keeps your "car" running. When the light blinks, stop and solve the problem. Do not let a small issue become a big problem. You love one another. Keep your motor running.
See what I just did there...