Stomping like a child, I stormed back and forth between our garage and house. I was so angry! Brad and I were packing for a trip to spend time with my family. We were in a disagreement about where we were going to stay and how much time we were going to spend with my family while on the trip. I thought he should want more time with my family. Our interaction soured the whole trip. This is my first recollection of my marriage making me mad.
Almost fifteen years in, and a few mad episodes later, here are some reflections on ways to minimize marriage madness.
I am a recovering complainer.
We were having a picnic lunch on a beautiful May afternoon. There were three moms and four children. While the children played, the moms talked. I remember talking about my house. Actually, I did a lot of talking about my house. I had a lot of complaints. I live in a 117-year-old house that, by default, we are fixing up. It is one problem after another. Not only did I complain about all there is to fix, but I also complained about the layout, the size of the rooms, the lack of closets, the location of the bathrooms, the lack of air conditioning… I’ll stop there. The picnic ended. We parted ways.
Not long after the picnic, one of the three moms invited all of us over to her house. I parked in front and my daughter and I followed the sidewalk to the back of the house where there was a tiny backyard. We greeted each other and were given a tour of the house. I thought my house had small rooms. I thought my house had problems. Her living room was smaller than our office. There was one bedroom for four people, and it was smaller than my bedroom. The floor was uneven. It was dark. It was crowded. I was embarrassed. I had complained about my house and here she lived in a smaller, more run down home than I did. I felt terrible. Read More
The plane landed and I hurriedly walked to meet my ride. After having been gone for a five day business trip, I was eager to meet my family at my son’s flag football game. After we shared hugs and heard about the kids’ week, my husband informed me that he had moved everything out of our office to install some carpet. “Oh!” I said, trying to manage my surprise. He went on to say, “I labeled anything that I moved and organized it in bags and laundry baskets so you can find it.” Unsure what to say next, I replied, “Wow, that was a lot of work!” Inside, I was a mess of emotions ranging from, “Oh my, I wasn’t ready yet!” to, “I can’t believe he moved all my paperwork! How will I find…” to, “He was just trying to finish a project we had been planning,” to, “Don’t blow up. He put a lot of work into this. Show him respect. Calm down. It had to be done at some point.” Read More
Recently, my husband and I had an argument about how to get rid of some junk in our garage. I wanted to post it on Craig’s List for free. He wanted to take it to the dump. I didn’t want to pay to get rid of it. He didn’t want it sitting on our front yard. We compromised and agreed that I could post it on Craig’s list for three days and if it wasn’t gone he could take it to the dump. Three days later, very little of it had been picked up and my husband had figured out what could be taken to the Reuse Center and what needed to go to the dump. Read More
The 2016 Rio Olympics have come to a close and for those who have watched, we have been inspired by seeing the fruits of the Olympians’ years of preparation and labor. What can we learn from Olympians to inspire our pursuit of a “Gold Medal Marriage”?
- Olympians work at it every day. They daily-discipline themselves to do what they ought to do, not what they want to do. In marriage that may mean holding our tongue, doing the dishes, or actively listening to each other.
- Olympians build on each other’s strengths. Synchronized swimming teams identify who is the best person to do the lifting and who is the best person to be lifted. Once those roles are identified, the coach trains each person to excel in their role. What are your strengths? What are your partner’s strengths? Have you defined roles and responsibilities to align with each other’s strengths? Read More
“I will buy water works from you for $250,” my husband offered. We were playing our first family game of Monopoly. Sitting around the board was my daughter who is eight, my son who is ten, my husband Brad, and myself. Having played board games with my husband for 13 plus years, I knew what kind of overall “game player” he was – aggressive. However, I had never played Monopoly with him. He was definitely aggressive, buying up properties left and right and making deals on the side.
As the game went on, greed was evident, as well as spending all your money, taking big chances, and mortgaging property to pay bills. I found myself reflecting on what we were indirectly teaching our kids about money by the way he and I were playing the game. I worried that Brad and I were modeling behaviors and values that we did not espouse in our management of money. Read More