Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The First Fight

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As a married couple, of course we bicker and argue, but on Saturday, I think we had our first official fight. The screaming, yelling, refusing to back down sort of fight. It took us almost five years, but we finally got there and honestly, it's kind of a relief.

Let's start at the beginning. Saturday afternoon was our second annual open house. Just finger foods and drinks and catching up with the friends and coworkers who could drop by. Last year, the party went really well, so I was already feeling a lot of pressure to have similar results. As crazy as it sounds, we started planning six weeks ago, making a list of everything we wanted to finish on the house before the party. That list spurred a lot of progress, like the bedroom update.

With one week to go, I wrote another list. A list of all the smaller things that had to be done before the party, like all the party related details ("plan menu and make grocery list", "vacuum", etc.) and the day they needed to be done. I will be the first to admit that we quickly fell behind. Fortunately, Dan had Friday off and would be able to play catch-up, or so I thought.

To help him out, I numbered the items on the list so he would know what I thought was important. I showed him the list and he said "Ok, as long as I can take my Jeep in to get the last bit welded." My mistake #1: I shouldn't have assumed that because he said "Ok" it meant he thought he could get the list done. His mistake #1: he should have spoken up if he hadn't planned on doing it.

Friday evening, after getting home from work, an unproductive trip to Target, a marathon grocery store trip to buy food for the party, and decompressing while eating dinner, I asked about the status of the list. He tried to play cute, but he'd gotten one, maybe two, things done on the list, leaving at least six or seven things untouched.

I really wish there was a way to punish husbands. If I could ground him, my life would be so much easier.

Since it was already dark and I couldn't tackle a majority of the things he failed to do that day, I spent Friday night preparing as much food as possible. I woke up early Saturday morning to keep cooking (just a side note, don't try to make these caramel apple bites from Pinterest. The caramel doesn't stick. It just flows off and makes a huge mess.) and was already overwhelmed. I woke Dan up to help me and to join me in the craziness unfolding. I was running around like a chicken with their head cut off and I just wanted some help and some initiative. He just wanted me to relax and didn't understand why I needed certain things done.

Communications really started to spiral out of control and somehow, we were both outside screaming at each other. "Why did you ask me what you should do if you're going to do something else?!" "Because it doesn't make any sense!" "What doesn't make sense?!" "None of this makes any sense!" "Why didn't you say anything days ago if you felt this way!?"

You get the point.

This went on for at least half an hour. Each of us scrambling to get things done, panicking until the other one did something that got interpreted as being confrontational and the screaming began again. The only reason I think the mood finally broke was when I had an almost incident with a bobcat (I keep meaning to post the story from weeks ago, but it'll make more sense after I post that.) It's hard to be mad at someone when you think you're about to be attacked by a bobcat.

After the party, we finally got to sit down and talk and apologize to each other. Nothing got resolved so I'm sure this'll happen again, but at least we now know how big of an issue this can become. I feel like such a marriage cliche, "My husband and I can't communicate and it's causing all kinds of problems." How boring.

The relieving part is that now I know that it's not that big of a deal if we fight. Until you've fought with someone, it's almost impossible to predict how they fight and the ramifications of it. Do they fight dirty? Do they hold a grudge? Do they spin every single little thing into something bigger? Can they stay on topic or do they throw in everything they've been saving up? Do they dish it but can't take it?

We survived our first big fight and there seems to be minimal fall-out. Yes, I can hold a grudge and take things personally, but everything seems back to normal. At some point we'll need to sit down and hopefully come to some sort of agreement on how to fix some things, but let's be honest, it'll probably take another four or five fights to drive that point home.

At least after almost five years together, we still have some firsts.

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