Anatomy of A Marital Argument

We are a happy couple.  More than happy.  We are solid.

Best friends first, spouses second.

But we do argue.

I’m wary of couples that do not argue.  I find them creepy.  I find their existence unnatural.  I would not be surprised, in fact, if one member of said partnership has the bones of dead people in a shoebox in the back of the garage.

No offense, I’m just saying…  an argument now and then is a sign of a normal and functional relationship.

No arguing is a sign that somebody is burying people somewhere around the house.


Our arguments start off benign enough, really.

4:20p.m. HIM (VIA TEXT):: Leaving at 5p.m. sharp

4:41p.m.  ME (VIA TEXT):: Can you make dinner tonight?  Cleaned out the garage and am SO tired.

4:53p.m. HIM (VIA TEXT):: Sure

4:55p.m. ME (VIA TEXT) :: U really leaving at 5 sharp?  ;-)

5:02p.m. HIM (VIA TEXT):: wrapping up on my way

5:02p.m. ME (VIA ONLY IN MY HEAD) :: You are so not wrapping up.  You are at YOUR DESK.  You are NOT leaving at five sharp.  In fact, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE HERE UNTIL AFTER SIX.  I CLEANED THE ENTIRE GARAGE TODAY AND WASHED MY CAR WITH THE KIDS AND NOW I HAVE TO TOLERATE YOUR LIES?!!!!!!!!

5:03p.m. ME (VIA TEXT):: K

And so he unsuspectingly strolls in at 6:07 p.m.

“Hi!”

“Hellllooo.”

The first four letters of that last word are a hint at how the next ten minutes are going to go.

“So.  What did you do today?”

“What did I do today?!  What.did.I.do.TODAY?  Let’s seeee, well.  First, I cleaned the house.  And, then, I washed my car.  And then… I cleaned the entire GARAGE out.  And the whole time I made sure our children were fed, clothed, entertained and nurtured.  What did YOU do today?”

“Okay.  What did I miss… maybe I should just go back out and come in again… should we start over here?”

He actually turns to go for the door.

I have to interject in the narrative here and tell you that this has actually happened.

More than once.

“You know what?  YOU.KNOW.WHAT?!  That is not funny.  You are not funny.”

“I’m kind of funny.  People do laugh at stuff I do.”

“Fine, fine.  You know what?  Why don’t you tell the so called people who think you’re sooo funny that you’re leaving at five sharp and then text them from your desk at 5:07p.m. and say, you’re ‘wrapping up’ and see how hard they laugh at THAT?”

“Ohh… seven minutes?  This is about seven minutes?”

“No,Tariq, it’s about you being here when you say you’re going to be here.”

“I feel like maybe you’re overreacting here.”

“Do you KNOW how long seven minutes is?”

I walk over to the microwave, I set the timer for seven minutes.  “Okay, now, let’s watch this clock go down.  Let’s wait seven minutes…”  I dramatically place my elbows on the kitchen counter and stare at the timer.

“Are you serious?”

“As a heart attack.  Which can kill someone in seven minutes.”

“Okay, I have to go to the bathroom,” his tone changes slightly, “and I am going.NOW.”

“Oh, no, you’re not… you’re not going anywhere until seven minutes is up.”

“Uh, yeah.  Yeah, I am.  I’m going to the bathroom.”

“SEVEN MINUTES IS NOT UP… YOU ARE NOT…”  My yelling at his back is interrupted dramatically by my own silence.  My sweet and still very small children are staring at me.

I flip an emotional switch and smile brightly at my kids, “Mama is fine… we’re fiiiine… now, what are you two darlings doing?”

Oh, yeah, I use the word “darlings.”

In retrospect, I realize how incredibly creepy that must have been for my kids.  First, the looney smile and then being called “darlings”?  Hopefully, they get scholarships and they can use the college funds for the therapy they’ll be needing to make sense of that one.

So.  Great.

I’m acting like a total lunatic.

I ask you, how is it that *I* am the one who is totally crazy all of a sudden when he was TOTALLY LATE?

When Tariq comes back, I gear up to launch an offense that would have made the Trojans red with shame, but he looks at me very… softly.  Then, he says, “Hey, I know you worked hard today.  I got home as soon as I could.  I did want to leave at 5 sharp… I did my best.”

Eleven years ago, this would have been met by “What.EVER.”

Today, after hundreds of arguments like this, some of which might reveal that I too am married to a sometimes lunatic, I fully understand that this is a big deal.

You really have to love someone if you’re willing to come to an understanding after they’ve tried to force you to watch a microwave timer for seven minutes even though you have to use the bathroom.

“It’s okay,” I say quietly.

“And thank you.  For cleaning the house, the garage… taking care of the kids.  I appreciate you.”

“It’s okay.  Thank you.  Sorry about the timer thing.”

We hug.

And it is okay.

More than okay, actually.  It is wonderful.

Until he says, “Dude.  A timer?  Really?!”

Oh, oh, and P.S. Walking down to your car takes more than seven minutes.  You texted seven  minutes later AND THEN you walked to your car AND THEN you drove out of the parking garage…. which is, like, TWENTY minutes.  NOT.SEVEN.

P.P.S.  Sorry about that.

Photo Credit

About Faiqa Khan

Mother of two, wife of one, master of none. Trying madly to be prolific on her personal blog at Native Born and proving beyond a reasonable doubt that she's not a racist on Hey! That's My Hummus!

Comments

  1. courtney says:

    My husband likes to walk in the door and says “What the heck did you do today?” He does it because it makes me crazy. I have a teething baby. What did I do TODAY?! WHAT DID I DO TODAY?! This kid has gotten 5 teeth in three freaking weeks! I did everything humanly possible to soothe this baby AND I did the laundry, mostly.

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  2. Kristina says:

    Wonderful! I’m on year 10 and every line (save for the children part) is frighteningly familiar. I think if you don’t believe you’re a sometimes psychopath then you must be lying to yourself and your equally insane spouse. Thanks for a good laugh.

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  3. I. Feel. You. I automatically add an hour and a half to any time my husband gives me. So he says 5, I think 6:30. Then when he walks in at 6:15 I can be like, “Wow, you’re home early.” When I’m not like, “DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS??”

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    • Faiqa Khan says:

      Haha… exactly. Also, I may or may not have set every clock that he sees about twenty minutes ahead which has resulted in him only being about 20 minutes late instead of 40m. But, shhhh… don’t tell.

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  4. Jess says:

    We have the stupid, pointless and ending in hilariousness every.single.day. We’ve been married 6 years, together 10. I’m so thankful for my best friend.

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  5. jina says:

    Ah.Faiqa, I soooo love you.
    I feel sane now.
    Im in Brazil now on a fellowship and usually talk to my ‘other half’ via skype. We do it at 7.
    Two days back, I (note that) send him flowers to his office because I was missing him badly. And what does he do?? He comes at 9 for our usual chat on THAT DAY.Apparently he chose to do some extra work on THAT DAY. And ofcourse I flipped. And he for the love of chutney cannot understand why!
    After some fiery exchanges, we are back to normal.
    Im glad its not just US.

  6. Lori says:

    I can absolutely relate to this, especially the stuff you just think in your head that makes you even crazier.

    My guy works at the same company I do so we can’t fool each on when we’re leaving. But two guys that sit by me will pretend they’re driving home by making air noises on their cells when their wives call to see if they left yet.

  7. TechyDad says:

    When my wife and I argue, I’m not the kind of person to launch into a tirade. I can have a horrible temper and I tend to be afraid of what I might say if I don’t hold back. So, after stating my point once or twice and getting nowhere, I shut down. I stop talking or just agree with/do what she wants.

    If asked if I’m upset, I say “no” when I really mean “Are you kidding me? You just completely undermined me in front of the kids, treated me like I’m a child and then insulted me for not handling the situation ‘the right way’ and you have the nerve to ask me if I’m upset?!!!”

    It’s completely unhealthy but better than losing my temper and saying a bunch of things that I really don’t mean and having to apologize profusely later.

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    • Faiqa Khan says:

      If my 20s were a book the title would be Saying a bunch of things that I really don’t mean and having to apologize profusely later.

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    • Roksi says:

      The more upset I get, the more I shut down. I will just sit and stare at people blankly till they leave me alone.

      The difference? I don’t do apologies. Thank you mum for teaching me a healthy way to manage emotions :D (I like it better than my partners method, of talking-everything-out-till-it’s-been-talked-to-death)

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      • TechyDad says:

        Ironically enough, my work sent everyone to a training seminar to learn how to handle communications better. It actually looks like it’ll be helpful to me to deal with situations better instead of just clamming up and fuming.

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        • Roksi says:

          Oh I doubt that. I mean, who really wants to know my opinion of them and their actions anyway?

          It’s safer for all if I’m an emotionally stunted individual.

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  8. HeatherS says:

    My husband & I have been best friends for a long time, too, like 20 years even though we’ve been married for 10. On a bright note, as your kids get older and start to develop a little sense of humor, you can make fun of your husband to your kids (long as your kids know it’s a joke, my kids kind of started it) and it helps you blow off steam and not start a fight with your husband. My kids are 5 & 8. Here’s a sample scenario.
    Me: Everybody ready? Let’s go!
    Me and kids get in car, buckle up.
    Waiting for Daddy. Waiting for Daddy.
    Me: Where on earth is Daddy?
    Boy,8: Maybe he’s pooping again? (Everyone giggles like crazy because 5 & 8′s think bathroom jokes are hilarious and also totally get that it takes Dad 6 hours to go to the bathroom).
    2 minutes go by.
    Me:What IS he doing?
    Girl,5: Maybe he’s still on the computer…
    Me: If he is, he’s going in a big time-out….
    Kids giggle, continue to laugh about what Daddy might be doing, then I honk the horn and then he finally comes out carrying the library bag (totally not on my agenda today and we know he’s been running around the house hunting for unneeded library books that aren’t due).
    And this is how we play, “Waiting for Daddy,” every time we go somewhere. Very annoying but gets better when you can start venting to the kids. And yes, we also argue, but I try to save it for the bigger stuff, like when he disappears in the supermarket for an hour when I only asked him to run and get a bottle of mustard while I wait with a cartload of groceries at the checkout.

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  9. Erin says:

    I’m totally not trolling here, but I feel for your husband in this sitch. I try my damndest to leave work by 5 all the time, but something always comes up – there’s a project that needs to be finished today that I wasn’t able to finish earlier because I was interrupted by something, or my boss asks me to pull a report at 4:55 and he NEEDS it right now, or the computer crashes at 4:45 while I’m in the middle of something and have to start over … the list goes on and on and on. He’s not doing it on purpose, sometimes this happens, and depending on where you work, sometimes it happens EVERY DAY.

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    • Faiqa says:

      Oh, no, you’re not being a troll. I totally get it… logically, I completely get it. I know INTELLECTUALLY that this is the case and that he’s not sitting at his desk playing a video game or something. It’s just when it’s the end of the day, I’m so worn out that all I can think about is MYSELF. Which I realize is crazy. Which is why I calm down pretty quickly.

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      • Erin says:

        OK :) I thought someone needed to stick up for him, because I completely relate to his side. I’m the one that gets stuck at work ALL THE TIME. If I get home from work before 6:30, my husband says, “wow, you’re home early!” (on nights when he’s working). I work days, he works nights. We meet in passing for 30 min. at a coffee shop between work & home for both of us, and I get so upset when I get stuck at work and miss that 30 min. window. If I didn’t have that, I would go for days on end not seeing him awake. You’re lucky that at least your husband works normal people hours :)

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  10. Sahar says:

    Not that I have ever seen or wondered how the two of you would fight but after reading it…that is so you guys. You two are perfect for each other.xoxo

    • Faiqa Khan says:

      Aww, thanks… our fights are more like comedy skits, really. Sometimes we actually stop and just start laughing.

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      • Roksi says:

        I love those arguements… I got into a huge fight with the Mr, cause I wanted to go to the supermarket, which closes at 7, he promised to go at 6 (which is already pushing it), and actually packs up at 6.30 pm.

        By this point I’m huffing and puffing about how pointless it is going now and this is a waste of time – When we drive past the supermarket, I see it says: Open Week – Open till 10 pm.

        So I obviously continue in m huffy tone and say: You are so lucky the supermarket is open till 10 today! (Like it’s all my doing).

        At which point he starts laughing, and I can no longer maintain my huffy moral high ground and have to crack up.

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  11. Robert says:

    Is it really creepy to be in a matrimony that doesn’t argue? I mean my wife and I argue maybe 1-2 times a year and the argument usually lasts 10 sec because we both have realized how quick an apology (even if you aren’t the one who is wrong) can defuse the situation. But dead bones in the yard? really? What’s worse is I’d have to be the one accused of that because my wife would NEVER be accused of that. Anyway really great story. Things I learned:

    1. Be honest to your spouse, if plans have to change, apologize and let them know right away
    2. Don’t overreact…especially with kids in the room.
    3. apologize quickly, I could still be much better at this because my wife is usually the one to apologize and then I realize that I’m the one at fault so I say “no, you shouldn’t be, I’m sorry”
    4. A timer is an awesome way to make a point

    • Faiqa Khan says:

      I’m printing out your itemized list as reference material for the next time this happens in our home. He will now have to watch the time and read your list. Also? 1-2 arguments a year is just enough to excuse you from having bones in your backyard. Human ones, anyway. ;-)

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  12. Vikki says:

    How did you know about my shoebox of bones?

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  13. Roksi says:

    Thank you!

    I’m really pedantic about things like that; If you said 6, it better be 6! My partner? 6 means 8 pm, if I’m lucky.

    And each time I try to control the hyperventilation infused crazy telling me that it takes 30 minutes to get home, why couldn’t you have left on time, why waste so much time, why LIE about the time!!!

    I would totally do the timer thing, good thing I’ve never thought of it before.

    Funnily, I am the least punctual person on earth (After him. You’d think with that fancy watch he could see that he’s going t be late!)

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  14. Carrie says:

    Glad to know I’m not the only one….

  15. Tank Tops says:

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast simply because I stumbled upon it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to talk about this topic here on your site.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] titled "Mistakes in Choosing a Marriage Partner," and a Jun 22, 2011 blog titled "Anatomy of A Marital Argument." It was also published in a Jun 30, 2011 blog titled "Talk Money for Relationship [...]

  2. [...] titled "Mistakes in Choosing a Marriage Partner," and a Jun 22, 2011 blog titled "Anatomy of A Marital Argument." It was also published in a Jun 30, 2011 blog titled "Talk Money for Relationship [...]

  3. [...] titled "Mistakes in Choosing a Marriage Partner," and a Jun 22, 2011 blog titled "Anatomy of A Marital Argument." It was also published in a Jun 30, 2011 blog titled "Talk Money for Relationship [...]

  4. [...] titled "Mistakes in Choosing a Marriage Partner," and a Jun 22, 2011 blog titled "Anatomy of A Marital Argument." It was also published in a Jun 30, 2011 blog titled "Talk Money for Relationship [...]

  5. [...] titled "Mistakes in Choosing a Marriage Partner," and a Jun 22, 2011 blog titled "Anatomy of A Marital Argument." It was also published in a Jun 30, 2011 blog titled "Talk Money for Relationship [...]

  6. [...] titled "Mistakes in Choosing a Marriage Partner," and a Jun 22, 2011 blog titled "Anatomy of A Marital Argument." It was also published in a Jun 30, 2011 blog titled "Talk Money for Relationship [...]

  7. [...] titled "Mistakes in Choosing a Marriage Partner," and a Jun 22, 2011 blog titled "Anatomy of A Marital Argument." It was also published in a Jun 30, 2011 blog titled "Talk Money for Relationship [...]

  8. [...] titled "Mistakes in Choosing a Marriage Partner," and a Jun 22, 2011 blog titled "Anatomy of A Marital Argument." It was also published in a Jun 30, 2011 blog titled "Talk Money for Relationship [...]

  9. [...] titled "Mistakes in Choosing a Marriage Partner," and a Jun 22, 2011 blog titled "Anatomy of A Marital Argument." It was also published in a Jun 30, 2011 blog titled "Talk Money for Relationship [...]

  10. [...] titled "Mistakes in Choosing a Marriage Partner," and a Jun 22, 2011 blog titled "Anatomy of A Marital Argument." It was also published in a Jun 30, 2011 blog titled "Talk Money for Relationship [...]

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