When people find out that we work together they are either sorely jealous or they respond with, “My spouse and I could NEVER work together. We would kill each other.” I always laugh when people say that because it’s probably true. Jacob and I have very unique personalities that allow us to work together. He is patient and sweet, always setting aside his pride to hear my thoughts on business decisions. And although I used to be pretty stubborn, working together has taught me that I am not always right and that he has so much to teach me. We are easy-going, but we also each have an “achiever” in us that forces us to get things done before the deadline. We work well together. But, like all married couples, we have moments of disagreement, bickering, and every once in a while, we have a fight. I’m not even certain that what we do would be considered a “fight” because they generally last about 30 minutes (5 minute disagreement time, 20 minute silent treatment time, and 5 minute makeup time). The other day we had one of these so-called “fights”.
I was working at my computer, stressed about the amount of work I needed to complete. I was loudly sighing and giving Jacob one-word answers to his questions. He finally had enough, “Why are you working on that [unimportant project] if you’re so stressed about finishing everything you need to get done. You obviously have more important things to do.”
Although everything he said was true (I was working on something that didn’t need to be working on and I was being overly dramatic about my stress level), my face flushed with defensiveness/annoyance/embarrassment/anger/pride. (You know, all the usual pre-fight emotions.) We bickered about how I could choose what I wanted to do when I wanted to and how he didn’t understand why I was stressed and everything else that didn’t really matter or get to the heart of the issue. The heart of the issue was that he called me out (justifiably) and that made me mad. That’s it. Pretty simple. After 5 minutes I concluded our conversation with my sarcastic, and oh-so-effective, “Whatever. You’re right! Like always.” Now, it was silent treatment time.
For 20 minutes we worked in silence, 3 feet from each other, but feeling much farther apart. I stayed strong, too prideful to admit that I had overreacted. My plan, like always, was to let the heat of the moment cool off, wait for something funny to happen, and then pretend like the conversation never existed. (Yes, I realize this plan is not the healthiest way to deal with things. I’m working on it.) 20 minutes went by and for some reason, I was still upset. I felt embarrassed that I blew it out of proportion, but on some level, I still felt like I had been semi-justified. Just then, out of the corner of my eye, I could see Jacob slowly moving closer to me. He had something in his hand. I resolved to continue ignoring him. Watching him in my peripheral vision, I could see him put the item on the ground next to my left foot. He stood up and I heard a noise that gave away what he was doing. It was the sound of a measuring tape being pulled from the ground to far above my head. Was he measuring me? He looked at the measuring tape that he was holding above my head and mumbled, “84 inches.” Half annoyed, and half about to laugh, I snapped, ” WHAT are you doing?”
He hesitated, and with a smirk said, “I’m measuring your grumpiness.”
Of course, I couldn’t help but laugh, and my prideful facade melted away. He hugged me and it was over.
I know it’s not my usual Little Love Story, complete with daisies and prancing through the meadows in a flower crown, but it’s real. And at the end of the day, I am glad that our fights begin and end within 30 minutes, that they’re always about something really dumb instead of huge, deep issues, and that I have a husband who constantly swallows his pride and makes it better, even when I’m in the wrong.
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