Why My Husband Is A Saint…Or, A Sucker. I'm Not Sure Which.

secretI will do almost anything to avoid riding in The Todd’s shiny red truck.  As competent and clever as my beloved spouse is, his mode of transportation is a seething pile of fast food wrappers, muddy boots, crumpled overdue bills, owner’s manuals, uncashed checks, 3,006 Altoids tins (he’s always paranoid about his breath) filthy tow straps and a stuffed badger.  Climbing into the passenger seat is a terrifying race to strap in before the tidal wave of refuse buries me alive.

But the real reason I refuse to ride in the shiny red truck is I’m always afraid that I’ll turn around and find a bag of lime and a shovel just as The Todd happily annouces, “hey, honey, let’s take a drive in the desert!”

We’ve been married 14 years, The Todd and I, and I still can’t stop myself from messing with him.  There’s been years of yammering from mental health professionals about Honesty, Tolerance, Understanding.  And then a bunch more stuff about Open Communication.  I tend to ignore it because at the end of the day, when The Todd wants me to do something I resent, I’m going to make him pay for it. 

Like the Bitboard Report.  We belong to an idea sharing service with a bunch of other equally shiftless morning radio show “personalities.”  (Editor’s note: trust me, I use the word “personality” very loosely.  Particularly in our case.)  We share ideas–mostly stuff we want to try but aren’t sure it will work so we post it and let someone else do it first to see if it fails horribly.  I am the designated reporter for this task, primarily because The Todd is dyslexic and it’s plain mean to make the man figure out how to construct a paragraph based on “what former US President most closely resembles your birthmark?”

But I hate doing it.  I’m sorry.  I like to write.  I just don’t like to write it.  So everytime The Todd reminds me “hey, have you put in the Bitboard report?  We don’t want to get banned from the site for another week, do we?”  I feel a tsunami of resentment overtake me that makes me forget that my kindly partner of 14 years is the father of my children and the captain of my heart. 

jamesI want instead to abandon him for James Purefoy (when he was really hot as the enigmatic king in “The Knight’s Tale”) and leave him with the mortgage, the twins and that patch of throwup I didn’t get to in MacLean’s bedroom.

I throw the magazine I’m reading across the room and flounce angrily to the computer.  I pound out the report with the same ferocity one would use to hammer a stubborn chicken breast.  As I furiously hit the “send” button, I throw back the chair like Harriet Tubman breaking free of her chains on that Mississippi plantation.  I stalk past the enticing dinner plate The Todd has prepared by way of appeasement and hiss “I’m going to bed!”  When my exhausted spouse has fallen asleep, I resentfully creep downstairs to heat up the leftovers and eat them all.

Why do we do this?  Oh, don’t look at me like that.  Maybe you are one of the, like, 3 enlightened people in the Universe who don’t rear back like a cobra when nagged into doing something annoying.  But every one of my girlies admits to the same futile rage.  Did we never grow up?  Do we all still think Daddy (or Mommy, like the guys are immune from this) is yelling at us to wash the dishes? 

A clever Dr. Mike Sawdell says this: I know people like this, and it appears to me that there are certain “triggers” that set them off. Triggers they would usually tolerate or ignore with strangers or casual acquaintances, but which essentially make them lose control of themselves when in contact with people who are close to them. These people, after a period, recognized that they went over the top for no sensible reason, and apologise later on.

If you’re able to recognize (a) the exact moment you started to get angry (b) the exact thing that made you start to get angry (c) that you are throwing a hissy fit at this very moment, then simply leaving the scene, taking some deep breaths, and thinking about what the hell just happened may help you solve the problem and learn something about yourself.

Oh, FINE.  But, Dr. Sawdell had this to say as well: there’s huge pressure for women to act “nice” all the time, and to take every else’s feelings into consideration before expressing your own emotions… I think the ways in which women get angry are different from the ways men get angry, and those angers are viewed very differently from those around us.  You can keep a lid on a boiling pot for only so long.  Start trying to figure out what’s turning up the heat on your own personal emotion gauge.

Better.  Let me know if this helps.  For me, it’s either work on it, or you’ll be looking for me in a suspicious mound of freshly turned desert sand.

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5 responses to “Why My Husband Is A Saint…Or, A Sucker. I'm Not Sure Which.”

  1. Lauralee Hensley says:

    Boy, I boiled over with hubby this morning. I know what trips my trigger and I let him know with my verbal full force this morning that he was doing it again. We’ve been through this several times in our marriage and I’ll let him know that I don’t like him telling what I can and can’t say to people. Yet, he remembers it like a nanosecond, and soon again he’s doing it again. I mean I think if he had his way, I’d never talk to another human soul, but him, and only him if absolutely necessary. He says he’s not like this, and that he’s only trying to protect me. I think that’s the Marine in him, and being protective of our privacy, but sometimes it feels like he would like us to be a couple of old hermits in the boonies.
    I tend to hold back and try to always be nice, but then things will finally go over the top and I’ll blow. Yes, I try to go to a room by myself and regroup, and try to get over it as quick as I can, but honestly that doesn’t mean I’m still not actually bothered for days afterwards.
    I mean how many times do women have to tell their hubby’s that such and such ticks them off, for the guy to finally get it and retain it. I think sometimes they do it on purpose to get us mad, so they can look forward to the bedroom makeup period if you get my drift.
    Ahh well, I’m just still on my earlier blowup rant a little bit. I was over the major blow up this morning within an hour. No, I didn’t yell for an hour, only about four or five minutes, but I stayed very mad and quiet for about an hour after that. Then I tried once again to talk to him like an adult why when he does this it makes me feel like I have no control over my own life and that it makes me feel like he’s trying to father me, instead of being my husband and friend.
    He always gives his points of view on the subject too, and he too gets mad. Mostly he gets mad because he knows I’m mad, but we’re a committed married couple and we work it out. It’s just sometimes it works out faster than others.
    Really this all started over me trying to take care via phone relays to several parties, a bill we’re being harassed about that we don’t owe and that I’ve sent proof of payment (cancelled check copies, the original bill showing I paid such and such at time of service on such and such date), and he tried to interfer when he hadn’t been the one talking to some of the parties involved. Ahh well. We’ll probably go through this again next week, because all this is going to the Billing Research Dept. at this Health Care Billing Service, unfortunately located in another city a few hours away from where we live and the medical care was actually given. Wish biller’s for such could actually be located in the same city, so you could walk in and show them proof of payment.

  2. Erin (and sometimes The Todd) says:

    Sister, there’s always chocolate and wine. Preferably together. Good luck with the bill collector and congratulations for not hitting your husband with a shovel.

  3. Jami H says:

    I think our loved ones are just able to push our buttons better than anyone because they know us so well. Being single until later in life created a very interesting challenge, but also some perspective. I will actually say to my husband “are you trying to piss me off, or is that just a bonus?”. That lets him know without being rude that he’s on the edge.

    But yes, Erin, guys cars are disgusting. I don’t understand it. My car is usually clean except where he has been sitting or where the carseat is.

    Our biggest arguments are usually about him thinking if he has worked during the day he doesn’t need to work at home at night. Since I also work full time, plus run a small business, this causes my resentment to boil over when he sighs every time I ask him to take out the trash, switch the laundry or unload a dishwasher.

    But, he’s trying, and he’s getting better, and I’m sure I piss him off too.

  4. Erin (and sometimes The Todd) says:

    Jami, you’ve got much better perspective than I do, I think. It’s soooo depressing to think that The Todd is the mature one in our relationship…

  5. Lanita Ryks says:

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