I came home from Manhattan in sweet anticipation of my family’s embrace. Little did I know that I was walking into a hurricane. When I had left for the BlogHer conference in New York City I thought the Chef and I were ok. He seemed better than ok. He had decided to take the weekend off to watch the kids. He doesn’t often get to spend one day alone with them, let alone three. I was worried, but I hid behind my smile, kissed the mini’s good-bye and drove away.
Three days later I came home to a tsunami.
At first it was joyous. We were happy and ecstatic to see each other. And then the sky darkened and all of the stress that had been drowning us for the past three months reappeared. Something simple started the fight. I yelled too quickly. He yelled back. It was on.
“You remind me of Liz and I, the only difference is that you fight more,” my friend Michael told me once. It’s true. We do fight more. Hell, we have known each other for 16 years. Our lives have been intertwined since we were teenagers. We have loved each other for a long time and that love does not come easy. Add two kids, two dogs, one crazy awesome restaurant, not to mention the Chef’s hours and you will find that love can sometimes get pushed aside.
We do it.
We push our love aside to get through the hard stuff. We ignore each other to focus on the immediate stuff: the kids, the recipes, the blog posts, the book, the TV show (that we never seem to land), the bills, the house, and the family. All of these trump our relationship sometimes because we let them. We forget about each other and then shit gets ugly.
This fight was the big one. We had to fix what was wrong. We had to stop ignoring each other and pushing our relationship aside. We talked and cried for hours. I found out that even though I am hella supportive, I don’t often focus on the good things. I tend to let the stress overwhelm me and then I blame it on the Chef. In turn, he shuts down. He doesn’t hear my pleas for help (because they usually come in the yelling form) and I get more stressed. He walks away when I feel I need him most. This cycle has been going on and off all summer. Not so fun.
So we talked more. We came up with a plan. We decided that our 16 years were worth fighting for. We figured out a way to stop fighting (as much, we may or may not enjoy the making up part a little too much;).
The Chef and I had each have one issue with other. I ask him to do something or change something and he ignores me. I get mad. I yell. I nag. It’s a vicious cycle when it’s starts and it is very hard to claw out of. Usually we end up falling down on the floor in giggles after we fight but that never really solves anything. Sure the makeup sex is phenomenal but the fighting itself is quite cumbersome.
So we decided to make our road to recovery fun. Fuck the fighting. It is soooooo high school yo.
Hopefully our a-hole jar won't get as full as his swear jar
Every time I yell or act like an asshole I have to put a ticket in the cookie asshole jar. Each time he ignores me or what I ask of him, he puts a ticket in the cookie a-hole jar. It’s kind of like a swear jar except we are still allowed to swear, just not allowed to be jerks towards one another. After the tickets start to compile we can use them to buy things from the other one. We have each made up a list of things we would like each other to do that they don’t want to do. For your example:
On my list, the Chef has to physically clean each bathroom. With cleaning products. And scrub brushes. Since we have been married he has avoided this household chore like the plague.
On his list, I have to let him have a full day off in his office with his food magazines. No kids, no diapers, no talking about bills, no nothing. Just a day for him with his cookbooks.
So far it’s been good. We have had a hard time physically putting tickets in a jar, but when we mention it during a not so pleasant time we usually end up realizing that we are idiots. I think that we have the right intentions and as we reach our four-year wedding anny (on Thurs), I know that we are on the right track to a long and crazy future together.
Although I am still keeping my fingers crossed that I get enough tickets for the bathroom cleaning…