“So I was mad last night, and I think I can write a post about it, but I’m not exactly sure how it ends. Maybe you can help me?” I said to Amber while we munched our salads and the kids played around us.
“Ya, sure. Tell me about it,” she cheerfully responded.
So I jumped right in, “Well, I got upset because Nate said the wrong thing. I knew he was trying to say the right thing, because he was using the lines I’ve coached him to use when I’m upset. But it was a different situation and what he said was the opposite of what I needed to hear.
Then I got more upset, because he clearly didn’t get what I was saying and I felt really alone. So I verbalized my anger at him, and then went downstairs and cried while he fell asleep. I knew this all started because I was just blaming him for things out of our control and I needed to communicate better, which just made me mad at myself.
After I calmed down, I crawled back into bed, woke him up, and apologized for blaming him. He doesn’t do that to me, but I kind of default to it. After admitting that, I explained his part in adding to my frustration…how I felt really alone in an issue that affects both of us and our whole family, and I needed him to do some research and be right there with me. He agreed, asked me to send him some links he could read up on, and we fell asleep peacefully together.”
Amber thoughtfully reflected, “Wow. It’s really weird how your arguments are so similar in nature to ours. It seems like it’s quite often about me feeling alone and him saying the wrong thing in response. It’s the same kind of thing though where he is trying to say the right thing, but there’s a nuance in the situation that makes that the wrong thing to say.”
I laughed, “These poor guys. They can’t win!”
We laughed together at the situation. Talking about it made us realize we aren’t the only ones going through the same issues. It also made me wonder just how many couples deal with this exact dynamic, because while Amber and I have some similarities, we are also very different. That complementarity makes us great friends, but it surprises me that we would have similar arguments with our husbands.
Talking about stuff like this also gives us the time for some honest self-reflection. I’m a verbal processor, so it really helps me! Thankfully, neither of us is a husband-basher. We’re good at acknowledging the part we played in unnecessarily escalating the situation and the patterns we see in how we deal with conflict with those we love. For example, over this story we were able to commiserate about wanting to change the fact that we seem to default to getting upset with our husbands for things that they aren’t intentionally doing to hurt us and/or things that are out of their control. We know it’s not logical, so why do we do that?! Neither of us has an answer yet, but maybe a few more stories will help us brainstorm new ideas together.
So in the end, I guess I did write a post about the argument after talking to Amber. However, it wasn’t the post I was thinking. I guess it will take me a little longer and a few more conversations to figure out how to better prevent the blame game from taking over. But at least I’m not in it alone.