Here is my theory about why people get divorced: teeny tiny little problems (like who should take the trash to the dump or do the dishes after dinner) turn into bigger problems (like hating each other), then the biggest problems (cheating, etc) turn into D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Yeah, I know what you're saying. Many marriages are shams, many wives are bitches and/or nags, many husbands are just douchebags and/or clueless, every rose has it's thorn...blah, blah, blah. Those aren't the type of marriages I'm talking about. I'm talking about everyone else. Your friends, in-laws, boss, whoever. The type of people who, when they announce they are getting a divorce, cause shocked silence, weeping and gnashing of teeth. Their announcement causes everyone who hears about it to say "I never saw that coming." These marriages die a slow death of resentment, silence and fights about trash or dishes but really about so much more. Let's be honest, when you fight about something with your spouse, is it really about that one issue? Isn't it really about something else (not feeling valued, being lonely, not being sure that you're on the same team any more)? I know it is. Shhhhhh...you don't even have to say it.
The truth is that my marriage is pretty amazing. My husband is kind, a great dad, funny and not at all a douchebag. I'd like to think that other people think that I come across as slightly less bitchy in real life than I do in my head. We tend to talk things over, are on the same page when it comes to raising our kids, and have lots of fun together.
However, there was a problem in our household...and it stank.
|Stop smiling, you asshole.|
We live in a rural development, really more of a small town inside of another small town. It's picturesque, classic New England, dirt roads, cape cod houses but no trash pick up. The only way to have your trash removed from your house is via one of two methods: pay someone to do it or take it to the dump your own damn self. (watch the video-this is one of my fondest childhood memories)
Well, after 3 winters and summers of fighting about who was going to take the trash to the dump...what's that? You want to see what that fight looks like?
|Almost there...Pretty accurate.|
Me: Can you please take the trash to the dump? The shitbird raccoons are trying to get into the bins every night and I'm pretty sure there's a colony of maggots in the bottom of the bin.
Him: (sigh) Okay. Why can't you do it during the week? I have to work all day and then spend Saturday cleaning out the van and taking the trash to the dump now.
Me: (trying not to punch him in the wind pipe) Well, I'm at home with two kids, I do everything else around here, and I'm just asking you to take the trash to the dump. Please, please, don't make me go there. I hate it there. It smells horrible, there are so many flies, and I just HATE THE DUMP.
Him: (looks defeated, clearly can not argue with my airtight rhetoric) Okay, I'll do it. Do you think I like going to the dump?
Thing 1: Thing two pooped in the bath tub/spilled something/drew on the wall!
Me and him: Stop tattling! Thing Two, why did you poop in the bath tub/spill something/draw on the wall?
|You're too kind!|
Now, imagine that almost exact same fight happen 30 times a year...or, imagine someone not going for a while and the trash piling up and then imagine the passive aggressive rage I would exhibit when the shitbird raccoons did get into the trash and spread it all around the yard....and guess who got to clean it up because I "just stay home." You guessed it. The trash was not just a festering maggot colony, it was festering rage and resentment and fights and loads of bacteria.
|How can I hate something so adorable with so much passion? Once you've woken up to this scene a few times, you'll find yourself screaming swears at them from your living room windows, too.|
Finally, I had enough. He got a better job which freed up a little extra money which meant I could finally justify paying someone else $20 per month to come haul away our 2-4 bags of trash and recyclables per week. And, you know what? It is amazing. I can't explain the joy I get in taking the trash bins out to the curb and watching for Ralph I-don't-know-his-last-name to pull up in his red truck with his reflective stuck-on letters on the side to empty out my trash and recyclables and take it where ever he wants to take it. It is just not our problem any more. So how did this save our marriage? It gave us one less stressful thing between us. We were able to move on, get rid of this issue and not give it room to make a problem for us in the future. Plus, I really, really hate going to the dump.
Today's lesson: If you can get rid of a major stressor, do it. Don't let the raccoons win, and let Jensen tell you what you already know: