My husband and I don’t argue very often. We’ve been together long enough (9 years this summer) that we’ve both gained pretty good communication skills and allow ourselves to be vulnerable with one another enough that nothing really stays in the dark. But when you’ve been with someone long enough, you tend to take certain behaviors for granted.
Example: My husband and I play and kid. We joke quite a lot, so much so that I think it comes off as being mean sometimes. Oh the intricacies of marriage; you never really know what’s going on under the surface. This joking is, on both of our ends, usually received well. But on occasion it backfires. And over time that little way of teasing can build up to some sour emotions that surface at inopportune times.
Such was the case this particular evening. I knew as soon as I gave him shit about something that it had upset him. And I knew that I would not only need to apologize later but it wasn’t going to be left at that. The crappy part was that this all happened in front of everyone. One of our friends mentioned something about it and my response was, “Yeah, I’m in trouble. I knew I was in trouble the minute I opened my mouth.”
“You’re not in trouble,” my husband said seriously. “But I would like to talk about it later.”
Oh no. I knew what that meant. Later, when we were alone in our room, I apologized and then we started a conversation that quickly turned into a bit of a heated argument.
And here comes the risk: Our tiny cottage’s walls did not go all the way up to the ceiling. So, from our room, you could hear everything going on in the house. Example: I heard a full conversation at one point in the week happening in the living room, that was a room away. Instead of knocking on peoples doors we just spoke from wherever we were all week. So not only did I have to have this uncomfortable conversation with my husband, the potential for everyone to hear it was very, very high.
No one likes to hear a couple fighting. It’s such an intimate thing and sometimes peoples fighting styles can cause those around them to think that something big is wrong and that the relationship is falling apart. Arguments in a relationship should be kept personal for this reason, because no one outside of that relationship can truly understand.
But sometimes you’ve got to get it all out, no matter whose around. I could have just pretended to go to sleep, ending it all, but while that would be fair to everyone in the house, it wouldn’t have been fair to my husband’s hurt feelings and our relationship.
So we fought it out, talking in terse whispers. I don’t recommend this to any couple, as it ended up sounding like we were spitting at each other and that only heightened the tension. But we kept it up until the frustrations eventually calmed down, ending it with an exhausted sigh and a kiss goodnight.
The next day something was mentioned in the group about us staying up late talking and my stomach clenched, feeling ever so slightly nervous that we’d subjected our friends to unnecessary discomfort. Someone mockingly said, “Awww. So cute.” And then made a fake throwing up noise.
Our secret was kept safe. Until now of course…