I read an article this weekend on CNN about why women get mad at their husbands. After only reading the headline I had a few reasons in my mind *cough*not scooping the cat box regularly*cough*, but I read on anyway because I imagine there must be a few other reasons for it. I wasn’t exactly surprised by what I read, but it was an interesting topic nevertheless.
My husband and I have a good marriage, but we certainly have our arguments as well. We are both very strong-willed and obstinate and that means that our arguments tend to be long. And tough. There are months where we don’t fight or argue at all and then there are others where we are in a pattern of constant disagreement.
Mostly, I think we’re normal, if maybe a little more stubborn than average.
Reading the article I found a theme I had not anticipated. Kids. Babies. It wasn’t so much that wives get mad at their husbands as much as moms get mad at dads.
A few years ago we went to visit my sister-in-law and our days old baby niece. I have been around my fair share of new babies and mothers, but what we saw that night was something totally different. She was irate with her husband the whole time we were there. Even when he tried to help, he could do no right. We chalked it up to hormones and sleep deprivation, but that evening left an indelible impression.
I’m not going to pretend like I can plan to control my emotions or hormones or anything else in my life after the baby comes, but the combination of that experience and this article was kind of an eye opener for me in terms of the things we need to do to protect our marriage this next year.
One of the most important things that I gleaned from the article and watching other couples make this crazy life transition is the need for communication. It is not always our forte, but I think that clear, calm communication can make a world of difference. And as importantly, taking the time to calm down before talking can make a tremendous difference.
Another key in the article that resonated with me is the need for me time, him time and us time. I am completely sure that this is easier said than done with an infant, but when I brought it up to my husband, his response was, “you’re working part time, you’ll have plenty of you time.” So it seems we might need to work on this one a little bit. And I would argue that similarly, sitting together in a room trying to comfort an infant isn’t us time either. I think that by making a concerted effort we can carve out a little more time for ourselves and each other than we would otherwise.
Perhaps most important, I think, is the need for apologies and forgiveness. There are going to be mistakes made. There are going to be moments or days where I snap at my husband and he does the same back. Arguments are bound to happen because we are human. But what happens afterwards is crucial too. We need to figure out what went wrong and make it right. I think that arguments are somewhat inevitable, but long lasting anger is absolutely not.
While I know that all of this is playing a game of hypotheticals, I’m hoping that being aware of the challenges that face us and coming up with a few ideas ahead of time might help us prepare for the unknown, and the land mines that are ahead of us.
Have any of you found other ways to reduce your arguments especially after a new baby?