Blog Archive

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The greatest tests of any relationship

There are plenty of actual studies out there showing the stress and divorce rates associated with things like long-distance moves, death of a child, long-term illness, etc. But those studies are both 1) not funny in the least, and 2) not truly reflective of the stresses most likely to tear even the strongest relationships apart.

I mean, yeah, sure, if I lost both my legs in a car crash, that would probably be pretty taxing on my marriage. But how often does that happen?! Not nearly as often as ...

Putting Together Furniture

This is such a well-known fight-starter that I almost don't have to write this section at all. You've all been there.

Here's how it goes down: First, you and your hunny pick out a cute dresser from IKEA. You get it home and, riding that emotional high that comes with getting a great deal on something, you decide to immediately start putting it together.

So you carefully pull out every piece and organize them OCD-style in rows across the living room floor. You grab the directions and hop to it. And of course, the first few steps go well -- putting those drawers together is a breeze, and so you and your smoochie-poo catch each other's eyes and smile knowingly, assured of your own awesomeness (I mean, helloooooo, everyone knows that putting together furniture makes couples fight. But look at you guys -- mouthing "I love you" as you attach the handle to the drawer you just put together).

But then -- something goes wrong. 

Maybe a screw is missing.

Blaming Sweden and the Swedish people are both very common occurrences when Operation Build a Dresser starts to go south.

Maybe you realize that the top and bottom drawers are slightly different, and you've put the wrong side-pieces on them so you'll have to take them apart and start again.

Or maybe, and God forbid this ever happens, but maybe -- maybe the drawers aren't fitting properly into their slots and neither of you can figure out why.

Next thing you know, you're sleeping on the couch and your snuggle-bum is calling a lawyer. All because of those smug Swedish bastards.

To be fair, I shouldn't really single out IKEA, since they are hardly the only ones selling do-it-yourself furniture. Just recently, Jesse and I were hanging mirrors in our workout room and within the space of about ten minutes, we went from mouthing "I love you" to calling each other "dumb bitch" and "you f**king idiot". The key is to give yourselves immunity in advance of starting the project with this little vow:

I do hereby swear that if, in the course of this project, I become violently angry and start swearing or calling you names, I will stop myself and take a five-minute break until my nerves settle. I also do hereby swear that if YOU become violently angry and start swearing or calling me names, I will not hold it against you afterwards. You are not my enemy. I am not your enemy. The dresser/side table/china cabinet that we are building is our common enemy. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Then you shake hands and begin.

Of course, this vow will not do you any good in the event that ...

Your Driving Directions Fail You

I don't really remember life before GPS -- back in the days when you could get so f**king lost in the middle of nowhere that you had to ask a serial killer for directions to the interstate -- but that doesn't mean I haven't had my fair share of marriage-shaking scream-outs in the car. Don't get me wrong; I'm sure that talking GPS devices help with this problem of couples fighting over directions, but they certainly haven't eradicated it completely. They've just changed how the argument sounds.

You see, GPS isn't infallible. Sometimes the GPS thinks you're on a different road than you're actually on -- either because the roads are too close together or stacked vertically or something -- so it gives you absolute bunk directions that are not helpful at all. Or sometimes there's been construction recently, so the GPS directions are meaningless. And sometimes, the damn GPS is just plain wrong. And since many people rely on their GPS with the blind faith of a cult member, in these situations, they panic. And then they scream at their smoochie-poo until the car windows fog up.
Actual quote from this past Friday night.

You really get into trouble when one person would trust the GPS with their life while the other views it with a healthy dose of skepticism and is thus happy to disobey the "idiotic route this thing wants us to take." The GPS-apologist takes it as a personal insult that the GPS-skeptic isn't willing to sign their life over to the magical satellite-powered device that knows how to get ANYWHERE ON EARTH, STEVEN, AND DO YOU KNOW HOW TO DO THAT? NO, YOU DON'T.

The GPS becomes a third participant in the relationship. Fights break out and jealousies erupt over the GPS's special position.

GPS is nearly as dangerous to relationships as getting lost was back in the days before GPS existed. 

But you know what else is dangerous?

Going Together to a Store Only One of You Finds Interesting

Why do we do this to ourselves? WHY!?!?! 90% of the time, there is no reason for it. You could go to the store yourself and be just fine, yet you bring your spouse along anyway. Because we're just gluttons for punishment.

This particular fight-starter cuts both ways. Neither you nor your schmoopie is immune to the insatiable pull of a store that the other does not AT ALL want to go to.

One time, Jesse brought me along to the home brew shop. Now, I spend a lot of time talking with him about home brewing. While I wouldn't consider myself as much of an expert as people who actually DO it, I'm pretty damned knowledgeable by now about most things home-brew-related.

But that doesn't mean I like going to the home brew store.

I mainly hate it because Jesse always takes SOOOOOO LONNNNNNGGGGGGGGGG. 

And then I go wait in the car, because I value our relationship too much to see it end over this.

Just kidding. I throw an on-my-back-on-the-ground screaming temper tantrum.

It's okay, though -- I get my revenge on him. We went to Michael's Crafts together because I needed some picture frames and card stock, and he whined so much that I almost punched him in the face. And sometimes, when I'm feeling really bitchy, I'll bring him along to the grocery store.

When will we learn not to do this? Probably never.

And if we ever do get divorced, it'll either be because of the whole hobbit-foot couch-crowding thing, or because THAT GODDAMNED NIGHT STAND TURNED US ON EACH OTHER.

No comments:

Post a Comment