Tag Archives: fights

Marital Exercises in Futility

They say the key to a happy, healthy marriage is finding common ground, finding mutually enjoyable activities and enjoying time spent with one another.

Apparently “they” haven’t spent much time around me and MJ.

We are both very proud, very stubborn people. We also have zero common interests outside of our family and friends. Seriously, we’re opposites in almost every way. She likes the beach, I like the mountains. She craves summer, I love the snow. I’m a people person who thrives in groups, she’s an introvert who gets anxious at parties.

In fact, I can count our attempts to do things together on one hand, and none of them ended well:

  • Bowling: When we were dating we decided to go bowling one night. Going into the last frame I was losing by a pin. And since I’m just a liiiiiiittle bit competitive, I did what any well-adjusted, red-blooded, competitive male would do in that situation — I threw a goddamn fit and kicked the ball return apparatus, causing such a scene that we had to leave without finishing the game. So technically, I didn’t lose.
  • Mini-Golf: Different sport, same result as bowling.
  • Super Mario Brothers for the Wii: A new version of a classic game we both love means there’s no way things can go wrong, right? Nope. The simultaneous play feature meant we affected each other’s character. Which is to say MJ kept jumping on my fucking head and knocking me off cliffs to my imminent death. It didn’t take more than 30 minutes before we were Googling divorce attorneys. You can read about that one in more detail here.
And that’s it. That’s the list. No joke.
Now as most of you know, after more than six months of running my ass off, my weight loss and exercise efforts have sufficiently guilted MJ into doing the same. The only problem is she hates running. I mean, HATES it! But to her credit, she’s been hitting the streets and the treadmill fairly religiously for the last few weeks.

But when I looked over her times and distances recently, I noticed her times have plateaued. In some cases she even got slower. I asked her how much she was running versus walking, and she got that pursed-lipped look on her face which translates to “I’m not gonna say because you’ll just give me shit for it.” Which I did. But instead of giving her advice and preaching at her, I suddenly had an idea.

Why not run together?

On the surface it certainly seems like a win-win. We spend time together, we exercise together, we get healthier together. MJ agreed to it, I was pumped and before we knew it we were hitting the road. And then the shit hit the fan.

It started out well enough. The weather was fairly cool and we started running at a reasonable pace for MJ. The two of us decked out in our running gear, living the yuppie suburban dream side by side one Asics-clad step at a time. The plan was to get MJ used to staggered workouts which will increase the amount of time she runs and keeps walking to a minimum. I mapped out a 3.5-mile course and planned the first run for 5 minutes, thinking that was a more than reasonable time.

And that’s when I realized MJ and I have very different ideas about “reasonable.”

She made it through the first 5 minutes, but did not appreciate my “30-second kick” rule, in which I sprint the final 30 seconds of each run phase. When we slowed to a walk I told her how proud I was of her. But instead of a high-five, I got the stink-eye and a fairly unappreciative and terse “thanks.” Thirty seconds before the 2.5-minute walking period was up, I gave her notice to start running again. And judging by the severely bitchy look on her face, that was not what she was used to.

“Are you fucking serious right now?” she said.

I was taken aback, but determined to stay positive. And, I can’t lie, I liked knowing I was under her skin a little.

“C’mon baby, this is great. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, I’m exercising with the woman I love — let’s do this shit hon! Let’s kick it up a –”

“I hate you right now. I hate everything about you.”

That was all in the first 10 minutes. The final 10 minutes were — well, considerably more agitated.

“Alright baby, last half mile. We’re gonna do a 4-minute stretch and keep a good pace so we can finish strong. You ready?”

“No I’m not ready. We’re walking.”

“We’re not walking. You’re doing great. You’re KILLING your old time right now. So if we push even a little bit harder we can really destroy your time.”

“I want to destroy you. I hate your face.”

“If you’d shut your mouth and stop your bitching you’d be able to save your breath. Now let’s GO!”

“You’ve taken your last breath. Because I’m gonna kill you. Because I fucking hate everything about you.”

“You’re so hot when you’re pissy. Now run wussbag, because now we’re doing a 45-second sprint!”

“I’m gonna rip your dick off while you sleep.”

Yup. You read that right. By the end of our run she was threatening to Bobbit-ize me. I, of course, thought it was all foreplay. I mean c’mon — endorphin rush from the exercise, gettin’ sweaty together. That should end in sex every. single. time. Without question.

However, my wife has the uncanny ability to only process one single emotion at a time. So while I pick fights just to make up, MJ has absolutely zero understanding of that notion. Seriously. If she’s mad, she’s mad. There’s no room for any other emotion. Which means while her threat of castration morphed into some kind of twisted sexual advance in my mind, all she was thinking about was truly robbing me of my manhood.

Needless to say the slap on her ass followed by me running like hell away from her down the street towards the finish line did nothing to further my chances of sex in 2012. And as you can see from the picture above, not even my pancake and bacon mea culpa could satisfy her.

But on the flip side, she knocked about 8 minutes off her time!

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The Stuff Divorce is Made Of

Why do people get divorced?

Sure there are the big reasons: emotional/physical abuse, falling out of love, sleeping with your wife’s sister. But I’m willing to wager that more often than not, it’s not the big things. Instead, I believe it’s a steady collection of little things that build up over the years and slowly drive you insane until you’re pushed just a little too far. And then it happens.

Last week, all of Cape Cod heard MJ snap.

Some background: I’m a human vacuum when it comes to food and drinks. After I finish eating my meal or sucking down my beverage, I go on the prowl. I pick at Will’s food and then flit over to MJ’s plate. If there are leftovers, they’re not long for this world. Of my many faults, for some reason this one bugs MJ the most. Which means I may or may not make a point to do it even more when she’s pissing me off.

So last week, as I’m sitting on the couch, I grew thirsty. Seeing as the fridge is a whole 12 feet away from the couch, I first sought out another (closer) option. That’s when I looked at the coffee table and saw MJ’s glass full of inviting ginger ale. At least I thought it was ginger ale.

Turns out it was Diet Snapple Peach Tea. And it was fucking disgusting.

It might not have been so bad if I had known it was something awful and been prepared for it. I was expecting a mouthful of delicious Canadian Dry, but instead my taste buds were raped by this terrible-tasting peach shit. The ocean of difference between the two caused me to physically wretch. In mid-gulp. Which caused me to backwash right into her glass.

That was the last of her Snapple shit. Also, MJ wasn’t in the room at the time, which left me facing a conundrum: tell her the truth and dump it in the sink or hope she doesn’t notice.

I think you all know which one I chose.

My reasoning—if you can truly call it that—was simple: I didn’t want to piss her off. Ok, ok…and I didn’t want to get in trouble. But I just thought she wouldn’t notice. She’d drink her Snapple, I’d stay out of trouble…a true win-win!

When she came back into the living room and took a sip of her drink, my heart was racing. I couldn’t even look at her because I’m a horrible liar and MJ always knows when something is up. So I just stared straight ahead at the TV, hoping against hope she wouldn’t notice. And that I’d maintain full use of my testicles.

“What the hell is that?” she said.

My heart dropped into my feet and panic set it in immediately.

“There’s something in my drink. But I don’t know…what is this? Oh my God, it looks like someone spit in my drink or something.”

A good man would’ve fessed up. An honest man would’ve apologized. A smart man would’ve realized compounding a misdeed with a lie only leads to trouble. But I am none of these things.

“Holy shit honey. That is just friggin weird. I’m sorry about that, do you want me to get you another one?” I offered in my best helpful husband voice.

Of course she told me what I already knew, that that was her last one. So I took the glass and volunteered to empty it in the sink for her. She was appreciative. And then she dropped the guilt hammer.

“By the way, I’m making you an apple pie tonight. I know how much you like it and I haven’t made it in awhile. You deserve something nice.”

The shame was too much. And the truth came pouring out.

“I SPIT IN YOUR DRINK!” I blurted out, rather startlingly.

When she (rightfully) asked what in holy hell was I thinking, I didn’t have an answer. I know I should’ve just dumped it out and told her what happened, but I also know what would’ve happened if I had done that. I would’ve gotten a lecture. She would’ve gone on and on about how I should just get my own drink and stop taking hers. And she would’ve delivered it with THAT look. Every husband knows it. And hates it. And the thought of it was just too much bear. So instead, I tried to get away with it.

I can safely say this incident will be brought up at least 5,398,462 times over the course of my life. I think we’re right around 50,000 right now and it’s only been a week. No matter what valid points I have in future arguments, somehow I just know this will keep coming up to be used against me.

You spit in your wife’s drink one time…

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Hanging On Too Tight?

“When are you gonna get rid of this thing?”

MJ was on the computer when she growled the previous sentence at me. I had no idea what she was talking about, but I assumed it was something of little consequence or just a mild annoyance that was eating at her. But when she turned the laptop toward me and pointed to what was bugging her, I was blown away.

With a scowl on her face and genuine pissiness in her voice, she pointed to this:

I was shocked.

I explained that a very thoughtful blogging friend made that specifically for us in remembrance of Alex. And from there, dozens of other bloggers put it on their sites in support of what we went through. But all of that aside, I told her I like it. Sure it makes me a little sad sometimes, but I told MJ I also think it’s important for us to always remember Alex. And this button helps with that.

She disagreed. Big time.

She wants it gone. In fact she wants all traces of that incident erased. She told me remembering it just makes things more difficult. She told me hanging on makes me unable to move on. And it didn’t stop with Alex. She also took the opportunity to tell me it’s ridiculous that I’m still upset about my friend’s suicide 10 years ago. Just for good measure, she said she thinks it’s stupid to visit graveyards at all.

OK. First of all, I will admit I do dwell in the past somewhat. I know I come across as an insensitive prick most of the time, but I’m actually very sentimental.  I have ticket stubs from meaningful sporting events littering the recesses of my house. The Patriots bottle opener on my keychain is 9 years old and I keep it because I found it on the ground after the St. Louis Rams game, after which the Patriots didn’t lose another game on their way to the Super Bowl. I even kept the shirt I was wearing the day I lost my virginity. So yeah, I get it. Sometimes I cling to things from the past.

But I will not take that badge down. Ever.

MJ has the uncanny ability to turn off all emotion and move on. Quickly. And good for her. Sometimes I wish I could be more like that. But what caused the real argument between is is that she’s mad at me for naming Alex. For turning her into a real person, because MJ doesn’t think she was one.  I disagree. I am moving on from what happened, but unlike my wife I don’t want to forget. In fact, I refuse to forget. That whole ordeal changed me, for better or worse, and to pretend it didn’t happen or that it wasn’t real is not a viable option for me.

I find the whole thing ironic because MJ is a history major. And from what I remember in those classes, future success hinges largely on recalling past events. As long as people don’t get so bogged down in ancient history that they can’t function in the present, I see nothing wrong with remembering something/someone worthy of being remembered.

I would never do anything to intentionally hurt my wife or cause her pain. But that badge is staying there. And I refuse to apologize or feel guilty about that.

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Here We Go Again

Communication between spouses can be a difficult thing. Men and women are wired differently and communicate in polar opposite manners. It takes hard work and patience to keep at it and work out a resolution.

But communication with a pregnant woman is an entirely different — and more frustrating — animal entirely.

On Friday night I left Will with MJ to go out with some friends. I had run it by her and she was OK with it. And frankly, I really needed it. I had given Will dinner, taken out the trash and brought dinner home for MJ. Everything appeared copacetic to my untrained eyes as I gave my wife and son a kiss and prepared for a good time with my buddies.

Then I got the first text message.

“You are so lucky u are not here and i dont see u for a few hours…thanks for nothing.”

Not only was I shocked by this, but it also pissed me off. I immediately felt defensive and confused, like I was trapped in a corner. So I shot back “What the hell are you talking about?” Then I got this beauty in response:

“The list is too long…i will talk to u later when i have time to calm down and get my thoughts together. It has been a long time since i have been this mad.”

At that point I called MJ, because I literally had no idea what she was talking about. She told me I had failed to do a bunch of things she asked me to do. She wanted me to order a debit card from the bank and I forgot. She also wanted me to give Will a bath before I left, because she has trouble taking him out of the tub. I fully admit, I forgot to do these two things. I took out a withdrawal for MJ at the bank earlier and forgot the debit card. And then I was playing with Will outside and getting ready to leave, and forgot about the bath.

But she was also mad because when I was carrying her dinner home — which included a container of beets — it leaked and I didn’t realize it until after I was in the house. It dripped on me, the ground and apparently a bunch of other things. I cleaned up some of it, but not all of it because I had no idea it was leaking and some got on her purse.

Now I fully admit I didn’t do all the things she asked me. I apologized for that. But because 1) MJ is admittedly a poor communicator and 2) She’s pregnant and crazy, [ instead of simply telling me she’s become frustrated because I’m not listening to her enough and slacking off on the little things, she began telling me the following:

“You don’t care about me anymore.”

“You don’t even know me.”

“Other husbands do so much more than you.”

Needless to say, I was confused. I couldn’t figure out how some errant beet juice, the failure to give one bath and the lack of a debit card had suddenly turned me into the World’s Worst Husband. She went on to tell me I was a bad husband because 1) I don’t have all of her favorite foods memorized, 2) I wouldn’t know what to pick out if I had to go clothes shopping for her and 3) I think I’m God’s gift to women.

Her favorite foods change all the time, especially when she’s pregnant. And I always ask her what she wants because I want to be sure not to screw it up. But that’s not good enough for women, they want you to have it memorized because it’s always all about them. And the clothes thing was especially confounding. I can’t pick out clothes for myself, nevermind her, and I can’t imagine a situation where I’d have to choose her wardrobe. Yet apparently I’m supposed to moonlight as a women’s fashion designer. And the God’s gift to women thing was just strange. Because never, in any universe or at any time, have I ever claimed to be such a thing. I mean, look at me. Really.

In any other situation it’d be ridiculously comical. But I was not laughing. In fact, I was pissed off to the nth degree.

And so we went at it. Big time. I did what I do, which is systematically break down her complaints on a point-by-point basis and use her own words against her to prove that I’m right. During moments of marital strife, I morph into a relationship lawyer. I can’t help it, it’s my defense mechanism. And in this case, I was killing her. I mean seriously, that I would ever claim to be God’s gift to women is among the more absurd things I’ve ever heard. And although I’m not perfect, I know I’m a pretty good husband and father and I listed off all my attributes accordingly. And when things got even more heated, I said some things I shouldn’t have because what she was throwing my way was cutting me deeply.

It was only after a lot of back and forth that I figured out what was going on. You see, MJ doesn’t know how to argue. She’s not good with words and she often fails to just come out and say what’s bothering her. She begins an argument with over the top haymakers, which is bad because it puts me on my heels and makes me defensive. As a result, we end up at each other’s throats for an hour before we even come close to sniffing what the real issue is.

In this case, she’s upset because she thinks I no longer do the little things in our relationship. The cute e-mails throughout the day, the little acknowledgments that I appreciate everything she does, flowers for no reason, etc. And she’s right. I have failed in that department lately. I guess I see MJ as this tough businesswoman who hates traditional romance and the orthodox relationship paradigm, because that’s how she presents herself. But in the end, she’s a woman. And as such, no matter what they say, they all want the sappy romantic stuff.

It’s tough dealing with a woman who has pregnancy hormones coursing through her veins and making her crazy. But I forget that it’s tougher BEING that woman. And while I certainly don’t agree with everything she said (or especially how she went about saying it), she’s not all wrong. I do need to step it up in certain departments because I don’t ever want MJ to feel like I don’t love her or appreciate her. If that happens for any reason, I’ve failed. So I need to be a better man.

In a couple of weeks we’ll be in the second trimester. I remember those few months as a return to relative normalcy, and I hope there’s a repeat performance. Because as unfair as it might be, it is the responsibility of the father-to-be to suck it up and fix whatever is wrong, even if there really is nothing wrong.

Because if the pregnant woman is unhappy, EVERYONE is unhappy.

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A Day Off? I’d Rather Work.

To me, a day off means just that. Off. As in, do nothing.

A day off is a day to relax, to unwind and not to worry about all the shit that’s been plaguing me at work. I need to decompress from the considerable amount of stress I’ve been under, enjoy some time with my family and allow my brain to literally stop working for just a bit.

But my wife doesn’t share my definition of a day off.

To her, a day off from work simply means shifting her work mentality to focus on issues at home. Her “day off” means doing laundry, cleaning the house, finishing off the dishes, paying bills and running errands. In short, her perception of a day off is often busier than work itself.

Look, I’m not an idiot. I understand all those things are chores that have to be completed. But they don’t all have to be done today, especially when Sundays are the only day we get to spend together as a family. And soon we won’t even have those because let’s face it, football season is starting! I go to half the games because my dad has season tickets and the other half will consist of me and Will going to my parents house to watch DirectTV’s Sunday Ticket all day to root on the Patriots and our fantasy teams.

I just want to spend time with my family on my days off and do nothing but enjoy them. I don’t want to clean, I don’t want to do the laundry and I’ll worry about the damn dishes later. Human beings (seemingly with the exception of my wife) need to have some “chill” time or else they will go postal. But unfortunately my choices today are hop on board the MJ-OCD-must-get-everything-done-today Express or laze around on the couch while she does all the chores and makes me feel like a lazy, good for nothing slob.

I might as well go into work.

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