Saturday, October 12, 2013

Love in the Time of Cholera

Ok, we don't have cholera. My wife has pneumonia and a strained ribcage from coughing. I have bronchitis. Nico has conjunctivitis and perhaps a chest infection. We're all on antibiotics. Ellie is fine but, between you and me, kind of hard to take sometimes with her constant questioning. We know this is what four-year-olds are supposed to be doing, but at 5:45 A.M it's a little hard to take.

These are moments in which communication between spouses becomes even more important, as the usual pressures of finances, home repair, education, scheduling, etc. don't take a break because you are sick. So here are some marriage survival rules and tips.

1. Fights in the morning don't count.

Mornings are hard. We have to get the kids and ourselves ready and out the door with time pressures mounting. Sometimes we snap at each other. Our general policy is that these fights never happened. If there's a real issue to discuss, we can discuss it later.

2. If someone says "ok," it's okay.

You're fighting and one partner responds, "OK!" as a way of cutting off discussion. That's it. It's over. The person who was demanding something has to stop demanding, as the other partner has said "ok," however peevishly. And the person who said, "ok," well, for you it has to be okay. No grudges.

3. Google (or other remote) calendar.

Half of our fights, I think, I used to be about who needed to be where when, what commitments or late meetings were coming up soon, and so forth. Google calendar simply solved that problem.

There are more, but now I have to go give my children a bath. Waffles are sticky.

2 comments:

Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

4. Go above and beyond. The best marital advice I've ever gotten was to go above and beyond when under stress. And to really be willing to try and address the root of the problem with solutions that would work but not necessarily ones I loved. Probably not to useful during times of plague but in general I find that instead of being angry someone didn't wipe up the counter I just wipe it up and let it go. I do make my preferences for how things get done around the house known I just try not to bring it up in the heat of the moment. That is a petty example but when you are mad at your spouse it's much easier to snap at them for all the little things that drive you crazy, not doing that and instead finding ways to be extra helpful toward one another can really help defuse and prevent "fighting". I don't really like the term fighting since I imagine you are arguing and in a violent struggle.