It recently occurred to me that, while I spend a fair amount of time thinking about parenting and occasionally even bother to put these thoughts into practice, I put little time and effort into my marriage.
Unfortunately, this has occurred to Ted as well.
We got into a fight about this on Sunday morning, when I brought up how we should talk through some of the issues we’d had recently. What I meant by this was that I wanted to discuss how a few of the comments he made last week seemed to indicate an intense dislike of me, how that had hurt my feelings and how he should apologize for having been such a jerk.
Ted had other ideas.
He mentioned the date night that I’d scheduled for us the previous night—how it involved little to no planning on my part and how that seemed indicative of what little regard I had for him. “When I’m in charge of a date night, I plan out everything—what time we’re leaving the house, where we’re going to eat, what movie we’re going to see,” Ted argued. “But last night you barely showed up! I try to do stuff for you all the time—I massage your shoulders, I ask you how you’re doing, I take care of stuff around the house so you don’t have to. When was the last time you put in that much effort for me?”
He paused, then pointedly added: “You put a lot of effort into your blog—”
When did this conversation spin so out of control? Ted was supposed to be contrite and apologetic, not expecting me to be that way. But all of a sudden, I was the one in the hot seat.
The thing is, he’s not wrong. (He might even be right, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.)
I think in general we have a good marriage. But I’m beginning to suspect a lot of that has to do with Ted’s efforts rather than any hard work on my part. If a successful marriage is built in part on those little things that spouses do for one another, whatever harmony and happiness we’ve enjoyed in our own union is primarily built on the little things that Ted does for me: giving me shoulder rubs, texting me at work to see how my day is going, doing a silly dance to try to cheer me up, letting me go upstairs to get ready for bed while he makes the kids’ lunches…
Which is not to say that he is some tireless saint. The man is not easy to live with. For one thing, he’s extremely sensitive, such as when I schedule a date night for us and forget to check what time we should leave the house to fit in both dinner and a movie. (Did I mention that we didn’t have time to grab dinner before we went to see “Lincoln” Saturday night? Kind of lost track of time repeatedly reviewing my blog stats.) I joke, but seriously. He really is sensitive. Plus he’s temperamental, and not in an artistic genius sort of way.
And it’s not like I do nothing for my husband. Ted had asked, When was the last time you put in that much effort for me? Twice last week, I made the bed in the morning. I also didn’t get too pissed at him when he snapped at me for no good reason. I’m pretty sure last Friday I asked him his day had gone. And, um, hello? I took him to the movies Saturday, didn’t I?
All of which led me to conclude that someone owes their spouse an apology for being selfish and inconsiderate. And by “someone,” I didn’t mean Ted.
Yeah, I was surprised, too.