When my husband is cross, he goes quiet and doesn't want to talk until we've all calmed down.
That generally moves me from cross, to really cross, to internally raging as I try to work out where my daughters and I are going to live now that I have to leave him for being such an arse.
And then I get sad because my marriage is over and when I find my man, he's normally reading something on his iphone about the music industry or the cricket and is not worrying at all because it's just an argument and not the end of the world.
|picture courtesy smh.com.au|
Occasionally, he does do some storming, eye rolling, door slamming and shouting, but he's not had the practice that I have had and so while dramatic, I feel he has some way to go before he gets to be an expert.
But neither of us stay cross for long. We are not grudge holders, though he wants to ban me using the phrase 'YOU ALWAYS...' during any of our 'discussions'.*
We do always say sorry. I am a big believer in the word sorry starting a conversation. I could not be in a relationship with somebody that does not know how to apologise. Even if it's just 'sorry I yelled' and 'not sorry I called you a stubborn arse**', because there is no point in apologising for something you are not actually feeling contrite about when the conversation begins.
And if you get to the point in your relationship where you are not using the word 'sorry', you're screwed.
I used to be much more hot headed than I am now. My world was very black and white, I lacked self esteem and the fear made me very shouty. As I've grown older and a little more confident, and found shades of grey in the world, I am less shouty. Still prone to being tempestuous but it's not my default position anymore.
It's the aftermath of those emotions and arguments that matter. Now more than ever.
We have two daughters who watch the way we interact with the world constantly. And they have memories like elephants. And they are brutal.
"Mama, do you remember when you did shouting at Daddy?" (Cue internal mortification)
"I was cross with him"
"Because (insert whatever daft reason got me all heated up)"
"But you said sorry?"
"And he said sorry?"
"Yes he did"
"That's very good Mama"
Like all the things which they don't fully understand it will get brought up again and again, discussed, pondered and returned to the vault. Arguments with each other or their friends get brought up, laid against their experience of what happened when we 'did the shouting' and discussed. It's all in there. Layers upon layers of seeing how people interact. The positives, the negatives, the boring and the dramatic. Layers upon layers of experience jutting against their innate personalities and shaping their future responses.
The responsibility is huge. Huge.
I wish I didn't get cross sometimes. I wish I was someone who could just say 'Ah fiddlesticks' when driven to distraction by a person, an event or hormones. But I'm not. So all I can do is make sure that my apologies and my explanations are as visible to the girls as any cross words I utter. To anyone.
I welcome the questions in so many ways because it means that no matter what else there is no fear. There is trust. There is love.***
* He does 'always' though :-)
** He really can be - don't let his loveliness trick you
*** Loads and loads of solid soppy love - I'm very blessed and he twice so