Are We the Only Couple Bickering about Stupid Stuff?

On Saturday afternoon, my husband and I spent three separate 20-minute periods arguing about the most meaningless crap; I honestly couldn’t be paid good money to detail it all for you. I know that one issue had to do with a misunderstanding over where my daughter would nap that day — stroller vs. car — but that’s it. The rest was so ridiculous I am racking my brain and can’t even tell you what was at its core.

I also know this about Saturday: All was forgotten over margaritas al fresco at a favorite restaurant (toddler in tow, we’re those parents!) and late-night snuggles on the couch. We’re fine. We’re better than fine. But damn do we know how to bicker about stupid stuff.


When it comes to the big issues, we are pretty well lined up. My husband and I don’t argue about politics (though we love a little debate when we don’t see eye-to-eye on a particular issue), money (the biggest mess-maker in relationships), or how to raise our children. We have similar values, were both raised by strong women, and want all the same things for our own little girl and any future siblings she will hopefully have (though, okay, we disagree on how many kids — but I think I’ll win that one in the end).

Even though the fundamentals don’t cause drama between us, my hubby and I sure know how to fight about dumb crap. Like how much foam should be in a grande latte, or whose fault it is that our almost-2-year-old hid the Apple TV remote under the sink. You know, stuff like that.

But here’s the thing: Everywhere I look, from social media to my neighbor’s porches, everyone is going on about being so #blessed in their marriages. Bragging on their husbands, only bringing them up on birthdays and anniversaries to say how amazing they are. Very rarely do I hear anyone talking about husbands who leave a trail of work clothes from the front door to the living room sofa, or a wife like me who is so Type A, even I get sick of my need for organization at times.

When we travel, we usually stay with friends, and I don’t know if they’re putting on a show or if my husband and I are just terrible at hiding it, but I don’t see these little scuffles popping up like they do for us. Thank goodness for my best friend who married my brother and isn’t afraid to detail his flaws for me — otherwise I would feel like a pretty crap wife. Don’t even get me started on those tight-lipped women at mommy group who stay mum when I pipe up about my frustrations over the latest meaningless showdown between myself and the hubs.

Maybe I shouldn’t care so much what’s going on in someone else’s marriage, but I do often find myself wondering, are we the only ones arguing about stupid stuff? I know my husband’s thought it, too; every time we get into it in public, he whisper-shouts at me to “keep it down” lest someone hears us.

I think for us, the disconnect comes from the difference in time we spend on the home front. I never set out to be a stay-at-home mom but because of the nature of our work (his increasingly important job opportunities have meant multiple moves for us, and as a writer I can bring my job anywhere), I’ve become one. And much to my surprise, I love it. But because I’m on full-on mom duty from sun up until our night owl succumbs to sleep, and he gets the “fun” parent time — weekends, post-dinner TV-watching — I grow exasperated at times.

It feels to me like my husband doesn’t always understand how much time, effort, and planning goes into making a normal day go well. So I can grow needlessly annoyed over tiny details when I really shouldn’t. However, I have the perspective that his income is what allows me to stay home with her, and I know he works just as hard for our family as I do, so I can’t really fight him on his involvement level. And as for him? He’s just a dude. My endless litanies about baby fashion and organic produce get boring. That makes sense.

My husband is also a very hands-on dad, which I appreciate. We do get at each other’s throats, though. The minute the man groans at my suggestion that he change a diaper, I get pissed. Ditto when I find his socks balled up under the dining room table. Ask my husband about my method for turning on the alarm (I prefer a 60-second delay while he goes for instant), or propensity toward losing my phone or keys when we’re in a hurry, and he’ll roll his eyes so far back in his head you won’t be sure when or if they’re coming back.

We might bicker over my packrat tendencies or my husband’s avoidance of the dirty laundry bin. We might disagree over who correctly remembers the details of some esoteric event that occurred when we were dating. We might give each other crap over silly things like dental floss brands or which car we should take for a family outing — my SUV vs. his sporty sedan. But we have a lot more important stuff going on beneath the surface.

There are plenty of tiny things we disagree about, but at the end of the day we have something so much more important than these petty differences. We have each other’s backs. We have seen each other at our respective worst and we’ve both made huge sacrifices for our marriage, only three years in. We are creating a home and a family our kids will be proud of. We believe in each other and love each other like crazy (a little too much crazy at times). I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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