Every marriage is different and contains its own nuances. If your marriage were a newborn baby, what would its APGAR score be? For those of you who don’t know, the APGAR score is what a doctor looks at one minute and five minutes after a baby is born. They check for five things: activity, pulse, grimace, appearance and respiration. I have adjusted the five categories tested in the APGAR chart to reflect what we do and how we respond to one another in our individual marriages.
The final topic of this series is RESPIRATION: How well do you as a couple and as a family retain the positive and push out the negative in your lifestyle? In my estimation, marriage has been a practice of perpetual forgiveness. I really thought I was grown, but getting married showed me just how much I had to learn! Humility is a medication that must be taken daily, otherwise the flow of love can either erode or get clogged and blocked by pride and refusal to listen to one another. The chart below outlines what this topic entails: (Click image to enlarge)
Along with humility comes a willingness to forgive one another. I have written in the past about the balance between not going to bed angry and yet being willing to table an area of contention for another time with no hard feelings. My husband and I ebb and flow in this area. We scored ourselves a 1.5, simply because when we get really angry, we occasionally regress to raising our voices at one another.
In fact, just today we experienced a regression. I did something my husband disagreed with, but instead of discussing it, he decided he wanted to yell at me. I calmly asked him to lower his voice, especially given the fact that our son was in the back seat of the truck, witnessing all this take place. He kept yelling. Eventually, he realized I was ignoring him, which made him even more upset. He then told me that what I did was stupid. Whether it was or wasn’t, I wasn’t about to allow him to talk to me like that, especially not in front of our child. But instead of that sentiment coming out in a mature manner, I began yelling myself. Then I threatened, in the middle of a busy interstate, to put him out of the truck if he didn’t learn how to speak to me like he had some sense!
Boy, what a regression! What a change from the morning, when we had made love and laughed with one another! By the time I dropped him off to his destination, he was apologizing, and I was driving off before he got his second foot out of the truck. Talk about flower girls and ring bearers! I couldn’t get away from him fast enough. His apology meant absolutely nothing to me, and I couldn’t hold back the tears that stubbornly escaped from eyes that were wearily searching for the reason why we took such a huge step back to behavior we both agreed we would never return to. What in the world must our son think? Could he possibly think that it was all right for men to speak to women in such a rugged manner? Could he think that it was a natural inclination for a woman to cry tears of utter frustration instead of enjoying a laugh or an intimate moment with a loved one?
Fast forward to a few hours later. We all sat down as a family and did what we should have done earlier; we talked about what transpired during that terrible episode. We hugged and loved on one another over a meal, and agreed to respond differently in the future to upsetting actions. I acknowledged I was wrong for doing what upset my husband to begin with, and he acknowledged how wrong he was to react to me by yelling. Then I had to forgive him, and discuss how immature my actions were in yelling back”...it was humbling, yet liberating. We relaxed, related and released all that negativity and we will go to bed with a renewed love for one another. Our son is not forever altered as a result of us holding that stuff in. He is relieved that Mommy and Daddy are back to their disgustingly lovey-dovey selves.
All in all, we agree that our marriage still needs a lot of work. There are rough edges that need to be smoothed out, and there are also attitudes and viewpoints that we both need to seek to understand in one another. We are committed to ensuring that our marriage stands the test of time, and also to maintaining our vow to stay together as long as we both shall live”...till death do us part.
I think we can do that without killing one another. What about you?
Harriet is a hilariously joyful married woman who resides in northeast Louisiana with her husband who is a restaurant manager. She works for a local University and along with her husband is the proud parent of a 3 year old son and a 10 year old stepson (who lives in NC).