The Fix-It Man and His Wife: How Venting Can Negatively Impact Marriage
“I can fix that,” Ted states.
This four-word phrase — stolen from the 2003 film, Holes — is a staple at our house. Much like Texas Pete’s hot sauce and duct tape, Ted keeps it handy. It’s a mantra he’s made his own.
And who benefits from it the most? Well, aside from his very fortunate employer, that would be me.
No matter what the problem is — be it a glitch on my laptop or an infestation of mice — Ted’s 95% likely to right whatever’s wrong. In our 10+ years of marriage, I’ve found it doesn’t take much for me to launch him into action.
But, as Yoda might say, wield wisely this power I must.
You see, sometimes my confession of a problem isn’t cut and dry. Sometimes I’m not merely looking for a quick fix. Instead, there’s a sinful edge to my cry for help.
How so? Well, I too often fall prey to the emotional vent.
Okay, so maybe “fall prey” attributes too much innocence on my part. The truth is, I often jump, feet first, into ranting my emotions — good, bad, and sometimes ugly — about a situation or individual to Ted. Why? One, I know he’ll listen and love me regardless of what words escape my mouth. Two, I can almost guarantee he’ll forget 75% of what I’ve said by breakfast the next day.
Except, to put it in a Dr. Seuss sort of way, when he doesn’t.
Those times my bitter words do stick with him, are the times I’m reminded just how much influence I have. My words — especially when they are laced with strong emotion — awake Ted’s fix-it man instincts. While sometimes they provoke biblical correction from him to me, there are instances this has translated into defending me online, confronting a family member or friend, or intervening in a work situation. As any good husband, Ted doesn’t like to see me upset or treated poorly.
I’ve come to realize, though, that I’m never too old to heed the children’s bible song that says, “Be careful little mouth what you say,” especially when it comes to my marriage.
While I don’t advocate spouses keeping things from one another, my own experience has taught me that there are times when it might be wise for me to wait an hour or two until I’ve calmed down. That small amount of time can make a big difference in how I present my problem to Ted — especially when it involves a beef with a loved one.
[Read the rest of the article at Start Marriage Right.]