For Better or For Worse

Marriage is tough in the best of times but in pandemic times? Forget about it! I don’t even have to look at official statistics to confirm it. Just anecdotally I would bet a shiny penny that the rate of divorce is probably at an all-time high.

I believe it was Chris Rock who once quipped, “if you haven’t contemplated murder, you ain’t ever been in love.” (Or something to that raucous effect.)

I laughed hard when I first heard that joke years ago, even then (as single-me) I understood it to be true. But now, more than ever, I know it to be true. Case in point: I have been harboring murdery vibes towards my husband recently. It’s not constant- it comes and goes like all fruitless, irrational thoughts. Don’t be shocked, I can’t be the only one! And don’t worry, I’m not really going to harm him in any law-breaking way (after all, he takes out the garbage and does all things around the house I hate doing so there’s that). Although, on second thought- should I be putting this out there? I mean, I watch enough Dateline and 20/20 to know that it’s posts like these that the producers end up zeroing in on as an early indication to the mental unravelling of a troubled, guilty woman (um, me in this case).

Quite honestly, it probably wouldn’t surprise him in the least if he knew. We’ve been on each other’s case for the last few days (come to think of it- weeks, months actually). This pandemic has been tough on both of us for separate reasons (as it has been for everyone else) but it’s been wreaking some havoc on our marriage too. We are becoming slightly unhinged and just a tad homicidal. 

While it’s true, the pandemic did take the hustle and bustle out of our daily lives (admittedly, it was nice but only for like two weeks?!), it also created another behemoth in its place: isolation. All the typical outlets outside the home that we are used to leaning on to take the edge off mundane life suddenly disappeared. The pandemic caused us to slow down but we all ended up living in our own silos with issues that otherwise wouldn’t have been on constant blast and magnified times one hundred if not for this freakin’ pandemic. Life has been crazy and challenging for everyone no matter your circumstances. Tempers are heightened, patience are being tested, and relationships have been put through the wringer. Many are left feeling like they are doing too much while thinking others could probably pick up the slack a bit. The problem is everyone feels this exact way- at least in my household, anyway.

For example, my husband is a tidy guy. He usually folds his pajamas and keeps it on his side of the bed but lately I’d been noticing it haphazardly flung on my pillow. For some reason, I always automatically think he’s doing something to purposely piss me off (in his teasing, “playful” way). We have a king size bed, there’s absolutely no reason any of his stuff should be crossing the median line onto my side, frankly (lol). 

Yes, fine, the first time I didn’t think anything of it (maybe he was in a rush). But after it kept happening every day I thought, is this guy kidding me? It was like that last straw being placed on the proverbial camel’s back and I was the freakin’ camel. I took it as a personal affront; I do so much around the house and he’s only adding to my already lengthy list of things to do. The nerve! Oftentimes, I find myself bottling things inside; I remember things (hello, my name is Petty) and I squirrel it away until I either forget about it or it’s brimming from my consciousness and I can no longer ignore it. I didn’t realize it but I was brewing resentment towards him, not just for this tiny indiscretion but for all the other little things that kept piling up that I’m sure he expected me to take care of. Evidently, I was keeping a tab and it was time for him to pay up soon.

I hadn’t confronted him on it yet for a multitude of reasons but also he’d been quite stressed lately due to work pressures so I didn’t want to give him another reason to criticize me for not supporting his work demands. Basically, I didn’t want this to turn into another issue, I just wanted some respect and well-deserved credit for holding up this household while the world was imploding. Plus, keep your shit on your side, damnit. Is that too much to ask?

Then, one morning I was late leaving for work and I witnessed my daughter flinging my husband’s pajamas onto my pillow with complete abandon. I chuckled out loud to myself and shook my head.

Communication is key, people!

What about you? What do you think is the key to a successful relationship?

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45 thoughts on “For Better or For Worse

  1. I think you’re right on that this pandemic has been hard on marriages! My husband and I just celebrated our 5th anniversary, and while we’re doing really well right now, this past year was the hardest one we’ve had yet due in large part to the pandemic. Communication and compromise have definitely been key, along with bucketloads of grace and prayer.

    I’m sorry things have been hard for you both! That is really funny about your daughter though! 🙂

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    • Thank you for your kindness! I love the honesty that we’re all willing to share about how it hasn’t been easy but I’m so glad to hear that despite it all we’re still keeping it together as best we can ❤️😊.

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  2. I think the 3 keys to a successful relationship and marriage are:
    • trust
    • open communication
    • affection

    By affection, I don’t mean intimacy. I mean human to human closeness. Holding hands, hugs etc. that kinda thing + vulnerable conversations. It’s interesting that you stressed good communication because it’s one of the keys that I have here. I’ve been using this little “cheat list” since the day I met my [now] husband and it must be working so far. We met in January 2013 and have been married for 5 years (since May 2016). I’m a Millennial and I’m all for marriage if these 3 keys are met. If they aren’t, then run for the hills.

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  3. Chris Rock is a genius, and I loved the Dateline reference. My wife and I retired simultaneously, and one of the questions people asked us a lot that the first year was, “Are you driving each other crazy yet?” Sometimes it was said in jest, and other times it was completely serious. Both of us found it quite funny. It hasn’t been much of an adjustment for us. One of the things that works for us is our couple time and our individual friends and interests.

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    • I totally agree. I don’t think we’re quite as balanced, we do a lot of things together, even if we’re not doing the same thing or enjoying it equally so we gotta learn to give it some space too, I suppose. But the laughter keeps us intact, that’s for sure!

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  4. Haha 😄 your daughter surely knows how to spice things up 😂😂 Afterall what a household is , without a drama 😂😂😂
    But on a serious note, I know you are an amazing mom and wife ❤ 💕 and you are doing great 👍

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  5. Oh my gosh, you had me at the Chris Rock quote! And I didn’t forsee Charlotte being the impish antagonist of the pyjamas! 😮 Oh my! As always I admire how much you all do with the jobs AND the kid and everything else!! I’m cheering your relationship on to certain ridiculous happiness!! YAY!! Woo hoo!!!

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  6. I love this post. The story line gave me a few chuckles. And I agree with the first poster! Trust, communication, and affection are essential, but also respect, and giving each other a little space sometimes. Those ingredients combined is what keeps my marriage going during this dreadful lockdown.

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  7. HAHAHAHA! That twist in the end – I really thought this is a confessional blog about how you acted on your crazy thoughts! JK! 😀 😀

    I think being locked up with ANYONE can drive you crazy! I’ve been with my parents for the past few months (while I try to save up for my business 😦 ). It almost feels like I am a teenager again! We fight all the time even over something as stupid as them using my favourite coffee mug. XD Being in such close quarters with anyone for extended periods is a pain even if you love them A LOT.

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  8. I’m not married but I can totally envision something bubbling up until it explodes, only to find out what you thought was happening was nothing like what was actually happening. Glad you both talked it out, or at least you found out he wasn’t trying to tick you off! Haha

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  9. My mother once told me something very similar to the Chris Rock quote: “There’s a fine line between love and hate.” We never really hashed out the specifics, and my mother was totally a lover, not a hater.

    Anyway, I’m ashamed to admit the time I tried to suffocate my husband with a pillow because he was snoring. Sometime mid-pandemic. We’ve been married almost 32 years. I think we’re going to be okay.

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