Several weeks ago Bryan suggested we cancel our cable because he felt he watched too much tv, and he wanted to have time for more creative projects. My response was similar to that of a kodiak bear who stands on her hind legs with front paws waving in the air, shaking her head and roaring with great intimidation.
My verbal response was something like, Why should the rest of us pay for your lack of discipline???
But for weeks I really thought my position was justified – and you may think so, too – because I DON’T watch a lot of tv. But when I do, my shows are mostly on cable. And the shows my kids like are on cable. Not to mention what will happen to my house if I am cut off from HGTV.
For the next several weeks, every time Bryan tried to bring this up I was all, Talk to the hand, baby.
Until he got me all dressed up for our anniversary this last weekend and took me to a fancy restaurant for dinner. This time he broached the subject in public, for his own safety.
So here we are amidst cloth napkins, and multiple forks, and a bottle of wine…. whisper fighting. If you’re married to a man, you know what I’m talking about. Men get embarrassed about fighting in public, but you, sista, have some things to say. So you do your best stage whispering to get your point across without causing him to abandon ship.
After a few minutes of getting no where with him, I resort to The Pout, and slump my pretty little dress into my seat.
Then Bryan says, ‘Let me put it to you this way: I want you to know what my next four creative goals are. And I want to know yours. And I want us to fight for space for each other to be able to accomplish those goals. And what makes me sad, is that I’m not sure you even know what my next four goals are.’
And with that, I was like putty in his hands.
I burst into tears – the silent ones in which my facial expression does not change so as to not be obvious that I am crying, except that I open my eyes until they are unnaturally large to keep the water from flowing. But the waiter can obviously tell I am crying, because when he approaches the table he kind of hangs out behind Bryan’s chair for a minute until I nod and wave him in.
In a marriage it is so tempting to fight for what is right and fair, and make a check list of how many poopy diapers we have each changed. I forget that in becoming One, his goals become mine, and I should have the same fervor about those things as I do for my own writing. I forget what he sacrifices so I can hire a babysitter once a week and sip wine while I type this essay.
And sadly, I forget that he has been my number one fan and the driving force behind my writing discipline – when I get writer’s block and want to go shopping, he reminds me that the mark of a true writer is one who writes, regardless of what she feels like doing.
It was a moment in which another finger was pried loose from my tightly clenched heart, and I felt the anger dissipate into willing submission.