What is your domino fight?

Yesterday Matt came home from work to find I’d left an ant trap on the floor. And it’d leaked. Only I hadn’t cleaned it up, so, when I came downstairs to greet him, he asked, “Why didn’t you clean it up?”

And I could have said, “I didn’t see it leak.” Or, “I’ll clean it up now.” But what I heard was, “You’re irresponsible,” while my brain flashed through my day: unloading a dishwasher, packing school lunches, folding laundry, preparing dinner. Why can’t he trust what he doesn’t see?

This is our domino fight. Sometimes we don’t know what starts it. But once our first tile topples, we stand helpless as the rest fall. In seconds we undo the goodwill we’ve set into motion throughout the week.

Because when it comes to our domino fight, we work on assumptions. He assumed I was careless, as I’ve left things out in the past.

And I assumed he was being critical, the perfectionist that he is. But neither assumption, we realized later, was true.

For once we talked about how we disagree, rather than the disagreement itself. Because really does it matter in that instance if I was careless or not? Or does it matter whether he was judging me or not? What matters is how we treat each other.

We’ll see how this week goes.

What is your domino fight?

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14. May 2010 by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson
Categories: Marriage | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 comments

Comments (2)

  1. Jennifer, get rid of the ant traps! The last thing you need to have on your mind! Call my pest guy. He is the sweetest man and is so very thorough and careful. He will fix any pest issue you have and will come immediately if you need him–and charge a fraction of what the others charge. His name is Robert and his company is 4 Seasons Pest Control. 763-442-4869.

    Too bad he can’t fix Matt. JUST KIDDING!!!

    I think it’s hard for both people in a marriage to make the adjustment at the end of each day. Matt is walking in the door after dealing with irresponsible associates and insane opposing counsel all day. On the drive home, he is digesting the various annoyances of the day and probably fuming about some of them. So when he walks in the door and has to instantly switch to being dad and spouse, a silly little issue can cause a big reaction–and it’s easy to lash out at the person he knows is most forgiving. On your end, you’ve been busy with the kids and the house and endless chores that need to be done all over again the minute you have just finished doing them. Details like an ant trap are so easy to miss when your mind is drawn in a thousand different directions while constantly monitoring the safety and wellbeing of three energetic kiddos. By dinner time, you are exhausted, thinking about all that is left to do before bedtime, and then you have to make the adjustment to dad/spouse being home and the entire energy of the day changing. Frankly, it’s a miracle ANY marriages survive the early childhood years. You guys are doing great!

  2. We don’t have many domino fights, but when I’m tired – oh man … we just spiral into ridiculousness and I have this calm, rational voice in the back of my head that reminds me that I’m just picking a fight instead of being sensible and walking away or just taking a nap. :) I love marriage. :)

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