In keeping with the theme of why I love my husband – he rarely stays angry for long. It takes something pretty huge to make him permanently angry at someone, and there are not many things he stays angry about when it comes to me.
That said, like all marriages, we have some bad moments. The other day was a long and grueling day for both of us. We had a frustrating experience while out and about and both of us had annoying days at work. Traffic this time of year is simply crazy, we have too many places to go and not enough time to get everything accomplished and still sleep, work, workout, etc. Very irritating.
On this annoying day, we had purchased a replacement bulb for our halogen lamp in the living room. This lamp is very bright and lights up the whole room without being glaring. We also have a ceiling fan that had a bare bulb in it that I hate. It is not very bright, the cover for the bulb part never fit right and has since disappeared, and for my purposes its only use is in the summer when we need the fan part to keep things a bit cooler. Will, however, does not mind this light, so the halogen bulb burning out is not something that he finds terribly inconvenient or annoying.
We decided that he would run into Kroger and get the bulb while I filled the gas tank to conserve time. We then ran a bunch of errands and happened to be gone for most of the day. By the time we got home we both forgot about the bulb. We get inside, I am immediately annoyed by the stupid overhead light and ask him if he brought in the halogen bulbs and he didn’t. He goes out to the car to get them, comes back inside without them, and promptly gives up on the exploration with ill temper.
As I had never even had my hands on the halogen bulbs, I quickly become every bit as ill tempered. I grab one of my little flashlights, go outside and look through the car. The light bulbs are not in a bag, they are in the side compartment of the door where he puts all of the things he later forgets about and leaves in the car. I come inside, set the bulbs down on the coffee table, and tell him that since I found them and brought them in, he can change the bulbs. I do this in part because ever since we got the lamp I have zero recollection of him ever changing the bulb – this does not mean he did not do it once or twice, he may have, but not to my memory or my knowledge.
“I’ll change it when it becomes a priority for me,” he said nastily.
I go from being ill tempered to instantly pissed.
“Fine. I’ll be in the same room as you again when it becomes a priority for me,” I reply venomously.
I know, I know, I marvel at my own maturity and reasoned responses, too.
I stomp into our library. Get online for a bit, but am still too mad at him to be in such close proximity as one room away. I go downstairs to shower and contemplate if this is a big enough deal to go to war over. My sister has a phrase that she uses, “Do I really want to die on this hill?” Meaning, is this such a big deal that I am willing to fight it out in a huge and possibly endless argument?
I think about the past few weeks where we have made deals such as if I do A, he will do B – A gets completed and B gets an excuse as to why it cannot possibly be done today or anytime soon. I think about how angry I will be if I have to change that light bulb myself. I know myself pretty well. I know that if I have to change that light bulb, there will be some permanent resentment. Permanent resentment in marriage, or any relationship, is bad because it can potentially ruin a relationship if there is too much of it. I decide that it would be better to scale an all out war with him than to change the light bulb.
I am willing to die on this hill. I am willing to nuke the hill entirely, in fact.
I figure that my best tactic is to find ways to make changing the light bulb a priority for him. Step one is to hide all of the spare light bulbs we have in the house. I have easy access to where we keep them from downstairs, so I can get to them and put them somewhere he will never look before I come upstairs for the night. Step two, in the morning, since I wake up well before him, I remove all of the light bulbs from every other light fixture in that room and every lamp in the house. All of the light bulbs will be gone and hidden. I figure that total darkness would be a pretty good motivator – maybe even good enough that changing the light bulb in the halogen lamp would become a priority for him.
If that didn’t work, well, let’s just say there was escalation in my head – up through step 10 that I had planned out to make changing the light bulb a priority. I know my husband well enough to know there would be retaliation, but figured that I would be able to annoy him faster and more effectively than he could annoy me. I envisioned the ending of the movie “The War of the Roses” where Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner are dying, in the remains of what was once their house that they have systematically destroyed through upping the ante. I think that this would be the likely result and am angry enough that I conclude, “So be it.”
I come upstairs and figure that I should at least check to see if he has replaced the light bulb before I start with step one of hiding all of the other light bulbs in the house. The halogen light is on and lighting up the living room beautifully.
What I like about my husband is that when I come upstairs and tell him that I am a little disappointed he changed the bulb because I had a devious master plan, he is not angry. He is somewhat amused and thoughtful. He tells me that his first step would be to start hiding the kitchen knives, but not all of them at once. Just gradually a few here and there so that I feel like I am going crazy. He would probably even act as if he had no knowledge of the missing kitchen knives even existing, because he really likes the idea of gaslighting me.
Which I have to admit is a nice move on his part. I also have to admit that as much as I like a worthy adversary, I am glad that we are still on the same side.