The other night I was lying in bed hating my wife, as sometimes happens after a rough day.
Here’s how it goes: I look over, and she’s already sleeping, because she’s the kind of person who’s out when her head hits the pillow. I on the other hand, am only getting started.
You know those ruminations in the darkness that are cured only by too much Xanax? Well, those are my nightly M.O.
I am full of resentment and toxicity; not because of anything my wife did, but because life is stressful, work is stressful, kids are stressful, and she happens to be the only other person in the room.
But if we’re being honest, there was the comment about how I skipped out on yoga all week — as if she were the yoga police!. And then there was the quinoa chicken bake request: “Can we not have quinoa again?” she asked me politely. “I’m not a fan.”
“Who the hell has a problem with quinoa?” I thought to myself, watching our 19-month year old son throw his own food to the dogs.
Couple these innocuous comments with a coworker sobbing over another coworker’s nastygram, a toddler trying to brush his teeth with bathwater, and top it off with his subsequent tantrum over tasting Burt’s Bees body wash (PS: The Trump administration is anti-Semitic, and that only adds to the day’s anxiety, always).
All this exasperation does one thing; it grants me a one-way ticket to Crazy Town. And as this train to Crazy Town starts rolling, I remember someone telling me, “The travel guide lied, there’s nothing to see there!”
Okay, okay. I reluctantly hop off. But now I’m standing on the tracks, and I’m still angry about nothing, or at least a big pile of smaller somethings. And my wife is still the only other person in the room.
This is when I think of that old(er) movie, “The First Wives Club,” a cult classic about three scorned ex-wives who join together for revenge on the men who dropped them. Remember that scene in which Marsha Gay Harden’s therapist character tells Diane Keaton’s character, Annie, that she needs to “work from love; grow from love?”
That scene used to crack me up; not only do we find out Annie’s therapist is the one sleeping with Annie’s husband, but the idea of working and growing from love sounds hokey and weird. But is it?
In that moment on the metaphorical tracks–between destinations normal on one end and quinoa crazy on the other—I hear Marsha Gay Harden’s voice, and I remind myself that I’ve committed to love. Because after all that’s what marriage is: One Big Commitment.
I’m not sure what it means to “work and grow from love,” but I think means that I’m supposed to hold my wife’s hand.
I reach out, take her hand, feel her squeeze back—and start feeling a little bit better.