March 06, 2011

Bicker Basket

To say a four month preemie vigil can strain a marriage is like saying a close proximity nuclear explosion can irritate the skin. Regardless, my wife and I have managed to keep things together without resorting to the type of hand-to-hand melee that, if recorded, would typically go viral on YouTube.

Rather, our primary coping method so far has been a heavy reliance on bickering. There is no topic too mundane that's beyond our capacity to bicker endlessly about.

We've had bicker-fests regarding laundry, groceries, television shows, snacks, the time of day, bathroom time and countless other categories that we would otherwise never have bothered to argue about. Perpetual stress and an ongoing lack of sleep, however, has resulted in every topic under the sun being fair game for a good round of bickering.

I became acutely aware of our enhanced bickering while we had our 2010 taxes prepared recently. For a brief moment, while our tax preparer asked us several questions, I found myself sort of hovering outside my body, watching as my wife and I answered the questions through an incessent barrage of back-and-forth bickering.

Q: How much did you pay for electricity last year?

A: ME: About $1,200, I guess. WIFE: Oh, it was way more than that! ME: No, it wasn't. WIFE: It had to be about $2,000. ME: Hey, I paid the damned thing all year, so I should know. WIFE: You don't remember anything! ME: Well, I certainly don't remember why I married you! WIFE: That makes two of us!

Bear in mind, the tax preparing session lasted over an hour, so you can begin to appreciate what we put our tax preparer through. Suffice it to say, she earned her service fee that day.

For whatever reason, our bickering machine gun method seems to work, although we take care not to engage in serious bickering when our toddler is present--that's when we bicker via hand gestures and facial contortions.

At the end of the day--all bickering aside--we manage to keep the household running, while finding time each day for both of us to sit with Zoey. It's a challenging juggling act even under the best of circumstances.

Daily bickering has kept us sane, as crazy as that may seem.

Posted by Ryan at March 6, 2011 02:09 PM | TrackBack

I can't imagine the stress you two must be under. Just take the time to note some understanding about your wife's stress. Even moms with no problems in their pregnancy have stress and hormonal issues sometimes that require patience. I'm sure your wife is practically saintly to be coping with all this.

Zoey will be worth all the pain x1000 times.

Posted by: Dustin at March 8, 2011 04:49 PM

I wonder often how your marriage is surviving the assault of stress. From your post, it sounds like you're doing much better than most. Bicker away, I say. Then find a moment here and there to hold and hug as well. Like I said once, "They just don't write country songs about crap like your going through." That little Zoey (and Aiden too!) are fortunate to have you guys as parents! Hang in there!!!

Posted by: Laura at March 16, 2011 09:04 PM
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