Suburban Snapshots

The Benefits of Kvetching
About Your Husband

Monday, September 08, 2014

Every six months or so, the things that irk me about my husband all rear up at once and I spend a couple of weeks dwelling on them, scrutinizing them, and being generally aggravated. It's not fair, and I do my best to not pick a fight each time I feel like he's missed an opportunity to show me affection or pay me a compliment. I've known for fifteen years that this isn't how he shows love, yet I still get frustrated because for me these are simple gestures. Similarly, my husband would have sex ten times a week and there's not enough Red Bull in the world for me to manufacture that kind of energy.

When I post about Steve publicly, what I say is true. He's an involved dad, he does all our laundry and cleans out the shower drain, he lets me get my way most of the time (even when it means I have to sit through his trademarked lecture on budgeting like I don't know it verbatim), and he is always trying to improve himself and our lives. This is where his love is.

But when I post about Steve privately, that's true too. Or it's true under the influence of my frustration. I share with close friends or in private Facebook groups, or both if I feel like his current offense/mood/comments warrant a larger opinion pool.

Inevitably I feel a little bad about the rant minutes after it's out, I soften and point out that I know I'm lucky, that I have a hard-working, loyal husband who looks great holding a guitar. This is one benefit of oversharing — saying the things somewhere helps me get perspective on them. The other benefit is that always someone will want to make me feel better by offering a story about their own spouse, and wow, husbands.

Among my confidants there are no perfect matches, no one completing anyone else. It's revealing to see what we've each decided we can live with. There are compromises and frustrations and things that will never, ever be resolved. So I look at my gripes against Steve and my friends' gripes against their own husbands and I realize I've done pretty well. It's not because these other spouses are horrible, I know them to be mostly great. It's just that their not-so-great parts aren't things I could easily live with, and probably Steve's not-so-great parts aren't things some of my friends could live with.

Eventually my sour mood passes, stories about friends' husbands remind me of how little I tolerate from my own, and while "Oh God it could be so much worse" is no reason to jump at a marriage proposal, after ten years, sometimes it's just the reminder you need.

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