On Marital Discord, Part 1

Annah ElizabethLeave a Comment

“There’s a fire burning in my heart,” ran through my head for two days. Adele’s catchy, bluesy beat pulsated, over and over and over, and I found myself repeatedly belting out that single stance.
And wouldn’t you know, as I write this I’m having a hard time summoning that snappy tune…

What kind of fire is burning in her heart, I thought.  Is it love? Is it desire for something else?What fire is burning in my heart?

I was cooking a scrambled egg feast when my son asked, “Do you know any of the other words to that song?” After I let the one-liner ring out once more, he chased me down and covered my mouth. Okay, he didn’t really chase me down, but he did run up behind me and laugh as he placed his hand over my face. “I can’t take it anymore!”

The only other words I could come up with were, “We could have had it all,” so I looked up the lyrics to discover that the song is really quite dark and speaks to the vengeful nature that resides within us. In the song, the fire is actually “starting” in the heart, and the person warns another that retaliation will be so much worse than what was originally dished out.

The opening line of the hit title Rolling in the Deep, however, indicates that before the subject became motivated to enact revenge, she had been in a dark place of isolation. 

“There’s a fire burning in my heart/Reaching a fever pitch and it’s bring me out of the dark.”

That is the way it tends to happen, isn’t it? We suffer a great pain, we retreat for a while, and then something spurs us into action, moves us in a new direction, one toward healing.

Sometimes that fuel is anger.

Which leads me to the second item which has been on my mind the past two days: Heather Armstrong’s separation from her husband.

If you aren’t familiar with Heather, she is the author of dooce.com, a woman who blogged before blogging was vogue, one who lost her job after referencing her work in a way her boss didn’t like, and someone who’s family lives quite well from blogging income.

Yes. Blogging income. Her husband left his job years ago to manage the site and its logistics.

It boggles the mind that blogging can support an entire household.

Not so boggling, however, is the fact that they have separated.

Marriage is often hard, even when you’re not working side by side twenty-four-seven.

As humans, we are in a constant state of change: We mature; our likes and dislikes change; our needs change.

Marriage necessitates a buoyancy that is, at times, contradictory to our very nature. In the absence of that elasticity we often encounter frustration or anger.

Ideally that tension doesn’t lead to Adele’s burning desire for retribution, or to separation. But, let’s face it, in a two-income world, it is too easy to let stresses go untreated. Before you know it, you can’t stand the sight of your (once) soul mate, let alone tolerate being in the same room.

I’m sure you’ve heard it said before: There’s a fine line between love and hate. So, what’s a couple to do when they have reached the point of feeling like enemies?

How do you go about trying to reconcile differences?

How do you find separate spaces from which to heal, without adding financial stress—or possibly more money stress—to the mix?

What do you do if you have children or another family member living in the house?

What do you do if, as in the Armstrong’s case, you share a business together?

Every couple who has faced marital discord has labored over these and many more questions.

What I can tell you is that it is possible to overcome seemingly monumental conflict.

There are a few simple, yet not so easy, strategies our counselor helped my husband and I to employ when we literally couldn’t come together without it turning our convergence into a screaming match.

But first, I must return to my day job…

Soon…

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