Last weekend Dennis and I had one of those fights that came out of nowhere and blindsided us both. It was Sunday afternoon and we were taking a leisurely drive talking about our goals when suddenly everything went south. (I’m sure it had something to do with money, but now 4 days later even that important detail of what the fight was really about escapes me.)
You know the kind of south I’m talking about. The kind that makes you want to screech the tires and slam doors. The kind of mad that makes you want to get away from the person causing you pain as fast as possible.
I was driving.
As our argument got more heated, I headed the car for home. We continued the tit for tat groveling into the house. The decibel of the fighting got worse and Dennis (who never does this, it’s only the 2nd time in 30 years of marriage), said “I’m gonna leave.” He grabbed his car keys and headed out the door.
I was glad. I couldn’t wait for him to get out the door.
Stunned, and not sure what had really just happened, I loaded the dishwasher and slowly wiped the counter.
Then, I loaded the washer.
I switched on my Adele CD and joined in her croon “I Could’ve Had It All.”
I grabbed my Pledge and dustrag and violently attacked the furniture.
I wiped down window shades filled with dust that hadn’t been hit in 6 months.
I pumped the Windex onto the TV’s that were covered with an invisible black film.
I wrangled with the sheets and made the bed.
Nothing could stop me. I was like a mad woman attacking my anger like some housecleaner Hercules.
That lasted for about 15 minutes.
With my back to the bedroom door, I didn’t even hear Dennis re-enter the house and then the bedroom. I was too busy letting the tears stream down my face as I sprayed more Windex and mopped gunk off the bedroom TV. He was within 1 foot of me and the TV when I finally noticed his presence. And then I turned around, locked eyes with him and fell into his arms.
We embraced for what seemed like a very long time. Adele kept on singing her lusty soul tunes.
We kissed. Said I’m sorry. Made-up. (I’ll let you fill in the details on this one.)
And for that, I’m very, very glad.
When you’re in love, fighting is inevitable. I don’t advocate fighting nor do we do very much of it.
But sometimes a good fight is the cleansing agent that paves the way to greater understanding.
It’s what you do with your anger that counts. Holding it inside is the absolute worst thing you can do. It’s toxic.
It’s okay to get mad. It’s okay to be furious. And occasionally, it’s even okay to leave to just put some space between the anger and yourselves.
There are good things to do with anger, and there are some very bad things. Here’s 5 really good things to do when you’re angry. They may seem silly, but they provide a good bridge until you can get to the other side again.
5 Really Good Things To Do When You’re Angry
#1. Clean the house. Turn yourself into a whirlwind. Attack the toilet. Scrub holes in the kitchen floor if you have to.
#2. Hop on the treadmill. Pound it out. Increase the level or the speed and put your fight into the machine, not each other. The other alternative to this is taking a walk.
#3. Sob it out in the shower. Cry yourself dry. Then, with your hair still wrapped in the towel, take a nap.
#4. Call a friend and rant to your heart’s content. Do not, I repeat, do not call your family. Friends can usually get over your spouse’s supposed shortcomings, family cannot.
#5. Organize just about anything. Your closet. Your junk drawer. The entire garage or house if you’ve got that much anger. Then just make sure to get rid of the stuff you’ve purged immediately before you can cool entirely down.
Hopping on the treadmill and taking a walk are two different things. Dennis is a take-a-walk kind of guy. He actually went out to sit by the lake while we were fighting and didn’t really ever leave at all. I’m more of a hop on the treadmill kind of woman. I can pound out my frustration on the machine.
But the best thing of all to do when you’re angry is this…make-up. Mingle your tears and hug it out. Say you’re sorry. Begin again. Because of all the things worth fighting for in this crazy mixed-up world…love is the most important thing of all.