What a befitting title to talk about an argument… blinds. You see, blinds are really great at deception and block out light from entering a room. There is still light, it’s just conveniently disguised behind the blinds. You can literally walk into a room and be unaware of the weather or time of day due to blinds. I had a debate with Darryl (I call him by his government name when we have a disagreement) the other day about blinds. The discussion started real innocent as I asked if he would show me how to put up the blinds. He responded by saying that the blinds were not the reason the light was coming in the room and that if we rigged the curtain to lay a certain way on the air condition window unit, the light would be blocked. That response wasn’t what I was looking for and I couldn’t understand his reasoning for propping a curtain up each day (a few times a day when it falls) instead of simply putting up the blinds that we purchased for the specific reason of blocking out light. We both became more and more frustrated as we continued on and I realized that it was not about the blinds.
No. 1 Underlying Pettiness
My question “Can you show me how to put up these blinds?” wasn’t simply for the heck of it. Oh no…. my question was in response to a request that I had repeatedly made that had not been fulfilled. “Babe can you put the blinds up?” Instead of asking for the 14th time I decided to take it upon myself. Now listen, this is when I have to really analyze my intentions and be honest with myself. Alex are you being passive aggressive? Are you being petty? If the answer is yes to one or both of those questions, I usually have two choices. I can either continue down the rabbit hole of proving my point until he tires and gives in or I can reevaluate my delivery and try to resolve the issue sooner than later.
No. 2 Feeling Ignored and Unvalued
Our frustration was maybe 10% associated with the actual blinds. The other 90% was due to the fact that we both felt unheard. I felt like a broken record in which I try my best to avoid (“the nagging wife is not what I strive to be”) and he felt unvalued. Sometimes when we are so focused on what we individually do for each other or our family, it’s easy to feel like the victim. I would never intentionally make him feel unappreciated but by reminding him of something he hadn’t done, it felt like I was ignoring all the good things that he contributes daily. That’s not the case at all. I so appreciate everything he does but it’s also crucial that I’m able to communicate when I feel like something is wrong or has been overlooked.
No. 3 Battle of the Type As
If only Destiny Child would have made “Cater 2 U” only and not “Independent Women” (my anthem from 4thgrade and up). I have had several conversations with my mom and besties about how we are encouraged as little girls from our moms (especially if you’re raised by a single parent) to be strong independent women. Not only were we encouraged as a generation to strive independently by our mothers and celebrity idols but our fathers as well. Think about it, if you were daddy’s little girl then he was probably reminding you each and every day to get married when you were 40 or older– after your career. If you didn’t have a relationship with your dad than the independence was maybe mirrored by thoughts of “I don’t need a spouse, I can fend for myself.” Either way, two Type A personalities can be a dangerous combination if not acknowledged and carefully taken into consideration. You’ll find yourself battling it out about the dumbest things (like the fraction of light entering a room due to the use of blinds). Both individuals have to realize that being “right” has little value if it’s diminishing the relationship.
Disagreements will come and go. However, digging for the underlying issues and acknowledging those issues can make the difference between a minor spat or a major separation. The blinds are still down, and to give him the benefit of the doubt he responded to the question the first 14 times correctly…
Me: “Can you put up the blinds?”
Grammatically speaking he CAN indeed put up the blinds.
So, for the 16th time I’ll ask him, “WILL you put up the blinds today… please?”
I'll let you know how it goes.