For instance, yesterday all day, my toe hurt like I had been stung and I couldn’t see what was wrong but it made my whole foot feel numb. I asked him if he would take a look at my toe to see if he could see anything; he touched the ball of my foot and said “Here?” and I snapped and said “No, I said my toe!” I saw that my snapping had upset him so I apologized and said I hadn’t meant to snap at him. He seemed upset still and I went to the kitchen and finished putting dishes in the dishwasher and washing up the kitchen. It took about 10 minutes and then I went back to the living room and he wouldn’t look at me or say anything so I asked if he was mad at me or going to be mad all evening and he, still refusing to look at me, says, “Nope.” Then a few minutes later he goes to the office for about an hour and a half. Around 8:30 he comes back, sits down and asks me if there is anything I want to do, so I say in a cheery voice that “I like to do lots of things!” This makes him mad so he goes back to the office without saying anything and stays there ’til after I go to bed around 10:30. Then he comes in the bedroom and tells me I was being childish for saying what I had when he asked if I wanted to do something. I told him I said it because I was tired of him avoiding me and then acting like everything is OK without even talking about it.
I really am tired of it. I do not know how to handle the pouty behavior and it makes me feel like we waste whole days over it sometimes. It is not like I am the only one causing arguments or snapping either, and I don’t want to make it seem that way, but when he snaps at me, I don’t stay mad and avoid him all night. Please help, what can I do to stymie this behavior or deal with it? — Sick of His Childish Behavior
Um. You guys are both being super childish, and you need to grow up and act like adults if you want your marriage to thrive. That means to take ownership of your behavior and quit blaming each other for stupid, inconsequential shit. For example, you said you apologized to your husband for snapping at him because you could tell he was hurt. Wrong answer! The right thing to do is to apologize because you were rude. You had your foot stuck in the guy’s face and then you SNAPPED at him because he didn’t find the exact spot where your mystery numbness was coming from. Do you not see how that was rude? Can you understand why he might be a little annoyed with you?
Then, after your husband did take some space — retreating to his office for an hour and a half — you couldn’t let it go that he dared to spend some time in another room and you proceeded to act like a first grader when he asked if you wanted to do something. “I like to do lots of things!” What? That wasn’t even his question. Obviously, you were pissed at him and rather than say in a rational, adult way, “Hey, I get the feeling you’re upset with me because of how I snapped at you a while ago. I’m sorry I did that, but I wish you wouldn’t have run off to your office while we could have been having a nice evening.” But you decided to be passive-aggressive instead. What kind of reaction were you expecting from that?
Notice that before he went to bed, your husband told you that he was annoyed with you for being childish. This is called asserting your feelings. He expressed himself in a rational, adult way. The proper response here would have been, “I was childish, but I was hurt that you avoided me for half the evening.” From there, you could have had a rational, adult conversation that hopefully would have involved brief apologies from both parties and a good chuckle over how silly you’d both been and how you probably need to get out more.
And that’s my main advice to you: Get out more. It sounds like you’re in a bit of a rut. Too much time at home, sitting around, wondering what to do with yourselves. Make an effort to spend at least one evening a week out doing something fun. Reconnect over meals either at your own dinner table or at a restaurant. Put some spice in your life with activities that push you both a little out of your comfort zone, take you out of your heads, and force you to work together. Enroll in a weekly dance class or team up for trivia night at a local pub. Go on a scavenger hunt, or take a cooking class together. The point is, this is obviously bigger than some dumb argument about a mystery sting on your toe or whatever. This is about you two being bored, not taking responsibility for your behavior, and looking for drama — because of the boredom — in your relationship rather than fun stuff that brings you together. Quit acting like children and start taking your marriage seriously … by having more fun with each other.