Marriage Makeover: "2 Jobs, 2 Kids — Where Does Our Marriage Fit In?"
MEGHAN: "I quietly storm around the house and try to hold it in, usually because I know I shouldn't let whatever is bothering me get to me. But then it all comes out sideways, usually in a snide remark. Once I simmer down, I feel regretful and sad and want to make everything better."
JEREMY: "It's exasperating that so many of our arguments have to come to this boiling point. I resent Meghan for it, but I'm to blame too. When I get mad, I do the stereotypical guy thing: I clam up and don't talk. Then I eventually snap at her or maybe raise my voice, and that's when I realize I've been holding all my feelings in."
MEGHAN: "But it's hard to stop and say, 'I want to sit down and talk about this calmly.' We end up just avoiding discussing the topic until it becomes this huge thing. At the same time, we don't want to be yellers — especially with young kids — but that's what's happening to us."
EXPERT ADVICE: "It's good that Meghan and Jeremy are both aware that if they don't talk about what's irritating them, the issue is going to go from small to colossal. The key is finding the time to discuss what's bothering them. It's not essential to talk about issues as soon as they arise, but it is essential to say in the moment, 'This upsets me and we need to figure out a time to work it out.' They should try setting aside time each weekend for a marriage maintenance meeting, a clearinghouse of sorts for the issues that might have built up over the week. Mornings are best — they'll wake up refreshed and renewed and motivated to work things out. Once they plug this structure into their life, they'll have a calm place to discuss topics they might have otherwise avoided."
MEGHAN: "I often assume that Jeremy will take care of day-care drop-offs for our daughter because he works from home, while I go to an office every day. I know it gets on his nerves when I forget to check in and say, 'Are you dropping off Trixie this morning, or do you need me to do it?' "
JEREMY: "That's our most common argument, because the situation happens five days a week."
MEGHAN: "When we argue, it sometimes comes out that I don't acknowledge enough of the stuff he helps with. I know that I have a great guy! There are plenty of husbands who don't do nearly as much as Jeremy does around the house, like cooking dinner most nights. But I don't think he realizes the amount of time I spend keeping our calendar-making sure Trixie's doctor appointments get scheduled or that we don't miss family parties or stuff with his friends. It's almost like the time I spend planning our lives is invisible to him, and that's frustrating to me."