By: Shannon Ralph
Reason #16: The standoff.
We all have our breaking points. We continue to behave as we have always behaved until that breaking point has been reached. In a marriage, when you suddenly stop doing what you have always done, a stand-off inevitably ensues.
Ruanita and I are currently in the midst of two unspoken stand-offs.
I am responsible for the initiation of the great ice tray wars of 2012. We do not have an ice maker at my house. Well, actually, our new fridge does have an ice maker. We just do not have a water line hooked up to it. So we make ice the old school way around here. Remember those obnoxious plastic contraptions of old? Yep, we use ice trays to make all of the ice we use in this house. Historically, I have been the one who fills up the ice cube trays. All the time. Constantly. Ruanita will leave one ice cube in each tray–ONE–so as not to have to fill the trays. I have complained about it. I have ranted about it. I have thrown ridiculously childish temper tantrums about it. But nothing has changed. I still pull empty ice cube trays out of the freezer on a daily basis.
As a result, I now absolutely refuse to fill the ice cube trays. I have not verbalized this decision to Ruanita. I have simply stopped filling them. And I am damned and determined to continue my refusal until Ruanita learns to turn the knob on the kitchen faucet and fill the trays herself. It is not difficult. It is not time-consuming. It does not require a great deal of skill. Or stamina. Or education. Or intelligence. Just. Fill. The. Damn. Trays. As it stands, I will guzzle my beloved Diet Pepsi as warm as the midday sun before I will make ice. If she wants a cold Dr. Pepper, she is on her own. 100% completely on her own.
The pathetic thing is that I am not entirely sure Ruanita has even noticed that we are at war.
At least not about the ice cube trays. She is, however, fully aware of our second standoff.
Hanging in our kitchen above the bay window is a colorful banner. Stripes and polka dots in shades of pink and orange and yellow. The banner was a decoration used for my sister’s baby shower that we hosted at our house some time ago. My niece is now four months old, and the banner hangs in our kitchen still. Blowing in the breeze. It is not ugly, but it certainly doesn’t match our butterscotch-colored kitchen walls.
Either one of us could have easily taken the banner down five months ago. It would have taken all of two seconds. But we didn’t do it. And now it has become a “thing.” You married couples know what I mean. A “thing.” A symbol. An item around which we have dug in our heels. I will not take it down at this point for fear of appearing to be the weak one in my marriage. Ruanita will not take is down for fear of the smug grin that may or may not appear on my face upon my discovery that it has been removed. At some point, I suspect the adhesiveness of the Scotch tape holding the banner to the wall will weaken and eventually fail. The banner will then remove itself from our kitchen wall (likely with a large chunk of paint attached to it). Until that time—as many months or years as it takes—I am fairly certain that the banner will continue to flutter in the ceiling fan breeze and mesmerize my young niece with its bright colors and fanciful designs. We are at an impasse. This is a standoff.
The ridiculous and utterly childish standoff is one more reason why my marriage is just like your marriage.