Weddings

5 Real Women On The Fight That Almost Ended Their Marriage

And what made them decide to stick it out.
07/17/2018 12:32pm ET

Ina Garten once said of marriage, “If Jeffrey and I disagree on something, he always agrees with me!” But there is only one Jeffrey, and none of us married him. In fact, some disagreements are so epic, they make us contemplate becoming one of the 4,800 people who get divorced every day. Here, five still-married women tell the stories of those battles, and what made them decide to stick it out.

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THE RING TOSS GONE WRONG

“Everything was a perfect fit on our wedding day — except my husband’s ring. For the better part of our first year of marriage, he would fail to entertain me with ring tossing performances — ‘Watch how far I can fling my ring! It just flies right off!’ Despite my urges to have it resized, and his insistence his finger would ‘fill it out’ in time, the ring remained in a precarious place, until an ill-fated beach trip, mere weeks before our two-year anniversary, when he decided he wanted just one more toss of the ole pigskin with a friend down by the water. I could see the moment it happened — him looking around the sand immediately following a throw. The ring was gone and I just about lost it. Some would say, ‘Oh, it’s just a ring. Those go missing all the time!’ and though he appeared genuinely gutted by the loss, I knew the history, and how carelessly the ring had been treated since the beginning. Well, he finally got the message loud and clear. After a night of me fuming (with my wedding ring removed), he returned to the beach with a professional metal detectorist. Within minutes, this man found the ring (which had sunk deep into the sand instead of being swept away by the ocean). All was not forgiven, however, until my husband vowed to get the ring resized once and for all. As an apology meal, he made me a plate of onion rings.”

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THE WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN? BEEF

“One night when I was four months pregnant, my husband came home hours later than I was expecting him, totally drunk and with a dead phone. (Not the first time that had happened.) Needless to say, I was furious and thus ensued a giant fight wherein I put forth the opinion that I couldn’t count on him to be reliable, and he put forth the (slurred) opinion that I was trying to micromanage his every move. The evening ended with me circling the neighborhood in tears. Fortunately, we were able to have a more measured conversation the next day, and about two weeks later, he decided to stop drinking entirely, which he did for almost three years. (He’ll now have the occasional beer or glass of wine.) Without alcohol as an amplifying force, we’ve learned how to better provide what the other needs: He’s hyper-communicative and dependable, and I’ve backed off in terms of needing to know every detail of his plans or the exact minute he’ll be returning home.”

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THE CO-PARENTING CRISIS

“I was battling my latest sinus infection, exhausted after taking care of our small kids alone for five straight days when the weekend finally arrived and it was my husband’s turn to ‘take over.’ And while I should have just stayed in bed that Saturday morning, I decided instead to gatekeep like a guard at a maximum security prison, micromanaging his every parenting move, reminding him ad nauseam about the baby’s nap schedule, the timing of our preschooler’s playdate, and criticizing his decision to casually play with the kids in the backyard as opposed to prepping lunch immediately, in advance of the day’s activities. (Who has time for fun when there is fun to plan and facilitate?!) I was being impossible, I realize in retrospect, because I so badly wanted him to tell me something along the lines of, ‘Get some rest, you’ve earned it. You’ve done an amazing job, but I’ve got this now.’ Instead, he belittled my advice and said something like, taking care of the kids ‘wasn’t that hard.’ I completely lost it, surprising even myself with the depth of my fury, and had a tantrum that was disturbingly similar to a toddler’s (crying, screaming, snot, the works). I still feel deep shame that my kids had to witness that. How frightened they must have been. But I’m proud of how we both apologized to each other — with sincerity and specifics — and resolved things in front of them.”

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GONE TO THE DOGS

“We went to visit my husband's parents and an in-law squabble turned into something more. I'm allergic to dogs (they have two), and usually when I stay over, I end up sniffling for days, with watery eyes and just general discomfort. This time I told my husband to please ask that the dogs be kept away from me and the living room, since that's where we spend most of our time. He did (supposedly), but wires must have gotten crossed because that's not what ended up happening. He felt awkward about bringing it up again and I felt miserable. And while I genuinely do love my MIL, I started questioning where my husband's loyalties lie (such a cliché, I know). Cue many terse exchanges and me hiding in our room. Eventually, he realized that I wasn't going to budge on this and that he needed to confront his mother, which he did. But honestly, next time I think I'm just going to book a hotel.”

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IT’S ALL FUN AND GAMES… UNTIL IT ISN’T

“My husband has always played video games, but in the grand scheme of things, he’s had a pretty healthy relationship with them — playing maybe a couple of hours a week max, mainly as a way to stay connected with his friends on the other side of the country. Anyways, pre-baby, he was invited by a random group of guys he met to join something called the ‘Daddy’s League’—basically a group of dads that have a regular schedule for playing video games almost March Madness-style, but the tournament lasts for weeks and weeks... and weeks. He joined! Our lives began to center around Daddy’s League, and I began to loathe it every time he mentioned it. ‘Hey, do you want to get dinner Friday night?’ ‘Sure, but can we go at 9 p.m.? I just have to play in the Daddy’s League.’ ‘So and so is in town for brunch next weekend.’ ‘OK, but I just have to squeeze in a Daddy’s League game — when can I play that day?’ On New Year’s Eve, we hit a breaking point. We were walking out the door to a local bar (a tradition we never skip) and my husband got a text that he was due to play and said he had NO CHOICE. I became irate! ‘You’re not even a dad! This is embarrassing! I’m going to the bar alone!’ So I did. He quit the next day. And, if I’m being honest, I think he’s never felt freer. Damn you, Daddy’s League!”

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