Contention, The Spice of Life?

ellies‘Cause of the move and BellSouth’s inability to send me the correct modem (instead of the fabulous wireless freedom to which I’ve become accustomed, I am now chained to the wall next to the only modern phone jack in this charming pre-1950’s house) as well as the general stress of living with two small children, El Yenta Man and I have been sniping at each other lately. Or as the boy puts it, “You guys are really ‘yelly’ lately.”

Point taken, kid. We’re both really loud people (this appears to be hereditary — our 3 year-old can outshout all of us) and while we can bicker vehemently about anything — where to put the couch, whether the kitchen is too green — we usually kiss and make up over popsicles in the backyard a few minutes later. I cannot imagine being married to someone who didn’t argue back: if he just sat there silently, leading me to believe he agreed with me but was really stewing in passive agression and resentment and was actually still mad days later after I’d forgotten all about whatever it was, I’d go craaaaazy. At least everything is on the table, dealt with and done, right? Although I apologize again for calling him an a-hole in front of the kids. Bad form, I know.

Y’all know I don’t love stereotypes, but it seems like a lot of Jews are yelly. Maybe it’s just the ones that I know (I’m telling you, the Senior Yenta Lunch is one cacaphonous event, enhanced by the fact that most everyone is at least half deaf) but I had many dinners over at my Mormon neighbors’ growing up and no one ever seemed to raise their voice or stalk away from the table or slam doors. My Italian friend tells me her family yells a lot, too, even screams and throws food, so we know it’s not exclusive. But Sue Eisenfeld knows that Jewish women love a good argument, and writes writes at Interfaithfamily.com that arguing with a non-Jewish spouse can be a challenge, especially a quiet, non-confrontational non-Jewish spouse.

I defend the rambunction of my home as healthy, though I humbly accept Eisenfeld’s point that there’s something to be said for learning how to reign in the temper, navigate the emotion and slow down before you set someone or something on fire, and possibly — oh wow! — avoid the fight altogether. Certainly for the sake of children, who might actually grow up and discuss things maturely with their respective spouses instead of informing the entire neighborhood about how much they despise the red velvet ottoman.

3 thoughts on “Contention, The Spice of Life?

  1. Your home sounds alot like the home in
    which I gew up. My father, until his stroke, was a rage-aholic. Loud mouths ruled all day and night (but we never threw food, and never became violent). I, unfortunately, am the sort who seethes with resentment and a pent- up desire to rage for weeks post-even. Sick, eh? Oh well, I chill out when I daven and read chassidus/kabbalah – great activities for the nerves, and for unquentable frustration.
    -Schvach

  2. I grew up in a quiet household and I’m not a screamer, but I know it can be healthy for some.
    Just know the kids are remembering everything that’s coming out of your mouth…
    The Jsh MA

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