Over the past few years, my husband and I have had a regular Friday night fight. The source of the friction is a standing Friday night poker game. I’ve tried, but I just don’t like it. Too much drinking, too much focus on poker, just not my thing. I’ve never really liked playing organized card or board games with people. I always lose interest about 60% of the way through and feel very trapped through the last 40%. Dave loves it–the people, the poker, the whole scene. So, each Friday I’d somehow hope he’d want to spend it with me instead of smoking cigars and hanging with the poker crew. Each Friday I’d feel let down and left out. Some Fridays, I’d organize an alternative for the both of us, but if I wasn’t proactive, the default plan was for him to go to poker and me to feel cross.
In September, I decided I was done wishing things were different, and I decided to surrender. We made a deal. We get a date night one Friday a month. The rest of the time, I’ll make my own plans and his Fridays are his for poker with the gang.
This weekend, I’m going to Ohio for a yoga for scoliosis workshop. He’s loaned me his car to drive to Cleveland. He made arrangements to go gambling with a friend in Biloxi, MS. He leaves for the airport immediately after work tomorrow. He was in New York and Iowa earlier this week. It’s been a schedule-challenged week.
This morning I told him that I had the ingredients for a particular meal, that I had an appointment after work, and that I’d be back at 7 or so. I got a phone message from him at 4PM that he was going to a poker game at the poker crew’s house, no particular plans this evening, right? At 7, on my way home, I called him at the impromptu game, he was inattentive, involved in the game. I told him I was cooking and if he came home, I’d feed him, if not, fine (subtext = “you jerk”).
In the kitchen, cooking for maybe myself or maybe the two of us, I realized I had a choice. I could continue to wind myself up, hone my barbs, and let him have it when he walked in the door. I could conjure up a grim evening for both of us, rehashing the unresolved tension. Or, I could let go and resolve to enjoy the evening, no matter what it held. The evening I’d have was entirely my choice.