Thursday, September 22, 2016

How to start a fight with your spouse in five easy steps

The Heirloom of Injustice
You may already be good at this. But if you need a few tips, I'm happy to share some tried and true fight starters.

1. Remember, timing is critical. 

A great time to start one is late at night, perhaps while you're brushing your teeth before bed. At this point you're both tired, a little vulnerable, and not at your most rational.


2. Pick something that's been eating at you daily, but you haven't said anything about.

For example, me, I'm constantly annoyed by my husband's grandfather clock. It is beautiful, generations old, and imbued with family history and import. It was owned by his namesake. He has known his whole life that he would inherit it.

It chimes like his other ding clocks--and there's bitter history there--but louder. It sits near the bottom of the stairs, and the sound shoots right up to our room hourly and on the half hour.


I've been bothered by it for a long time. And to Nick's credit, since receiving it, he has tried various methods of stifling it. He's wrapped the dinger in a towel, in bubble wrap, etc. His goal was to adjust it so it is loud enough to hear but soft enough to be acceptable for me.

He was under the impression that he'd fixed the problem, since I'd stopped complaining. But I stopped complaining because the whole thing made me tired. And he was trying.

The DING is no longer so loud that it actually wakes me up at night. But if I am awake, I count the dings...

3. Wait until your frustration has built and built, so while it seems logical to you (you have daily conversations in your head) it will come out of the blue for your partner. This way you can really wallop her or him with your rage and righteous indignation.

The unsuspecting clock has come to symbolize every instance in our marriage where I felt that his opinion carried more weight than mine. Where his wants and needs came first. Where he pushed harder and I capitulated, because it was just easier to give in.

Now it irritates me every time I hear it. Which is a million times a day.

It is no longer just a clock.


It is the Heirloom of Injustice.

4. React to a trigger. Do not stop to think about the rationality of it.

In my case, the 11:00 chimes were the final straw. 

5.  Go for the nuclear option. Accuse. Use a tone, perhaps some profanity. With built up rage and righteous indignation, this is really the only approach. It works immediately, eliciting anger and setting you up for completely irrational conversation.

For example: "You know, if I ever leave you, it will be because your fucking ding clock is more important to you than my feelings."

You love your clock more than you love me. How much do you even really love me?

Pretty good, huh?

There. You'll of course have your own personal peeves, your own heirlooms of injustice, but follow this formula, and I've set you on the course for a big old fight.

You can take it from here.


  1. It actually kind of looks like it's waiting for some poor unsuspecting soul to come down the hallway so it can ding at it. Lurking, in a sort of looming, dinging way.

    1. I actually love how the clock looks, and it is in a nice location visually. It's hard to get a good picture because it is backlit. Although I guess I could've closed the blinds? In any case, it's a nice old clock. Just, you know, the focus of my rage.

  2. You have beautiful rugs, apropos of nothing. 👍

    1. Thank you! When my mom moved in, all her fabulous rugs moved in with her. :)

  3. No heirloom of injustice, merely the condiment of contention in my house. For whatever reason, my husband is incapable of putting the soy sauce back in the cupboard after he uses it. And I've asked him, reminded him, nagged at him. It. Still. Sits. There. Until. I. Put. It. Away. It's such a little thing but it occasionally builds up to the BIGGEST DEAL ON EARTH AND WHY WON'T YOU JUST PUT IT AWAY?

    1. The condiment of contention! Hahaha! Yes! It is always something that seems so small...but it gets bigger and more important as time goes on!

  4. Is there no way to turn if off so that it looks good, but doesn't actually work as a clock? That would seem to be a good compromise. But I am sure if it could turn off, then you wouldn't have such a good example for us...

    1. There is, but Nick has been waiting so long for this clock that for him it is incomplete without the dings. He's put a towel in there to muffle it and it is better.

      And if you'd like some help on a completely different topic, I'm happy to assist you. :) We've fought about the most ridiculous stuff imaginable.


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