2-3 Squares’ll Do Ya
There’s no denying that relationships can be messy sometimes. Regardless of how solid the relationship is or how well you know each other, you’re going to have disagreements. No matter how long you’ve been together, you’re going to argue about things… most of which, if you really think about it, are silly and petty.
Silly arguments with my husband
One of the silliest arguments I’ve had with my husband is over whether or not salt cooks down. I don’t salt food a whole lot during the cooking process because I know that my salt needs are greater than his, due to the fact that I don’t have a colon. He claims that you’re supposed to salt things at the end so that it doesn’t “cook out” of it… Um, it’s not water or wine, dear. Salt doesn’t cook out of it. Boy that was a vicious argument. We never really came to an understanding; instead, we agreed to disagree.
Relationships are more complicated with chronic illness
So yeah, petty arguments happen in every normal, average, and even fantastic relationships. You can’t get around it. But when you add a chronic illness, your relationship automatically gets more complicated (to say the least!). Here are a few things I never thought I’d argue with my husband about…
Arguments about my bowel habits
I’ve had ulcerative colitis since before we got married, so Dave’s seen me during my darkest, sickest hours. During my worst flareup, he was “helping” me monitor my bowel movements. As if I needed it. After every visit to the bathroom, he would say, “Well…?”
“Well, what?” I asked.
“How was it?” he persisted.
“Fine? How was the consistency? Did you see blood? What did it look like?”
“Same ole, same ole. Still flaring.”
“What are you hiding from me?” he demanded.
“Nothing! Can’t I go to the bathroom in peace… without you asking how it was EVERY SINGLE TIME?”
This sparked a horrible argument about my bowel habits. Like, seriously? It’s bad enough that I have to deal with it, but you want me to rehash it all in detail… Thanks.
When my husband judges my food choices
Crohn’s and UC patients HATE conversations about food. Every patient knows how important it is to eat as healthy as possible. But doing so is difficult. And trigger foods vary from patient to patient. When I’m really ill, there are days I can only eat things like macaroni or mashed potatoes. I can’t tell you how many times my husband fussed at me and told me that I wasn’t doing a very good job of eating healthy.
“Eating all those starches isn’t good for you!”
“Uh, it is if I don’t want to anger my colon!” (This was obviously back when I had a colon.)
My j-pouch is messy
I hate a dirty toilet. Living with IBD, ostomy or j-pouch, it kind of becomes the norm if you don’t keep on top of things. I can clean my toilet one day, and the very next time I go to the bathroom, my j-pouch makes an awful mess. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother. Now, having an infant, housework is even more difficult. One day, during a particularly hard few weeks of parenting, my husband (who was also having a hard time) said, “Our toilets are disgusting!”
My eyes welled up with tears because I knew that dirty toilets were mostly my fault. J-pouches are SO messy. We really got into it that day and I blurted out, “I’M SORRY MY BOWELS AREN’T NORMAL! I can’t help the awful mess it makes!”
Recent argument over toilet paper
Our most recent insane argument was over toilet paper. Anyone with IBD will know that toilet paper is a commodity. If you don’t have it, you’re in trouble. And I go through a lot of it. My husband noticed the quickly dwindling toilet paper and he said, “Boy, you really use a lot of it.”
“Uh, yeah, because my j-pouch makes an awful mess! It’s difficult to keep one’s bottom clean…”
“Darling, one or two squares’ll do you.”
“Nope, not me. You don’t understand the nature of a j-pouch,” I informed him.
“One. Or. Two. Squares. Will. Do. You,” he said flatly, as if the matter was settled.
“No, sweetheart. You don’t get it. You couldn’t possibly.”
And so, we got into an argument over how much toilet paper should be used in a single setting. As though we were comparing apples to apples.
Like I said, relationships can be messy. Living with a chronic illness definitely complicates things. But it takes two committed people (fallen, broken and imperfect as they are), to make a relationship work. Keeping open, honest communication helps. We all have our problems, and disagreements sometimes, but if you’re committed to making things work, you don’t have to worry about the petty disagreements. Problems will only grow in your relationship as you work through them. My husband and I have had plenty of arguments during the course of our marriage (especially during the darkest hours of my disease), but we have an open, honest relationship and truly seek to keep the lines of communication going. And we always come to an understanding. He’s a good man. He has his faults… but again, so do I. We balance each other out. And I’m sure there will be plenty more petty arguments in the future.
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