I can easily find the humor in most situations. The exception to this rule (aren’t there always exceptions to rules?) is when it involves me interpreting my hubby’s behavior as being purpose-driven. Hands down, I would rather laugh than carry a grudge, but in the midst of a frustrating event, the mere mention that “I will laugh about this someday” makes me want to inflict bodily harm upon the person who dared to utter such ridiculous words.
Now, let me explain what I mean by “purpose-driven” behavior. It is something that my husband does (or in some cases, doesn’t do) that drives me nuts, and I feel like he’s doing it on purpose (which may or may not be the case.) I won’t keep you in the dark (for too long, at least) about what has sparked my thoughts on this subject. Next week, I will explain the relationship between laundry and lunches in our house, and how that relationship messes with the relationship between my husband and me.
I recognized five stages that I went through before I was able to see the humor in, and subsequently laugh about, our situation.
Stage 1 – Frustration
This is the stage where the annoying behavior is first suspected to be intentional, with the dual purpose to (1) irritate; and/or (2) get them out of doing something
Stage 2 – Anger
Upon suspecting that the aggravation is intentional, anger sets in. Like a pot of water on a stove, anger simmers until it boils, spilling over the edge of the pot. Patience wears thin. If the other person is smart, they will not ask if it’s that time of month. (If this happens, stage 5 will not.)
Stage 3 – Revenge
Revenge is the boiling water that spills over the pot (to carry the metaphor forward.) By returning the aggravation, it can provide some (momentary) relief. This stage can be skipped entirely, but if not, here’s where things can get ugly. It can also shed light on the childish degeneration of the situation, which paves the way for stage 4.
Stage 4 – Acceptance
In this stage, the person’s behavior is either accepted for what it is, or the issue is discussed and the person is persuaded to change. (Note: In my experience, usually the behavior is accepted. The success rate of the ‘change’ option is low. If you are successful in persuasion to change, please, please share your tips. If you must write a book and sell it to me, name your price. Seriously.)
Stage 5 – Laughter
If both parties (and the relationship) have survived the previous four stages, then stage 5 is a welcome release of tension. This is where one can finally look back on the situation and glimpse at least some of the humor that friends and family have seen all along. This stage lasts until (1) the aggravating behavior returns, or (2) a new aggravating behavior is introduced.
Have you experienced these stages? Do you have any to add?