I was recently engaged in a telephone call with my very best friend who moved away to Raleigh to get married….She is a newlywed. As my friend shared her interesting adventures as a new wife, she haphazardly mentioned to me that she sits in the closet when her husband pisses her off. Then she proceeds to tell me about… wait, back it up. Did you say what I think you said? In the inquisitive words of Sidney Shaw, “Brown sugar? Break that down for me.”
This friend confessed (although it wasn’t at all a confession from her viewpoint) when her brand new husband starts to get on her nerves, she retreats to her beautifully constructed walk-in closet. To pick out his burial outfit? To grab “the box” in the back of the closet? Girl, for what? She goes in there for a time out – a “grown-woman-who-works-every-day-has-two-degrees-and-is-currently-cranking-out-her-dissertation” time out.
As newlyweds, I understand they are still in that “discovery and exploratory” phase. They are discovering that [spouse] is actually going show up to the residence every single day after work. Literally, everyday they’re right there, welcomed or unwelcomed, wearing the same grin that is becoming less captivating and more nauseating. The frequency of this “showing up” has caused them to explore opportunities to “get away.” Grant it, this is somewhat of an exaggeration and no attempt to portray my friend as an unhappy wife. Please understand that she is an only child. Sharing her space is a huge challenge. This “showing up” is only one of the things we discuss in good fun, all while laughing. “Girl, he is already pulling in the driveway and its only 5:14 p.m. Ugh!”
Demonstrative of my friend’s creativity and strong desire to make their marriage last forever and everrrr, she has created this secret dwelling. I’ve not seen the closet but it’s safe to assume that “walk-in” means walk-in, turn around, and walk out— not Kimora Lee Simmons-Hounsou’s walk-in, vacation and get comfy situation. Be that as it may, this closet holds the magic. It is where she stores her Marriage Survivor Kit. No lie. The “kit” includes an old school metal folding chair from church, an iPod, a magazine, and headphones. When crap hits the fan, she retreats to her closet, unfolds the chair, plops her butt down, pulls out her iPod, breathes deeply, and listens to 5-7 minutes of good music.
Of course, I had to inquire:
Me: How does Husband feel about this closet situation?
Friend: He doesn’t know.
Me: He doesn’t know?!
Friend: Girl, we are talking about Husband. He’s not paying attention to anything in this closet.
Me: You don’t think he has noticed the chair?
Friend: Maybe. Maybe not. If he has, he certainly hasn’t thought anything of it. I keep the other items in a little box that I’m sure he hasn’t noticed.
Me: (Single Girl) (mentally): Friend has lost her marbles. Time out for a grown woman? O HELL NO! In her closet?! Humph. I need to ponder this.
Looking back on the marriages I observed as a child, I vividly remember observing arguments – verbal attacks that were nothing less than abusive. Men attacking women but mostly women verbally assaulting men. Sadly, many of those marriages cease to exist. I wonder why no one ever thought to take a time out. They had a closet, owned a chair and a cassette player. I’m not suggesting that the Marriage Survivor Kit would have salvaged any of those marriages. Nor am I suggesting that women keep their mouths shut or that spouses avoid their problems by running into a closet or even hopping into a car. However, I admire my friend’s creative genius. More than the closet, I admire the intent of the closet. Words are still the only things that can never be retracted from a person’s heart. Once you put them out there, they are there. Words are still the greatest fuel to a fire. Words are still the precursor to most schoolyard fights. In intense moments, the most hurtful words are often the only words that come to mind.
As trivial as it may sound, the closet has all the makings of healthy combat.