Okay, the title of this post is just a little bit over dramatic. My husband and I are not fighting (not even close to it). However, you can pretty much always improve on a relationship, even – maybe especially- a marriage, and I am here to tell you right now that South Park showed my husband something that I have been trying to explain for the last nearly six years, and not only did they explain it well, but he actually got the message and put it into practice the next time the situation arose (which happened to be the very next day.)
To recap: South Park has a “couple” that are two 8/9 year olds named Tweek and Craig. Ignore the fact that they’re 8/9 year olds, because they tackled a very real, adult issue: anxiety. Tweek (as his name implies) is a very high strung little boy and very prone to anxiety. For most of the episode”Put It Down” (Season 21, Episode 2) Craig is attempting to “fix” the issue or distract Tweek from his anxiety. Eventually though, through Tweek’s reactions and another character’s intervention in another issue, Craig realizes that sometimes, people just need help processing their emotions – not a solution. And the next time he’s faced with Tweek’s anxiety, he does exactly that, and it helps.
In the show, it helped so instantaneously that it almost seemed a farce. But I did point out to my husband that it had a good point. We joked about it a little, and set the topic aside.
About 18 hours later, I am sitting with Baby Girl in my lap, nearly in tears because she’s refusing a nap, again, after me not getting great sleep the night before. He is doing his usual thing, trying to come up with solutions. I’m snapping at him because I’m not prepared to think logically about the situation. Then, suddenly, he switches gears.
Granted, he quoted exactly what Craig had said, which was more funny than strictly helpful, but it got me to crack a smile – and the smile encouraged him to continue questioning me about my emotions. I calmed down pretty fast – apparently it wasn’t so farcical after all – and then we started talking about solutions, both short term and long term. I don’t think there are any easy answers, but at least when we talked about it, I was able to consider the solutions he was presenting.
If you suffer from anxiety or know someone who does, please consider trying this approach to work through the initial anxiety. It might help you reach a calmer, more thoughtful state faster.