Show of hands: Who has a spouse who has committed an Act of Stupid so incredible that you want to scream and yell like a stark raving lunatic?
Show of hands: Who has BEEN the spouse to commit the Act of Stupid?
I can raise my hand to both.
Let’s face it: in the day to day grind of raising kids, pursuing our careers and maintaining our relationships, stupid mistakes abound daily (and in my case: multiple times a day). For our purposes here, though, an Act of Stupid is not defined as your Run of the Mill Stupid Act. It’s not the “forgetting to pick up milk” stupid, the “I forgot to call about the insurance bill stupid” or the “I forgot to call because I’m late for dinner for the third night in a row” stupid. The Act of Stupid to which I refer is the “Honey, I kind of messed up big time and it may significantly affect our bank account” stupid or the “You might need to sit down” stupid. This Act of Stupid represents a challenge to couples everywhere and, I suspect, job security for marriage counselors far and wide.
My Act of Stupid happened just before Fruit Loop #1 was born and is still just as humiliating now as it was 15 years ago: I was fired from a job. For writing an email about a coworker. And that email got back to my boss. I didn’t get fired for my actual job performance so much as unprofessional behavior. I got fired because I had committed a gargantuan Act of Stupid. And then I had to go home and tell my husband.
What made my Act of Stupid so completely humiliating, was that, at the time, I was the primary breadwinner. My husband was finishing his residency and my salary was what we counted on to make ends meet. And, to add insult to injury, we had our first Fruit Loop on the way. Talk about panic mode. And, frankly, few things are more embarrassing than having to admit to your spouse that, uhm, you wrote an email and uhm, you kind of got fired for it. Yeah. It was awesome.
To my husband’s credit, he forgave my Act of Stupid almost immediately. Did our financial situation suck afterwards? Yep. Was my ego bruised for months? Certainly. Did I ever write an email about anyone ever again? Nope. (Interestingly, though, I did start a blog and this irony is NOT lost on me….but, I digress). Will I be forever grateful that my husband forgave my Act of Stupid? Abso-freaking-loutely. Will I ever commit another Act of Stupid? Probably (although, hopefully, not knowingly).
A few years ago, my husband committed his own Act of Stupid and it really, really made me want to rant like a stark raving lunatic. I mean, like, REALLY REALLY. For those of you who follow my Facebook page (follow me here!), you will recall my post regarding having to pick the Hubby up at Pocono Raceway because he “broke” his car while driving it at a high rate of speed during a driving school event. And by “broke”, I mean, he blew the transmission and clutch of his DAILY DRIVER and NOT a car that’s intended only for racing. It cost us some serious green to have it fixed and though the car dealership was able to put his Humpty Dumpty transmission together again, it wasn’t cheap. And it was really stupid. Like stooooooopid.
Should he have had his car on the track? Depends on which one of us you ask (you can guess which side I fall on…). Was it an Act of Stupid? Absolutely. Am I going to hold it over his head for the rest of his natural life? Weeeeelll, no. As much as I wanted to really lay into him about the stupidity, I recall only too well the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I had to tell him about being fired. To hear him say, “We’ll make it work” rather than “How stupid can you be?!” was gratefully appreciated. And, since being married to him means accepting that his Acts of Stupid will almost always be related to car mishaps (read about that here!), I can only hope I did the same for him. However, I do reserve the right to *mention* this Act of Stupid once or twice the next time he plans on attending a driving school.
Everyone, if they are being honest, has an Act of Stupid in their past. I have friends whose husbands have done things that have made me drop my jaw and burst out laughing at the absolute stupid. My brothers have story upon story of Acts of Stupid dating back to high school (just ask one of them about the now infamous “Braveheart Incident”). And, my college friends and I have a night we’ll always remember at Penn State as “One of The Stupidest Nights Ever”. Everyone, at one time or another, has done something colossally stupid and has had to ask for forgiveness. And then beg not to be laughed at for our stupidity.
If you are in a relationship with someone long enough, eventually, you will either commit the Act of Stupid or you will be the recipient of it. It’s just the way the law of averages works. What’s important in reacting to the Act of Stupid is that you remember that someday, it could be you who is looking at your spouse and asking for forgiveness. And, in my husband’s case, that request for forgiveness came with a sigh and a “this is totally going in your blog, isn’t it?” Sorry, honey, but this was too good to pass up….but, ah, don’t tell my boss, okay?