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Blaming Your Spouse

December 5, 2021 | by Emuna Braverman

How many times do we blame our spouses for frustrating situations over which they have no control?

How many of you find travelling stressful, especially when it involves airports, security lines, taking off your shoes, and, now, masks and other COVID protocols? (Is there anyone who actually didn’t raise their hand?!) My husband and I are certainly no exception to this rule, no matter how much we like to pretend otherwise. We can usually maintain our cool despite the stressors by focusing on the upcoming trip and doing a lot of deep breathing(!)

We were doing okay (or at least I was and very proud of myself I might say) – until recently. Until everything didn’t go as smoothly as we would like (and I’m talking about the trivial things!) We printed our boarding passes at our hotel. “Great, we got ‘pre-check’ this time,” my husband exalted, that designation having been missing on our outward-bound tickets Pre-check (like global entry for international travel) is the magic word for us since it speeds our way through the lines and other tedium of travel. In the midst of this excitement (I did say we’re talking about trivial things, right?) we failed to check my boarding pass to make sure it had an identical marking.

We arrived at the line for security and I was sent in the opposite direction. My husband had already gone ahead, never imagining (never looking!) I wasn’t right behind. That was just the beginning of our (okay again, minor) challenges. For some reason, when I presented my ID and boarding pass the fancy new machine kept spitting out my ID. I was sent back to the airline ticketing counter, a far cry from where I was. Meanwhile my husband was finished with security and on his way to the gate! I called him on the verge of hysteria.

The ticket agent was very helpful and printed a new boarding pass (although no one really knows what was wrong with the first one) and the TSA security allowed me to march right up to the front of the line. They were also very kind and sympathetic and I passed through security and made it to the gate with time to spare.

But I was angry with my husband. Why hadn’t he checked both boarding passes? Why hadn’t he looked to see if I was right behind him? Why hadn’t he come back when he saw I wasn’t? I felt let down, abandoned. All sorts of frustrations were spinning through my head and the hysteria was returning. I tried to calm myself down so I didn’t make a scene at our gate.

But that wasn’t really the reason. Even amidst my frustration I knew it wasn’t his fault. Had I been the one who printed them, I probably wouldn’t have checked his boarding pass once I checked mine. I also would have sailed through security assuming he was right behind me. And I would have felt that the hassle of trying to go backwards through security was probably not worth it. I would have relied on the fact that he is a competent adult and trusted him to figure it out on his own. (Wouldn’t I want him to think the same of me?) He was in no way to blame.

I took a slightly circuitous route to our gate until that idea had fully settled itself in my head and I could greet him with relief and pleasure instead of frustration.

We were on our way back from a lovely (if brief) vacation and I didn’t want to mar it. But it made me wonder how many times we blame our spouses for frustrating situations over which they have no control, how often we make them bear the burden of challenges that have nothing to do with them.

I was really grateful that I was able to “get a grip” before saying or doing anything that would be (even slightly) damaging to our relationship. And I realized anew how important it is not to look for someone to blame when things don’t go our way (our travel agent was next on the list!).

Thank God I didn’t make a foolish mistake and blame my husband for a minor snafu that was no one’s fault, some (all too common) glitch in the technology.


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