Last night was Meatless Monday, and so The Cheerleader I’m Married To and I decided that instead of doing our regular walk-and-talk thing that we usually do for Meatless Monday, we’d try something a little different. He had emailed me earlier in the day to say that he was feeling angry about something, but wasn’t sure how he could bring it up with me without making me mad. ‘Fair enough’, I thought, so how do we get around this? Well, really, there’s only one way: Bitch Hat.

We created a game called Bitch Hat last night. It’s a fairly simple concept, and one that I think we’ll be employing every so often. First things first, we laid some ground rules: We made it a safe space where either one of us could say anything we liked without fear of reprisal from the other person; there was to be no defending or debating, this was solely about bitching and venting; nothing was off limits; and we’d do a check-in at the end to make sure that we were both doing ok, and got the chance to talk things out, if need be. Then, we got a hat.

In it we put in slips of paper with random topics on them like: The House, Chores, Family, Money, and then threw in a couple ‘Wild Cards’, as a catch-all for anything we may have missed with our chosen slips. Then we ordered a pizza, and split a beer (we both believed that being intoxicated would be a bad idea, but one simply can’t have pizza without beer). Then we sat down on the couch, and I pulled out the first slip of paper, and started bitching about the topic it presented me with. When I was done, it was The Cheerleader I’m Married To‘s turn. And so on, and so on, until all the slips of paper were gone.

The ‘game’ lasted for about 4 hours, and during that time I never once felt angry, no matter what was said. I was shocked at a couple of things, yes, and The Cheerleader I’m Married To was as well, but we weren’t angry. We had created an atmosphere where we could hear what the other person said, respect their opinion, and move on. It was SO cool! I didn’t know how it would go, and to be honest I was certain that I’d take offense at things and get all snitty and mad. But that didn’t happen.

The Cheerleader I’m Married To and I both come from what is termed “broken homes”, where both our parents are divorced. It wasn’t until I met The Cheerleader I’m Married To that I realized just how sad that title is. “Broken home”. I’d actually say it’s more appropriate to call them “Strengthened Homes”. We both watched our parents deal with divorce, and we learned a lot from that. We watched as our mothers took on a double role of strength, dignity, and love. And we learned even more from that. We learned that things will get better, and that we have the power to affect our fates, and that no matter what, we can face anything head on, and win or lose, we’ll make it through. And we learned, most importantly, how to communicate. How to talk to friend or foe, how to ask for what you want, how to demand the things you need.

I believe that The Cheerleader I’m Married To and I communicate pretty well, but we both know that we can always communicate better (who can’t, right?). And I think that Bitch Hat is a really cool way to just… communicate differently. It’s not something that we’ll be using on a regular basis, but I think it’s nice to have Bitch Hat in our proverbial back pockets, to pull out when we need an overhaul.

So, I feel pretty darn good today. I feel heard, and I feel that I understand a bit more of what concerns The Cheerleader I’m Married To. Plus, I also got to spend 4 hours staring at my devilishly handsome husband last night, so that helps.

Happy Tuesday, all!