04/28/2006 08:35 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

When It Isn't Smooth Sailing

Is any relationship harder than marriage? I am sitting here mulling this over because my husband and I had a little tiff a few days ago. OK, not a little tiff. A big one. He is mad at me. I hurt his feelings. He hurt mine. And now we're as intransigent in our positions as Rummy is about stepping down as Secretary of Defense.

We were in the midst of talking about our adorable but incredibly manipulative teenage son. Is that redundant? Anyway, the teenager had made plans without consulting me. Had arranged to go somewhere with some kid I don't know. This kid was probably perfectly well behaved, responsible, but we've been having a few trust issues with our son. Lying, things like that. I constantly feel like I'm the Road Runner in pursuit of Bugs Bunny and looking up to see the anvil screaming down on my head.

So I was upset. I wanted to figure out some clearly defined limits for our son. I felt we needed a new game plan. And my husband was trying to get at my feelings. As in, but WHY are you worried about him going off in a car with a complete stranger? You know you can't control him. What is this really about?

That would have been fine, but then he had to say, May I offer a suggestion? In a tone that seemed slightly condescending and Dr. Phil-ish. If there's anything that makes me crazy it's being talked down to like a toddler. The way Bush does every time he gives another speech. You need to un-drrr-STAAND!

I did not want a suggestion about how better to approach our son. I did not want to talk about my feelings. What I wanted was to fix the problem. Talk about role reversal. So then I got horribly frustrated because I felt he wasn't listening to me. That he was more intent on his own agenda. And now we're trying to get back to the negotiating table. Last night I bought him a package of his favorite cookies. A peace gesture. I can see we're not there yet, though.

He didn't eat a single one.