I read a lot about the sweary parents. The parents who can place a well-timed F bomb when loading the dishwasher, or finding a code brown up your child’s back, or while moving a car seat. I see memes about them online, how they find each other. And in so many ways, I want to be one of you. I want to hang out and drop F bombs about my kids too, but the problem is, my wife is not a fan of swearing. Not at all. In fact, she finds it embarrassing when I swear. And trust me, I’m good at it.
Or… at least I was.
When we first met 15 years ago, I was a gold medal F bomb master. It was my noun, adjective, verb… it was all parts of my speech. And you know what? It didn’t bother her so much back then. Or perhaps it did, but she didn’t mention it because we were dating.
But now… well, if you notice, I’m even editing my swearing in the article. That’s how far I’ve come. And I know, it’s ironic. I’m writing an essay about how I am a swearing parent, and my wife isn’t, and I’m giving you the made-for-TV edit.
Mel also finds it embarrassing when I swear in my articles. In fact, a few years ago I wrote “f%$K” in an article. Just like that, with the edited letters. The editor changed it to the real word, Mel found it, and… well, let’s just say she was not happy. I ended up emailing the editor and asking her to change it.
Was that annoying for the editor? I’m sure.
Did she roll her eyes? I bet she did.
Did I sound like prude? Probably.
Are there people reading this right now that think, “this guys wife sounds like a total prude?” Most definitely.
But you know what? I don’t care.
Because if you are focusing on that, then you are missing the point.
Here’s the thing… every time I step on a Lego, every time I bump an elbow, every time I walk into the bathroom and find it smeared with toddler poop, I swear in my head. Sometimes I swear for real, but mostly in my head. And regardless of the situation, if it comes out of my mouth, Mel calls me on it. In fact, it’s so common that now my kids call me on it.
And, because of that, I have gotten way better. In fact, I never realized that swearing could be an addiction, but it was for me.
I don’t really understand why Mel dislikes swearing so much, but she seems to view it like some people look at smoking. She sees it as a nasty habit, and she’d like to see me at my best. And even though swearing might not be the most socially acceptable habit, that isn’t why I try not to swear anymore.
The reason is because Mel asked me too. Not that I do everything my wife asks of me. I don’t want everyone reading this to think I’m a tool. I still pull a number of irritating and clichéd husband acts. The thing is, if something honestly bothers the person you love to the point of embarrassment, whether that be drinking, smoking, leaving the toilet seat up, not shutting the door when you pee, or swearing, then you might want to stop for a moment and evaluate your behavior. Reflect on who you are and who your partner wants you to be, and maybe give it a rest.
Particularly if it’s something as simple as swearing.
I know that sometimes love looks like flowers. Sometimes it looks like sex. Sometimes it looks like dates, kisses, long embraces, and candle lit dinners. But other times, it looks like changing who you are, just a little bit, to accommodate the person you love.
Do I find anything wrong with swearing? No. It doesn’t offend me. But I love my wife. 100% I do. And so, I have changed. She’s done the same for me, mind you. Everyone does. This is the reality of compromise.
So every time I swear, I bite my tongue. I apologize. I try not to let it slip out in the first place. I do it for her, and honestly, that’s all the motivation I need.
Of course, this is just my opinion, and how I choose to approach my marriage. It’s also okay to express your autonomy if you wish — maybe even with a well-placed F bomb.