Anyone who’s been in a relationship for any amount of time knows that fights happen. They just do. Some, well, they’re doozies — and Kristen Bell’s worst fight with Dax Shepard definitely qualifies, by her telling. The actress just recounted a “pretty incredible” argument she once had with her husband, as well as the surprising way their subsequent three-day, non-verbal, couple’s Cold War came to an end. Spoiler alert? It might be the best resolution to marital discord ever, and it’s probably not what you think.
Bell opened up about her marriage during a visit to the Life Is Short with Justin Long podcast on Tuesday. There, she got real about how sometimes being married means not liking your partner very much. “We had this pretty incredible fight recently. Incredible. I mean like top of the lungs screaming,” she admitted.
As it turns out, the reason they got into this intense tiff is pretty damn relatable. “It was about the things around the house that I felt I needed help with. We have a relationship where you are supposed to be able to say I need your help with this.” So, Bell left Shepard a quick note asking him to do a few little things around the house. She left for work, came back Sunday, everything seemed fine. But was it? Nope.
“Monday night we’re laying in bed and… he goes, ‘When you leave me notes, yeah, I feel really controlled,’ and he launched into how he felt about it,” Bell explained. Before they knew it, they had both “blacked out and got into a fight.” The details are fuzzy, but Bell remembers it was “a lot of volume, a lot of harsh words being thrown around, and it was an angry, angry fight about how nobody does anything for anybody else.”
She slept in a different room, and thus commenced three days of not speaking (unless it was to communicate about the needs of their daughters, Lincoln, 6, and Delta, 5).
At this point, do you feel seen? Because I feel seen. As someone who has been married for roughly one million years (real-time: more than a decade), I am well-versed in this type of argument. You try not to nag your significant other because, I mean, no one really wants to be the nag. You do your best, as a wife and mom, not to bother anyone and take as much as you can on yourself. But sometimes, when you do need help and are honest about that, it makes your partner feel that perhaps you’re implying they don’t contribute enough.
And that occasionally leads to arguments. Fortunately, they aren’t all the black-out-style fights that Bell and Shepard recently experienced. In fact, those are (hopefully) few and far between. They do happen, though, and sometimes they’re exactly what needed to happen in order to get past whatever it is you were arguing about in the first place.
Case in point? Bell told Long, “We never talked about that fight, ever, but I will say this: Every single thing that I have needed done or thought, ‘I’d want help with this,’ since that fight, he has been ahead of. I couldn’t complain about him if I tried right now.”
Admittedly, though, Bell realized how sorry Shepard was shortly after the fight went down. She had taken their daughters to a dog café and video-chatted her husband to show him a rescue dog named Frank they’d all fallen in love with. To her surprise, Shepard — who is allergic to dogs — was receptive to another furry family member.
“I didn’t get an apology, but I got a dog! This is so much better than an apology,” she said. And, um, I’m inclined to agree. I’m also inclined to accidentally email this article to my husband so he knows how to make amends the next time we verbally spar over the mountain of laundry in our mudroom. Oops! Sent.