Fight Week: Highly Logical

Fight Week: Highly Logical

I’ve really, honestly, in real life ended a fight with my wife by saying this: “And that proves why you should no longer be angry.”

Actually, I’ve tried ending a fight by saying that. Not surprisingly, those words didn’t go over well. In fact, they just made things worse.

Which I didn’t understand. OK, OK. If I’m being honest, I’ll admit that I still kinda don’t understand.

Though I am not afraid to let my emotions show, my most logical self is the one who tends to show up during an argument. This is the self who really focuses on word choice. Who demands precision. Who will walk my verbal sparring partner (aka spouse) from Point A, through Point B, to Point C in an effort to convince her that her tears or anger or disappointment have no factual foundation.

“See, Honey?” I’ll say. “You only thought that was what happened. But it didn’t really! All that frustration was over nothing!”

I also try this on my children: my volatile 6-year-old and my clingy 4-year-old. Because little kids are ready to listen to reason when they’re convinced their sibling is getting the bigger scoop of mint chip.

Not surprisingly, my wife feels I come across as smug and condescending when we’re having a disagreement. I get that, sure. But when I state, “No, I’m not being condescending at all!”—because in my heart, I know my motivation for my words is not condescension, but enlightenment, which is really what counts, right?—I’m still a bit baffled when she doesn’t immediately agree with me and do an immediate emotional 180.

This isn’t to say that I don’t get emotional when we fight—or at other times—but when I do, I have a grounded, empirical reason for it.

I’m learning, though—I’m starting to learn—that not everybody thinks the way I do. It only took me 18 years of living with my parents, six or seven years of living with roommates, and nine years of living with my wife—six of those with an increasing number of children—to begin to learn that there are more world views in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in my philosophy.

So I’m working on listening: to my wife, to my kids, to everyone around me who just doesn’t get it the way I do. Because maybe my belief that I don’t always have to be right—I just am—is wrong.

My wife suggested that I end this post by asking, “What are you wrong about?” But she doesn’t get that people won’t want to answer that, at least not on my blog. Right?

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19 thoughts on “Fight Week: Highly Logical

  1. Mikelly says:

    “This isn’t to say that I don’t get emotional when we fight—or at other times—but when I do, I have a grounded, empirical reason for it.”

    You’re real grounded, as long as you’re on the ground. “This isn’t to say that I don’t get emotional when we flight,” it should say =P I seem to remember having a conversation with you about flying that quickly ended in you saying something along the lines of, “logic has nothing to do with this!”

    I’VE GOT YOUR BACK, SARAH.

  2. the Farmy says:

    I completely relate to you in this situation. Emotions are really only signposts to the truth that is able to be found.
    But as much as I know, in the midst of a storm, that the wind, surge and spray could be avoided or we could go shelter away; it is better to ride the waves than to duck or run.

  3. nealcall says:

    Totally connect with this. One of my wife’s greatest pet peeves is when, in the midst of a discussion (argument), I start trying to correct her word choice because I just can’t accept the “gist” of what she’s saying until I’m comfortable with every word in her sentence. I fluctuate between accepting that I might have some kind of neurosis, and exclaiming desperately, “but words have MEANING! Don’t devalue that!”

    I get MORE clinical, MORE calm when placed in conflict. It’s my coping mechanism. And it drives my wife crazy, because I just can’t match the level of her emotion without completely losing control. But “the Farmy”‘s advice rings true for me – the more I try to engage outside of my tidy little bubble, the better it usually goes for us.

    • jesteram says:

      Just tell me that you’ve argued, “That may have been what you *meant* but it’s not what you *said*,” and we will be fighting the same fights, and our wives should talk.

      • nealcall says:

        For efficiency’s sake, it seems we should schedule joint arguments. Why have both of us arguing the same thing at different times when just one of us could be saying all the necessary dumb things to two wives at once? You take this week, I’ll take next week.

        • Mrs. Shallows says:

          I need to have coffee (or maybe drinks) with your wife! Sounds like we have a lot in common!

          • llcall says:

            My husband Neal has been telling me I should check out this new writer he’s discovered, but I’m not sure this was a good first encounter since now I want to fight with you (or kick you, either one). A better idea than joint arguments: you guys argue and pat each other on the back for your word choice and your wife and I can go have lunch!

  4. Lara says:

    Ya, arguing a person out of their emotions is never gonna work. And yet, we all try to do it anyway. I’ve been on both ends of this equation. Ugh.

  5. Mark Parsons says:

    Great post. Similar methodology here…with about the same results. (I just pray that at those times, my inner Yoda will slap me upside the head and say, “Listen you should more!”, and save me from myself… ha!)

  6. I usually say “I’m sorry you feel that way” rather than apologizing. My wife has caught on. I need a new Get Out of Jail Free card.

    • jesteram says:

      Heh, yeah. I wish I could say I’ve never said “I’m sorry” and then kept going by adding a “you” and then a bunch more words that turn what could have been an actual apology into a not-so-subtle jab at it being her fault we’re having an argument at all—because I’m fine!

  7. kharking says:

    Our kids are screwed. Both my husband and I do this. It makes arguments really, really long and involves consulting dictionaries to settle the subsequent argument about whether the word that you used actually means what you think it did and whether it truly describes the situation or emotion or just clouds the issue with tagalong implications or not. So does not work with a melting down 3 year old. And trying to work through something that is really an issue of emotional communication? Still working on that one.

  8. bikerchick57 says:

    Love the Spock drawing and love your posts. I’ll be back to read more.

  9. sparrow says:

    Ha. Thanks for sharing. Just had a similar fight with my other half this morning appreciate your funny post 🙂 I’m going to follow your blog now.

  10. […] frustrating now as an adult with three children. And it doesn’t at all call to mind my own preoccupation with words and precision in using them when my wife and I fight. Right, readers? Right? […]

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