Fight Week: Making Up

Fight Week: Making Up

In the back of my head, during pretty much every fight I have, there’s a part of me thinking: “This is going to be great when we finally get it resolved.”

Every fight I have with my wife, I mean.

We don’t like to fight, even though you’d think so if you were our wall-sharing neighbors. But we do like to make up, which you’d know if you were our wall-sharing neighbors.

Ahem.

We fight about the typical things: bills, insurance, spending habits, what we can afford, our credit card. It’s pretty much all about money. Sometimes we’ll fight about other stuff, but cash and what to do with our general lack of it is the big one.

We’re doing OK, as far as people do—especially when you compare us to most of the rest of the world. But what we’ve got coming in determines who of us works and how often, and where we live, and what we eat—and all that stuff may sound like what we’re fighting about, but underlying all of it is the bottom line.

But under even that is the understanding that this fight will be temporary—much, much, much shorter than my marriage to this amazing woman. On the geologic scale of our relationship, one fight isn’t even the Holocene. It’s the complete series of Firefly compared to an epoch. Except Firefly is awesome, and fighting isn’t.

I got lost somewhere in that metaphor. Actually, I got lost somewhere in this overall post.

My point is that we’ll work the money stuff out. And we’ll get through our communication issues. Because we told each other we would more than nine years ago. We told each other we’d keep working at this—even the hard stuff.

So after a fight—even a big one—we like to remember that commitment. And if we’re good at fighting, we’re really good at making up.

On a totally unrelated topic, prostates and testicles are awesome, don’t you think? (Yes, this is unrelated.) But cancer isn’t awesome at all. Check out what’s happening on my face this Movember.

And check out Firefly if you haven’t seen it.

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?