Marriage: Why Can't I Walk Away From Dumb Arguments?
"This is going to be a long marriage."
My girlfriend related this quote to me, from her lips to her husband's ears. However, it was a threat, not a sweet affirmation one might infer from her faith in their longevity. More of a, "You will feel every minute of our union, mister."
This story came in the context of my relaying an exchange between my husband, Anson, and myself from the night before. We got into an argument. And today, the day after, I'm still feeling slighted. It was serious, too. A serious, escalated, and eventually mean-spirited row, with Anson stomping down the stairs to bed and me staying up to watch a marathon of Veronica Mars episodes until I was certain he was asleep so I wouldn't have to say even one more word to him. (Sidenote: I love Veronica Mars. How and why did it get cancelled after 3 seasons, when many atrocities go on season after painful season? I stand here, baffled. It's on Netflix Instant Play for you folks who are looking to dig into a great series.)
The substance of my argument with my beloved? It was over how to hand-wash dishes. He has a technique, I have a different one. Apparently they cannot co-exist under one roof. My girlfriend's argument with her husband resulting in her threat to make the marriage feel very, very looooooong? That was over how to fold shirts. Serious issues, these.
Here's the truth: I do not actually believe that there is one right way to hand-wash dishes. There is probably more than one way to fold a shirt. I imagine as long as the result is a clean dish, and a shirt isn't hiding, crumpled into a ball in the dresser corner, how you get there is probably pretty unimportant. However, I am the mess of a person who, if challenged with even a hint of mean-spiritedness, will dig into my position, collecting facts and anecdotes from my brain and try to organize them for attack when my opponent takes a breath. I enjoy the occasional one-two punch of I am correct and you are wrong when I detect that someone is condescending, pandering or outright being a sassy-pants to me. Calling my dishwashing technique "back-ass-wards?" Well, thems are just fightin' words. And so.
I suppose I just have to wonder, in the sobering light of mid-morning, if there is such a thing as the ability to walk away from these dumb dumb arguments. While engaged in these, I know how stupid it all is, how meaningless and that there will not actually be a medals ceremony at the end of it all, with me walking away with a tiara and sash of righteousness. Yet I still give the argument my energy, I still hold a grudge (yes, right now I am still holding on tight to it), I still write about it, and I still talk about it. What would happen if I laughed at the ridiculous nature and wasted time of these things, walked away, and moved on to more important things? Such as organizing my closet? I would probably have an awesome closet, that's what.
Also, a better and happier marriage would probably happen. So maybe that skill is the next one I will try to add to my super-marriage-toolkit. The ability to not engage, or maybe just dis-engage from the ridiculous. Anyone out there have any experience in that? Advice? Stupid arguments you'd like to share? I'm listening.
Jodi Nelson Call www.pistolsandpopcorn.com