We’ve been together more than twenty years (twenty-three if you count dating and marriage). My wife and I fight… who doesn’t. Not about big stuff. We don’t usually have big stuff. We don’t have any marriage deal-breakers that we’ve fought about. We have little stuff instead that grows and festers like a fungus. We fight over money and laundry and pans in the sink and dirty clothes on the floor and nail clippers and floor sweeping. Once in a while we have a good ol’ fight. Today we had one of those, not over big stuff, but over the small stuff that just grates at your nerves and slowly eats away at you from the moment you say “I Do”… till twenty plus years. We fought. We yelled. Then we both went to our corners. I went to the gym, ran on the treadmill, and then got a hair cut. She did whatever she does in her corner (it’s a woman secret).
I came home a couple of hours later and we went on with our day with the kids. We made up later. We always do. We shared a big passionate kid-embarrassing kiss to seal the deal. That’s when my wife spoke this epiphany. She revealed a marriage truth so incredible that harps played and angels sang as she unveiled this secret to a happy marriage.
My wife said, “I told you, it’s when I decide you’re NOT worth fighting with… THAT’s when you know you’re in trouble.”
I never really thought about it that way. Translation: she fights because she cares. By proxy: I guess we fight because WE care. I sat there thinking about the wifely wisdom she had just laid on me. As long as we still argue with each other, it means we still care enough about each other to argue in the first place. We argue because sometimes after twenty years together you need to blow off some steam. Sometimes there’s only so many bathroom battles, or unwashed dishes, or floors vacuumed during football, or finger nails flicked, or trash bags stacked, or remote controls commandeered that a couple can take, before both sides need to speak (yell) their peace and reset.
And guess what. You usually feel better after. You argue. You make up. You move on. Hopefully the little fights prevent the big ones down the road. Sure I know some couples who have hit the point of no return… we all know those couples and it can be devastating. And sometimes the opposite is true. You see those couples who’ve made it fifty years and wonder what their secret is. How did they do it all these years? Maybe the answer lies in the fights just as much as the hugs. Arguing doesn’t necessarily mean things are going downhill fast. Maybe arguing just means you’ve hit a bump climbing the uphill together. And with that, I yielded the TV remote… sure that was an epiphany but some fights just aren’t worth having.