Our first argument was my fault. We had just got from honeymoon and were just finishing our thank you cards. Miss Organised had written a list of people that I wanted to thank, paying little attention to my husband’s family and friends. He had shown very little interest in the cards so I made the assumption that he didn’t want any. When it came down to the last few cards, he made a request!! I could feel the anger well up inside me.
‘Why had he waited for me to almost finish the cards, after I had carefully calculated who and who was getting what! And he hadn’t been bothered to me with them anyway!’ The angry green goblin in me had come out to play.
I finished writing the cards as I had planned, choosing to side with the ‘Miss I will show him’ voice inside of me. When my hubby realised just what his honeymoon wife had just done, he uttered these simple words.
‘So I don’t even get one card.’
It wasn’t much but it was enough. His tone and body language said it all; frosty, little eye contact and keeping his distance. He didn’t need to say much more, though he did. Though I protested his sentences blew my selfish behaviour to pieces. ‘Miss I will show him’ and ‘Miss Organised’ disintegrated like ghostbusters had just hit them with their lasers. Immerging in their absence was a very remorseful wife, who dropped to her knees like the wives of old and said.
Arguments: silent treatment following a series of door slams and dirty looks, it might even be complimented by a few kissings of the dentures. Perhaps that’s not your arguing style, you may choose to stare your loved one in the face and isolate their weaknesses for a tirade of insults. You may even be the kind that raises their voice beyond human decibels, giving your neighbours a surround sound experience. Maybe you are sensible and decide to go for a walk, using that time for reflection and storage of your loved ones comments for future reference. You may not even argue at all, which I may add is a bone face lie. The truth is everyone argues; whether your hair is sprouted with grey or if your skin is baby soft, whether you are single living triumphantly or tied together with gold bands.
In marriage, there are arguments.
As obvious as that is, it comes as a surprise to many. Some seem to think that the signing of the marriage contract removes all sense of disagreement and mysteriously you become one in thought and mind. I believe strongly that leading up to the wedding day; brides and grooms are on their best behaviour. Arguments tend to be few and far between; the ones that do occur are easily resolved and tend not to be as intense. I didn’t fully understand when I signed on the dotted line, that I was enlisting to spend the rest of my life with a man that had had a whole life before me. A life that had shaped him into what he is today. Despite our many obvious commonalities (faith, ethnicity, spiritual principles) there were many differences. We were two different people. We had different families, habits, mindsets, attitudes and standards; the list simply goes on and on.
I was mortified when we started arguing in our marriage. I think I had pictured a picture perfect storybook marriage; we were supposed to be high on love dancing on the clouds of euphoria. Yet there were times when I questioned whether my hubby’s interest in sci-fi had attracted the beams of aliens and he had been replaced by their prime minister.
I understand now that it makes sense for us to argue. The scripture that says ‘two become one’ can be quite misleading as it is not instant. It does not happen when you exchange rings, sign the marriage contract, share your first kiss or even when the marriage is consummated. It is a gradual process which has a lot of bumps and knocks along the way. Knocks and bumps that the marriages of people I respected had overcome not in a microwave minute but with the slow cooking effect of time.
You may have noticed that I haven’t written in quite a while, that’s because I have had to fly my white flag quite a few times recently. Arguments are never pretty even the most eloquent poet becomes verbally incoherent and hot headed when the right buttons are pushed.
I struggle with the mindset that each argument is a battle for me to win. I dislike coming out of the trenches of my stubborn mind to apologise, it feels as though I have lost. I am slowly realising that I have to make a choice not to prolong an argument and make peace my ultimate goal. I must never lose sight of the end goal which is to have loving and fulfilling marriage. If waving a white flag of surrender produces that, then I will wave the flag high. A continuum of door slams and snide comments in the hope that my hubby will back down is not as effective. My pursuit of winning the argument only produces tension and unease in the home. I have also naughtily indulged in ‘told you so’ expressions when I am finally proven to be right.
It’s not the fact that you argue that is the problem; but you must choose to resolve it.
Resolving conflict is a choice.