Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How We Fight

The argument had been going on for hours. She was wrong and I was more right than I had ever been in my life. I wasn't about to let up now.

Fights with Kristine are epic in our house. We approach them differently. She is convinced that she is always correct in every way and yet, doesn't see the purpose in continuing an argument if we are just going in circles. But, in my view, the circles are important. They are a consequence of her not understanding that I am also 100% correct and thus see the need to reiterate my point of view as many times and from as many angles as is necessary to convince her.

Having had enough and needing to get away, she left the house, jumped in the car, and drove off, leaving her phone. I was devastated. Now, I couldn't contact her at all. I couldn't compromise, regret what I had done and apologize, maybe even swear at her in anger via text. Nothing. Every time I walked past her phone on the dresser, an adrenaline rush coursed through me.

I had left something unfinished! I needed to end this fight! I was right, she was wrong. But maybe it didn't matter anymore. Maybe her phone being left was a good thing. Maybe, just maybe, I could sit down and quietly consider other ideas and alternative points of view to my arguments without the bother of having her in the room to pummel them at.

An hour later, she arrived back home. I was calm, thoughtful, apologetic, maybe a tad frantic, slightly worried, and yet, most importantly, amiable, sensitive, and loving. For Kristine, jumping in the car and racing off had nothing to do with bringing me to my knees, whipped. Rather, she needed to clear her head. Continuing the argument was pointless.

Weeks later, we had another fight. In a moment of heated passion, I yelled,
You always get to drive off! One of these days, I'M going to do it!
To which she raised an eyebrow and responded,
Good! You should try it sometime!
So I did. I left. I stomped out the door, jumped in the car, and raced off. I made sure to take my phone with me so she could contact me. After all, I was the one who had left. It was now her turn to compromise, beg me to come home, swear at me over text, or do any number of things to "make up."

I drove out of town and into the country. Nothing. No text. No phone call. Nothing.

I drove out of the county. Still no text. No phone call. No blip on the radar from her. No car chasing me down behind me, her tear-stained face at the wheel, wanting me back.

"Maybe something is wrong with my phone," I thought, turning it off and on again.

Nope. Nothing. I crossed the state line into Wisconsin. On and on I drove. An hour went by. An hour and a half. I turned back toward home. Two hours. Two and a half hours. I arrived home.

Every single light was off in the house. The night was black with no moon. I walked in the door. Silence greeted me. I climbed the stairs to the bedroom. The door was open. I walked into the bedroom.

There, in the bed, lay Kristine, my beautiful wife - sleeping peacefully! I listened to the cadence of her breath in utter disbelief. She was actually sleeping deeply, quite relaxed.  I stumbled over to my side of the bed and sat on the edge, thinking.

And then it hit me. 

Our whole marriage, I had thought that she left to just be away from my presence, desiring to continue the argument or force me to compromise by being away. But that wasn't the case at all. I realized that we, as humans, many times treat each other the way we expect to be treated. And this situation was one of those times. Kristine let me "clear my head" on the road for those two and a half hours, knowing that she would appreciate doing the same.

And by the way, it had worked. My head was clear. The argument was deemed pointless. The fingers of sleep clutched at my eyes. So I stripped and cuddled up to her, and fell asleep.

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