Wednesday, October 10, 2012

{Marriage} Learning the art of war

"Marriage is an adventure, like going to war." -G. K. Chesterton

“Marriage is nature's way of keeping us from fighting with strangers.” -Alan King

Jeremy and I fought for the first 4 hours of our day. It wasn’t pretty. There were a lot of hurtful things said and a lot of unanswered questions. I’m not very good at opening up when I feel pressured to share my thoughts or feelings on a subject, unless I'm behind a keyboard of course. I’m one of those bottle it up and spew it out kinda gals. I try to tell Jeremy this because I don’t like the way I feel after I have a major spew fest but, he doesn’t seem to understand. Even though I’m sure he doesn’t like the way he feels after one, either. He pushes, there’s an explosion, I say mean things, and he says mean things back and so on.

It’s marriage. Fights happen, I’m sure, but the thing is Jeremy and I haven’t ever fought much. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we’ve had an occasional argument. We’ve had a major blow-up from time to time but, on the whole, things have always stayed relatively calm around The Nunn House. You would think that a couple married nearly 10 years would have fought more before their separation than after they decided to work their marriage out. That isn’t the case here. It seems that Jeremy and I are trying to make up for all of those years we spent not fighting.

This brand of fight is new to us. We’ve never really gotten loud with each other. We’ve spent a good deal of our 12 years together being really, really nice to one another. We’ve spared feelings a lot. We’ve stayed quiet a lot. We’ve let some of the big stuff go for a little too long. Now, when we’re tackling it, it tends to get ugly.

Some days it feels like we’re getting somewhere. Some days it doesn’t. Some days I want to bury my head under the covers just to make him stop trying to get me to open up. I did that today, like a four year old, hoping if I couldn’t see him he would go away for a while so I could cry alone.

He did. I did. He went to work. I took care of the boys.

It was one of those fights where nothing really got resolved. You could almost feel a sort of “to be continued…” flash on the bottom of an imaginary screen as I pulled the covers up and he walked away frustrated and sad. I know the fight isn’t over. I know he’s going to continue to push my buttons and I’m going to continue to unleash the sort of defense mechanisms a slightly dysfunctional, more than slightly alcoholic upbringing provides. The kind a witty, smart-mouth teenager uses when she has a major chip on her shoulder, especially when she feels backed in a corner. The kind of defenses that hurt people’s feelings and shut people out. The kind that make me feel safe and make other people feel wounded.

The kind I have tools to get a handle on but rarely remember to use.

Fighting is probably a tool most couples come upon a little earlier in their marriage. Jeremy and I are just trying to figure it out and there are some learning curves that come along with that, I’m sure. Hopefully we’ll get better at it soon. I can’t stay under the covers forever. I know a few couples who make it look artful, a few who make it look hilarious, and a few who make it look like a Rihanna/Eminem song. I’m pretty sure it’s par for the course, even if I don’t like it too much today.  I don’t know of any couples who don’t fight.

Well, I know one couple but, no one really likes them anyway.