Column: Arguing is part of marriage

Courtesy photo

I recently read a poll on how and why couples argue and I contemplated the quarrels Gar and I have had over the years and the fact that I don’t remember many of them. I do know I would have them all again if need be. I’ve heard people mature with age, but Gar is only now realizing there is no hope for some.

The article was in depth, asking hundreds of couples what they fought about, how they entered and exited disagreements and why they felt the need to argue in the first place. Well, bickering is a must. The permit to do it came with the marriage license and is practically a commandment. I found it interesting that some married couples say they argue as often as unmarried couples. How would they know? Did they implement their own poll?

It was found that people who are more religious say they argue more than those couples who don’t go to church. I understand this. With God in the picture, we have another avenue to explore, similar to fifth-graders in a disagreement during recess, as we bring others into our tiffs. “I don’t like the way you mimic me and I’m pretty sure God finds that ridiculous, too.”
“Ya, well, I don’t like the way you roll your eyes at my suggestions and I KNOW God thinks you’re an idiot for sure.”
I’m not saying all of Gar’s and my arguments are like this, I’m merely pointing out that we might have traveled down this road a few times. And here’s where I’ll point out that the poll found that older people have more disagreements over tone of voice and attitude than younger couples. That’s because we’ve clashed about absolutely everything, so now in order to get under each other’s skin, we’re forced to get creative.

Most people bickered quite a lot, several times per day to multiple times each month. One group said they never argued. I stopped at that and stared, thinking, then came to the conclusion that either one of them was a total loser and worthless in the bantering department and knew it, so didn’t try to make their wishes known, or there were liars among the pollsters. I’m guessing the latter. If I ever came upon a couple who said they never argued, I’d give them a wide berth, figuring they’d steal candy from children.

Then there was the group who said they weren’t sure if they’d ever argued. Weren’t sure? Holy-mother-of-God, they polled some dumb folks. When Gar and I get upset with each other, we are certain it’s a full-blown fuss — no wondering at our house — and I’ve witnessed quarrels between other couples and we all knew there was a clash.

Some of the topics causing squabbles were money, chores, time spent together, lifestyle decisions, politics, parenting and many more. Gar and I don’t have to have an intelligent topic to debate. We’ll make things up, we’re that multiskilled. It could go something like this…

Me - How many licks do you think it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?

Gar - I dunno — maybe 30.

Me - You’re not even trying, geez.

Gar - OK, 300.

Me - You looked.

Gar - I didn’t.

Me - Ya, I bet you cheated.

Gar - I did not, how many does it take?

Me - 364.

Gar - Well see, I’m just that good.

Me - Ya, you’re a good cheater.

About now is when Gar would sigh, and think to himself, “I used to be happy and full of life, but now I live here.”

Many couples feel they get into the same disputes over and over again. Yes, we could relate and I can’t be sure, but I’m thinking it has something to do with me, and Gar would wholeheartedly agree. Gar doesn’t like confrontation and will tell you that he thinks I like it a lot. This is absolutely not true. I simply feel that going down with the ship is an option, but then I’ve not been overly blessed with brains. I might not even have an IQ, and I really wish I could just learn from learning instead of learning from my mistakes. I make a lot of them, I’m practically a magical mistake maker, but I know marrying Gar wasn’t one. We won’t ask him his thoughts.

I’ll tell you that when it comes to marriage and conflict, it’s a bit like something I once read.
“A long fight in marriage is like a fireworks show. There’s the finale, then just wait, there’s more.”

Trena Eiden [email protected]