Outside looking in

Every two weeks I have my nails did. For an hour someone pampers me, buffing my nails and painting them so they are all shiny, then gives me the nicest hand massage. It’s something little I do for myself, it’s an hour to just relax.

This morning was my day at the salon. When I parked in front of the building, I saw another woman pacing on the sidewalk, talking on the phone. Whoever it was she was speaking to, she was none to happy about what was being said.

By the time I reached the door, she had hung up and we both entered the building together. Sitting across from each other in the waiting area, after exchanging “good mornings,” she opened a conversation with, “are you married?”

I didn’t think she was trying to hit on me, so I answered that I was. She then asked, “do you fight with your husband,”

After snorting (nose-check for debris), I told her that we really didn’t, that we were more the passive aggressive type.

For the next ten minutes, as we waited to be called to our respective technicians table, she told me all about her husband and how they fought about everything. This was her second marriage, his first. She had three children – 9, 12 and 15 – with her first husband, and she and number two had a new-born – his first child.

Hearing her side of it, he sounded like a man used to doing everything his own way, of having subordinates cater to his every demand, and not having his actions challenged.

I don’t know his side. She could be a shrew, but she seemed like a nice person, but someone more used to a partnership and compromise.

When I told her The Mister and I have been married more than 26 years, she sighed, adding she couldn’t imagine being married to anyone that long.

I told her it didn’t seem that long, and that we really didn’t argue that much, and that over the years we learned to pick our battles.

Behind the scenes, I admit I make some seriously hideous faces when talking to The Mister on the phone when he’s being obstinate. I’ve been known to be uber defensive about stupid things, and have one-word answers down to an art. But, I still pick my battles.

I have this ‘thing’ I do when I’m really angry at The Mister. I argue with him, but I take both sides.

I have this mental back and forth, playing Devil’s Advocate to Antagonist. By doing this, many times I can see where I was being unreasonable, where I’ve been defensive over something that was innocent, where I’m doing the very thing I accuse him of doing. And, I can see where I was wrong, or at least over-reacting. Then, I can apologize, and many times explaining why I reacted how I did, The Mister understands me better and will say he’s sorry too.

We really don’t argue that much, there’s not much we disagree over. If we do disagree, someone usually gives in because it’s usually not worth the energy it takes to fight about it.

Author: Tara R.

I believe all good fiction includes an element of truth, and all good photography includes an element of fantasy. In this journal I hope to give voice to the stories swirling around in my head, and to capture the images I see through my camera’s lens.

8 thoughts

  1. We fight sometimes. Most of the real fights are about the kids. Scott has a problem with our kids needing medication. Or he did. He’s coming round. I think seeing Sam for the first time in a year – really seeing him, I mean, seeing the kid under the evil facade, has brought him around completely. But that one took me attacking verbally and undermining the passive aggressive thing (which is his bag for sure.) And here he comesmorelater

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    1. She really told me far more than she should have, but I think she just needed to unload on someone. She also told me that whenever they fight, both of them have brought up divorce… and they have only been married a year. Even after nearly 30 years together, The Mister and I have never used that as a weapon in a fight. My take is ‘don’t say it if you don’t mean it.’

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  2. Sorry – I believe my commentary counts as gossip, which means I’m not going to drag him into the conversation. He’s a laid back person and I’m …. I believe in the old days, they would have called me a hellcat. I get touchy and defensive, and he gets quiet and wordless. Mostly, though, we get along. Nothing like what it sounds like this lady is going through.

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  3. We argue sometimes, and at other times we have our “silences” where it’s easier to just keep quiet rather than have a huge row about something. We’ve been married 21 years and agree with you when you say it’s all about choosing your battles. Some things are just not worth the energy to argue about!

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  4. oh. Well. Yes, since the boys were born we fight more than we did. I like arguments…not fights, I like to see both sides and I like to be heard. (ahem) He does go quiet, but I never let him stay that way and like you…I pick the battles, if I see or sense that what we are disagreeing about is something we might never be on the same side about, I let it go…I need my ally. So yes, we fight, but if I’m the one in the wrong, I say I’m sorry until he hears me and if he is, he says I’m sorry and we make up.

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