Ode to Marital Strife

After one of Zach and my heated “discussions” I was laying in bed trying to remember why it started in the first place. I’m sure every married person can relate to my inquiry. The story goes something like:

Woman: “I cooked, cleaned up, fed and watered the animals, put our kids to bed while the lazy bum I married sits on the couch.”
Man: “Ahhh had a tough day at work today. Feels so good to be home and relaxing. What’s on TV?”

As seen in the example, only one of the parties is aware of the impending discussion. I’m pretty sure our discussion last night started that way and had begun to end that way until my betrothed came to bed to give me hugs and kisses (our way of saying sorry without having to hurt our pride and actually say it).

Zach and I made an agreement not to go to bed angry at each other. This pact makes sense as you never know if you’ll get another moment together in this life so why have the last one be of silence and anger? But this night was different. I was tired, the discussion was going nowhere and I just wanted to go to bed. I went to bed with our words still lingering where I left them in the living room with my husband, and I sat awake. I never do actually fall asleep angry, I’m pretty sure God just won’t allow it because He knows it will hold awful repercussions for me when I awake well rested and over the squabble.

I’m also pretty sure good portions of our discussions are for no good reason. Sure, it starts with something that bothers us but always ends the same way. I think sometimes we argue just to talk to each other. After 3+ years of marriage we get sick of talking about the same things, asking the same questions. Work, check, kid, check, weather, check. The topics are all the same with few possible variations and it gets tiring; especially considering our first date (and many thereafter) we did little else but sit in bookstores and talk for hours about everything. Picking each other’s brains. Going on wild excursions to find books with the most interesting titles or renting each other’s favorite books in order to understand each other a bit more.

See, I fell in love with Zach for what was on his innards, as we like to call them. Don’t get me wrong, his outards are quite nice indeed and I have always enjoyed viewing those as well, but his innards are what hooked me. I didn’t marry him because I could foresee future stimulating conversations of burp rags, toddler poo and dogs that just refuse to potty train. So it makes sense that we get downtrodden at those mundane discussions. This is not to say our son’s BM schedule is not altogether an interesting subject, as it’s a great segway for my husband to discuss how it compares to his own BM schedule which is ultimately one of his favorite subjects. However, I can tell we want more because of how we get almost excited to argue with each other. Trying to prove our higher-than-normal-intelligence and trying to make points that will win the other one over.

We love looking at older couples that lean on each other as they walk the 5 paces to the restaurant. While seated they gaze out the window lost in many decades of being together. Not having to talk because they’ve pretty much said it all. Zach and I look forward to being that couple, we really do. But there’s such a huge part of me that hopes after 60ish years together we realize there’s still good discussions in Presidents or nuclear disarmament. I hope we can still tote our walkers into bookstores to find the craziest titles and discuss our favorite books.

The thought that our marriage will easily be summed up in a few sentences over dinner scares me. It’s not necessarily a bad thing I understand that. I know grandparents who are just the most precious people, couples I look up to, and don’t say much. I just don’t want that from us. I truly hope the first place our grandkids look when they can’t find us is some obscure park, saying movie lines and seeing if the other’s memory is good enough to recall which movie it comes from. I hope we’re as good of storytellers as we are now. That by the time we’re in our nineties, the story that started out as “Zach meets Tesi”, turns into a thirty minute story, mostly made up of course, of what we were wearing and how he smelled. I hope there’s still so much of the twenty year old I married that I still get a kick out of the crazy things he does like his big childlike grin when he plants a fart smelled ‘round the world. That I still wake up, look at the long eyelashes, the two moles and the large 6’2” frame curled up in the fetal position and smile, overjoyed at the memory of a lifetime spent together and a lifetime yet to come.

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