No

Yesterday I posed the question “Should a person about to ask someone to marry them ask permission of the parents beforehand.” Needless to say, this is not a yes or no question. The comments provided us with a lively debate on the topic, all sides having interesting and valid points.

Today I am going to start with the supposition that one should ask the parents of the intended for blessing/permission.

So Person A approaches Parents Z and says “I love your daughter, and I would like to ask her to marry me. Do I have your blessing?” Parent Z says “No”.

What happens next?

What if the parent really doesn’t like the guy that there child is dating?

Should the parent deny their blessing/permission?

I understand that there are many valid reasons for not wanting your child to marry someone. If the person doesn’t treat your child well, no marriage certificate is going to change that. Abusive relationships don’t get better.

But what about the areas that fall into the grey area of relationships? The guy has been married before- is that a valid reason to say no? Doesn’t make enough money? Doesn’t practice the same religion? Doesn’t want kids? Works too much? Works too little?

What are reasons that you would not want your child to marry someone that would make you not bless/permit a union?

Then let’s go to the next step:

Does the person holding the ring box still ask the person to marry them?

Does the person receiving the ring say NO to the proposal to make their parents happy?

Does the person receiving the ring say YES, and proceed to get married without their parents being present, or accepting the marriage?

And you all thought this would be an easy post…

It all boils down to one essential question: How much do the parents feeling matter when their children decide to get married?

My friend met the parents of the girl her son is dating this past weekend. She was very “eh” about them, and the girl. As the kids are college seniors and about to go to graduate school,  I said “Don’t worry about it. She is respectful of your son. It’s not like they’re getting married.” But after I said that to her, I thought- hmmmm- but what if they do decide to get married? Will my friend spend her life not really liking her kids in laws, as well as his wife?

What do you think?

 

 

Tradition…or…Outdated

Recently I had a conversation with a friend. I asked him if his daughter were to get engaged, would he expect the future spouse to ask him for his blessing/permission.

His answer was simple- Yes. He would expect it because if you’re going to go the marriage route, you adhere to all the conventions.

That’s one way of looking at it.

Then you have my thought: I actually said that if someone “asked” my permission I would tell my daughter to run fast and run far. I think it’s sort of demeaning to ask permission of anyone other than the intended spouse. My daughter is a mature, responsible grown up woman: to think she needs someone to take care of her is ludicrous. Don’t ask me: just treat her with respect and kindness and love. Tell that to her. Show her that with everything you do.

As I was having a hypothetical situation about my daughter, I decided to ask her what she thought. This past weekend was Parents Weekend, so as we sat down to a delicious brunch, I posed the question:

“If you were dating a guy, would you want him to ask us for permission to marry you?”

Her answer:

“I would never marry someone like that. That’s not respect. That implies ownership. Are we supposed to give him two goats and a bag of coin too?”

So.

Should a person who intends on proposing ask the parents of their beloved permission/blessing? Is it outdated and unnecessary, or is it good manners and a sign of respect?

The Relationship Post Mortem

I spoke of my friend yesterday, and how she doesn’t love the relationship that her daughter is in. The update is, the boyfriend broke up with the girlfriend on Monday (coincidently right after his graduation weekend)

You would think my friend would be relieved, which she is, sort of. Of course her first thought was – “I wish I knew why he broke up with her.” (of course my first nasty thought was – maybe his Mother didn’t like her- I know- I’m bad)

So here’s the question for today:

Do we really want to know why someone ended a relationship?

There are millions of reasons why two people break up. My sister once ended a relationship because she didn’t like the way he brushed his tongue. Some are tangible, logical reasons: they drink too much, they live too far away, they don’t treat me well. We can put a name to these: there is one specific thing that makes the relationship not good. But what about when there is no “big” reason?

Ok- the boyfriend broke up with the girlfriend. What if the reason is seemingly silly, like the tongue brushing thing. Do you need to know that a guy thinks you have some little quirk that is harmless but a problem for them? What if a woman thinks you have a hobby that is silly? What’s the point of knowing? Are you going to change?

See- that’s my thought: Is knowing why someone broke up with you beneficial? Are you going to stop the behavior they don’t like, or start doing something that they do like? Or in general- will it be a catalyst to some sort of change? Will it make you think about yourself more clearly? Or will it make you feel bad about who you are?

In theory, I guess there’s something to closure. I broke up with you because of A, B, C, F and G. Thank you next. But how much time are you going to spend dissecting the reasons? Are you going to question why you behave that way? Are you going to overanalyze your characteristics to the point you question everything you do? Are you going to beg the other person to come back because you vow to change?

Do you need to change because someone doesn’t want to continue dating you?

We also have my favorite answer to why I’m breaking up with you:

It’s not you, it’s me.

Is there a worse line in the history of stories we tell one another?

What does that even mean? It’s not you, it’s me. Why would you ever say that to anyone? Is that an actual reason to stop dating someone? I’d rather someone not tell me a reason than to say that tired, tired, lame excuse. Don’t insult my intelligence.

Of course, there is one step lower than INYIM: ghosting. When did it become acceptable behavior to just stop communicating with someone? And I don’t mean after one date- I mean people that have been in a relationship and then just cease communication. Did people start ghosting to get out of explaining why they no longer want to date someone? Did the relationship post mortem expectation become so intense that people feel it’s easier and better to just walk away?

I know I threw a lot at you today. But what are your post break up expectations?

 

 

I am the Most Boring Person Ever

I had a busy day yesterday and when I got to read the comments I noticed that many of them were of a similar thread. So instead of answering everyone individually I am writing a post addressing some of the comments. If I missed your comment/query, don’t worry- there’s always tomorrow…

  1. My worry about empty nesting is not about being bored. I have lots of hobbies that I love. I have absolutely no problem exploring a new interest. I don’t think I’ve said the words “I’m bored” since I was 17.  I’m not worried about the seemingly free hours ahead of me.
  2. Though I love to travel, finances are a consideration. College costs a lot of money.
  3. My Husband and I have been doing “dates” for years. We go out at least one evening a week and usually spend at least one day/afternoon together on the weekends.
  4. Husband and I do theme things: he loves food and I love exploring different neighborhoods, so we meld this together. Over the winter we did our own ramen tour. We found a list (Thrillist) of the best ramen places in NYC and we tried a whole bunch of them (not all on the same day- we did one a week). We would find a theater or exhibit or something fun in the neighborhood of the ramen shop, and make a day of it. Previously we’ve done sandwiches, hand pulled noodles and pizza.
  5. We get along really well. We are not the couple at the restaurant who just stare at one another. We talk. In fact we talk a lot. We laugh. We have fun. But is that enough?

My concerns:

  1. I am a very different person than the one I was 18 years ago. I no longer like hanging out in bars. For the record, if there is trivia, or arcade games, live music or tastings involved, I am right there. I do not like to sit at a generic bar and drink. My husband has friends that love to do this. I mean, this is their idea of a fun night out. To be clear, I am bored after five minutes.
  2. I have become a day person. I like to get out of the house- but I greatly prefer being home at night. Again, my husband is sort of the opposite.
  3. We do not have many couple friends- I have friends and he has friends, but our groups don’t overlap. How do you make couple friends?
  4. We’ve known each other for 25 years- how much more is there to talk about?
  5. My daughter is not a buffer, yet she is. It’s just the way life is set up. She’s at the dinner table with us. She’s on vacation with us. She asks for help with things. It’s having a kid and being a parent. We’re a family- a unit. When one leaves the dynamic shifts.

So…

What’s the secret to long term relationships? What makes some couples work and some implode?

And you know I’m going to overthink and analyze this, so….

Date Night

I’m a big believer in couples date night.  It’s very easy to stop looking at your partner as a friend/lover/person when you become enmeshed in household things.  Once you’ve seen a guy floss his teeth or scrub a toilet, a little bit of the macho allure is gone, so you need something to remind you why you fell in love with someone.

Enter date night.

Our goal is three date nights a week (though technically, we love date afternoons) There is usually one meal, one activity, and one outing with at least one other couple.  The meal is our time to talk – our rule is we do not talk about our daughter or anything household related, unless it’s something fun.  This is not the night for airing of the grievances or reminding each other to change a lightbulb.  The activity gives us a shared experience and lets us help each other if needed.  Or laugh at each other- we each have strengths and weaknesses, and I’m sorry, but it’s really funny to see my Husband try to shoot at arrow at archery.  And the couples outing is just fun because it gives us a chance to socialize with other adults.

Back in April, we were scheduled to go to an off-Broadway play.  Four days before the play, my Husband said:

“Can we invite my Father to the play with us?”

I was not amused.  First off, it was supposed to be our “date”, but the one for just the two of us.  You all know I don’t do well with change.  Secondly, I wasn’t up for a family outing.  My FIL is trying under the best of circumstances: bringing him to a tight 50 seat theater in Greenwich Village to see an Agatha Christie play was just not going to work.  Thirdly, even though it’s off Broadway, the tickets are still pricey, and I’m cheap.  There were other things I’d rather spend the money on.

But

How horrible do I look if I tell my Husband that I don’t want him to include his Father for an outing.

So I thought about it.

And I told Husband that I didn’t want him to include his Father.  I was honest in a situation I felt I needed to be honest in. Husband was not pleased. An then we were both annoyed with one another.

Were we honest with one another? Yes.

Did honesty help? Not really.

This is one of those relationship situations were we both wanted different things.  Was I wrong to not want my FIL included?  Ten people will give you ten different answers to that question.  All I can go by is how I felt, and I made that clear to him.

Was he wrong to ask to include his Father in our plans?  Again, ten people will answer that question differently.  But he told me what he wanted, and that’s the cornerstone of a relationship, communication.

Did communication help us in this situation?  Did honesty help us?

Unfortunately, relationships are going to have moments like this, where the participants are playing by the “rules”, but they’re sort of playing with the parameters of the rules.  They think they are “asking”, when really, they’re “telling”.  Though the words were “Can I ask my Father”, the message behind it was really “I’m asking my Father”.  I wasn’t expected to say no, so when I said “No” I switched the rules.  Yes, I’m supposed to be honest and tell him my feelings, but I wasn’t supposed to say no there (well, in his mind anyway)

Alas, there is no rule book for how to handle situations like this.  Couples muddle through the best they can.  They hope the fights and annoyances can be forgiven and forgotten, or at least put to the back burner. But you have to be careful how you recover.  Remember, in relationships, it not so much the transgression, it’s about how you recover.  Did Husband and I recover from this incident?

Well, the day of the play was the day I began my long journey into pneumonia, so maybe there will be a post or two about how those three weeks played out…

 

 

The Stovetop Smoker

My Husband likes food.  He loves to go to new restaurants and try new things.  He really loves things that are smoked.  Now, we live in an apartment with no outdoor access, so smoking food is not the easiest thing for us, but one day we were out and saw an indoor, stovetop smoker, and an idea was born:  Husband said, next time I needed to buy him a gift, that was what he wanted.

Now, when Husband says that he wants something material, I usually get it, because he really doesn’t covet much.  But an indoor, stovetop smoker?  I smell more than cedar chips.  See, Husband is not great at reading directions, and putting those directions into actions.

I told him “Here’s the deal.  I don’t want to smoke meats.  I don’t really like smoked meats.  This is not a hobby I want to pursue.  So if I get you a smoker, it’s all on you.  You learn how to do it, and you’re responsible for it.”  He said “of course.”

So I bought him a smoker for the December holiday season.  And January rolled around and he kept saying “We should break out the smoker” and I would ignore the use of the word “we”, and tell him he was free to use it anytime he wished.  And the smoker sat untouched for January.

February strolled in and he said, “Let’s smoke salmon today.”  And I went into the cabinet where I had put the box containing the smoker and handed it to him.  “Have Fun” I said.

“Can you help?”

“When I bought this for you, I specifically told you that this was not a hobby I chose to pursue.”

“But I don’t know what to do?” (he was whining by now)

“Guess what?  Neither do I.”

“Yeah, but you know how to read instructions”

And all I could think was , yup, this man has two masters degrees.  “I have faith in you.” I said.

Which led to more whining.  So I said, “Here’s the deal.  I will stand next to you while you do it.”

“If you do it once, I’ll get how it’s done.”

My frustration level was at about 1000.  This is not something I had any interest in doing, but how much of a fight was this worth?

I read over the really simple instructions for making smoked salmon.  I told him how easy the process was.

Whining by him.

So I stood next to him in the kitchen, reading him the instructions as if he was a three year old with finger paints (because yes, that is the level of complexity- finger painting)

And the meal turned out fine, if you like smoked salmon, which I don’t.  But anyway.

The other day he wanted to make smoked chicken thighs.  I said optimistically “You remember how to do it?”

”Just help me one more time.  Then I’ll know it.” He said.

”Place wood chips in small pile in center of smoker.  Place piece of Tin foil on top.  Put rack atop that.  Add chicken thighs.  Close cover.  Put on stove on medium”  I said, from memory.

”Wait, what?” He said.

The smoker may end up in the donation pile.

How Do I Put This?

There are about a thousand ways I can approach todays blog topic, because it brings up some observations about me, my personality and my relationships.  When I figure out how to discuss it, you guys will be the first to know.

I am a fairly organized, type A sort of person.  I know- I just revealed a fact you did not know.  The majority of my friends are like me:  we plan things months in advance, we deal with lists and our planners are never far from us.  I have one friend who is not a planner, but she understands my not so laissez faire attitude, so she adjusts a little for me (the very definition of good friend).  I surround myself with like minded people.  And lets face it- I live in a city not really known for its laid back attitude.  There’s a whole bunch of people here just like me, and actually, much more organized than I am.  Ok- so here’s point 1.

My Husband is somewhat type A like me- he likes things organized and planned out.  However, he is not actually a planner.  He hates the actual task of organizing.  He continually double books himself  because he makes plans and either doesn’t write them down, or doesn’t check his calendar before he makes new plans. ( I have many fun and interesting stories about having to play plan Jenga after he’s successfully booked us/him at four different things on the same night)  Now, since my Husband is technically type A-, his friends are a little more varied:  he has friends that are total planners, and friends that just go were the mood takes them, who live life with a devil may care attitude.

This past month, this cause some problems.  We made plans with a couple, S and R, a month ago.  They wanted to do something fun, I suggested a Motown Revue at a club, they agreed.  I bought tickets.  A month ago.

Two days before the event, S calls my Husband and says, “Wouldn’t it be fun to go to a comedy show at X?” Which would be great if A) I hadn’t already bought tickets for the music revue, and B) the comedy show wasn’t sold out already, cause everything in this city sells out in advance. (side note- if a New Yorker is walking down the street and sees a long line, the New Yorker will often just join the line because they assume whatever it is is worth waiting for.  That’s how we found the absolute best cream puffs ten years ago).

I was irrationally angry that S wanted to change plans right before game day.  My feeling is, if you want to go to comedy, just say that in the beginning.  A type like me sees that behavior as passive aggressive, whether or not it actually is.

We had a similar situation with R.  R was throwing a surprise birthday party for his girlfriend.  He gave us the date a month in advance.  No problem.  I blocked it out in my calendar.  Problem was, until two days before the party, we didn’t know where, or what time the party was.  This was after my Husband texted the guy at least six times.  When he finally got back to us, we realized the party was not in Manhattan- we would need to take a railroad.  Which runs on a schedule.  Meaning to be there for the “Surprise” we would have to be on a certain time train.  Which conflicted with afternoon plans that I had.

Now I figured out how to make all the plans work- I did the whole arrange the puzzle pieces thing.  And on Saturday morning, the day of the party, we get a Facebook invitation.  R is having a SECOND party for his girlfriend, and it’s DOWN THE BLOCK from our apartment.

I was not happy.

Of course, it took 30 seconds for me to realize I have something else to do the night of the 2nd party.  It took my Husband 20 minutes to figure out he had something the same night as well.

But, we figure it out, you know, putting all of our brain power into it- cancel Saturday, figure out how to work in 2nd party, etc.

So tonight is the night of the second party.  I also have a meeting tonight that I need to go to.  When I told two of my friends that I was going to race out of the meeting as soon as it’s adjourned, one of my friends said

“You shouldn’t go to the party.  Tell your husband there’s no need to go cause it’s not your friend.  Why should you go to the party anyway?  You already have plans.  You knew about this meeting.”

I told her that this was something I had to fit in, etc, and she argued why I didn’t need to go, etc., and though she made valid points, I knew I had to fit in both.

And this brings me to the next conundrum:

What’s the line for what events you should attend with your spouse?

I am really independent, and I give my husband a really long leash.  He goes on ski weekends without me, yearly guys trips, and attends many parties without me. (for the record, I hate large gatherings.  i hate introducing myself.  I hate small talk)  I am most definitely not the tag along spouse.

But…

I think there are some events I must attend.  This not so great planning guy is actually one of my Husband’s closest friends.  I often see him socially.  This is a party I would feel bad about not attending because the friend is a good guy.  I had to figure out how to make this work.

So, in my longest and most convoluted post ever, here’s the questions:

  1. Can planners and non planners be friends?
  2. Do you need to attend every event as a couple?
  3. Do you need to book things a month in advance?

Thanks for listening to this weeks dilemma!!

 

The Fight

Today. for something completely different, I’m going to talk to you about a fight/disagreement my Husband and I are having.  This is not to be cruel to my Husband.  This is not for you all to tell me I’m right and he’s an idiot (you can do that any day of the year).  I’m writing to explain how in a disagreement, both parties are right and both parties are wrong. And different people are going to perceive the situation differently- some of you will side with me, others with my Husband, and most will just think we’re both nuts. I’m trying to show that an argument, no matter how petty, is still an argument.  Call this a life lesson.

It’s hard to tell a story without bias.  It’s out natural inclination to tell a story highlighting how great we are.  You all know I’m not so great, so this might be easier than I thought.

On Sunday afternoon, my Husband and I will be attending a classical music concert.  We actually both love classical, and we try to see a live performance a few times a year.  The concert is at 2, ends about 4, and is probably a 20 minute subway ride from out house, meaning he’ll be home in time for much of the Sunday football line up.  I will be home in time to do laundry. (see- bias.  I can’t help it.  I’m trying to make you feel for me)

My Husband said he was going to invite his Father over for the game.  Fine.  I said.  I have laundry and house stuff, and I’m betting my homework for writing class will not be complete, so I can have a productive afternoon/evening.

Then he asked if he could invite his Aunt and Uncle to the game.

Now, I’m going to point out that “ask” means that the answer could be yes or no.  When you ask a question, you have to know that each answer is a possibility.

I said “No”.

Here’s the thing.  I have things to do on Sunday.  I don’t want to entertain.  I happen to like his Aunt and Uncle very much, but I don’t want to rush in the door and Voila, people arrive 10 minutes later.  I don’t want to watch football.  It’s also hard to talk to his Aunt if there is football on- our apartment is not that big.  I have other things to do.  4:30 means we are going to need to supply a meal.  There are all sorts of dietary issues, and most of them are not health related.  Cooking is a pain for this group.  Alas, ordering in food is no picnic either.   These are things my Husband doesn’t think about/deal with.  These are things I will need to contend with.  I don’t want to contend with them.

Why does he want to invite them over?  Well, obviously it’s a nice thing.  His Uncle has Parkinson’s, and his situation is not getting better.  I know my Husband would like to spend more time with him.  I get that.  My Husband feels very guilty about things with his family.  I usually don’t feel guilty about things.  To me, if you feel guilty you are doing something wrong.  I usually feel good about my decisions. (be prepared though- there will be a guilt induced post soon)

I am not a “family gathering” type of person.  My Husband is constantly trying to push this value system on me.  I am not particularly close with my parents because there are just all sorts of issues and I feel keeping them at arms length is beneficial to my mental health and stability.  Truth be told, my Husband would benefit from keeping his family at arms length, but that’s his cross to bare.

But, back to Sunday.

After I said I didn’t want to watch football/entertain on Sunday, he said “Didn’t I say I’d go to the concert with you?”

Now- this is where I got mad.  First off- I don’t like tit for tat.  I thought an afternoon date of something we both enjoy would be fun.  I didn’t think it was a bargaining chip.  I don’t think like that.  I don’t do things just to score points.

Secondly- he asked a question.  I gave an answer.  Don’t ask a question if you aren’t prepared for the answer to be something you don’t want to hear.

So. we’re at a stalemate.  I’ve made him sad.  He doesn’t like my disregard for family.  That’s fair.  But this is one of those things- it’s who I am.  I am not the type of person who wants to be surrounded by family.

We’re speaking and all, but it’s an overly polite sort of thing.  And eventually we’re going to have a big discussion.  But the problem is- he is never going to be happy about the situation, because there’s a quality in me that he doesn’t like.   He sees me as cold, and frankly, I am a little cold and detached.  That’s my defense mechanism.  But I won’t apologize for it.  It’s who I am.

So there you have it.  The story of a fight.  I hope I was able to give fairness to both sides.  Disagreements are never easy- figuring out how to get past them is even harder.  I think the true test of a relationship is not what we fight about- it’s how we get past the fight.

Thanks for listening!

Eyes Pretty Wide Open

I can be a little overbearing.  I can be opinionated.  I can be a control freak. No one would ever describe me as “laid back”.   I think you can ascertain most of this about my personality, and I am OK with that.  I will freely admit that I exhibit many of these traits in the majority of my life.

Except

I am actually somewhat laid back as a wife.  Not in the domestic side of things- I run the household with a pretty tight leash.  But, as far as my Husband goes, I am pretty easy going.

He wants to hang out with the guys?  Go ahead.  No problem.  Wants to go to Alabama to watch a football game?  Works for me.  Wants to hang out with people from ski club, men and women?  Have fun.  Want to go to Montana to ski for five days?  Don’t forget your gloves.

Many women look at me and say- “You’re crazy.”  “You trust him?”  “Why does he want to be out so much anyway?”

I think of it like this: if he’s going to cheat, he doesn’t need an excuse, or a situation- he would do it anyway.  I’m not a particularly jealous person.  I don’t covet things other people have, I’m not particularly envious.  I don’t view his wanting to hang out with his friends as an affront against me.  I like hanging with my friends too.  I certainly wouldn’t want him to tell me what I can and can’t do.  And skiing- well- he loves it.  Me- I figure if I was intended to be ass down in a pile of snow, God would have made me a polar bear…..so if he has friends to ski with, then I’m a happy girl.

But that doesn’t mean I’m naïve.

Case in point.  Last weekend he was at a ski club outing.  I tend not to accompany him, because frankly, I don’t like many of the people in the club.  When he came home, he talked to me about two of the women in the club.

Him:  “Wow. S and R were talking about the guys they were dating, and how lousy the sex was, and how they had to break up with the guys because the sex was so bad.  They said that sex is the most important thing in a relationship.  I don’t know- when you’re 50ish, is that the most important thing?  Isn’t it just getting along and wanting to spend time together?” he said.

Me: They’re trying to get you to sleep with them.”

Him: No?  Really?  What?

Me:  They’re trying to tell you that they are hot and ready all the time.  That life with them would be one long sexcaspade.

Him: You mean they are trying to lure me away from you?

Me:  Yes.  They assume because I let you off your leash that we have a lousy marriage.  They want to be married/paired off, and they figure you are a willing victim.  They know you’re not afraid of commitment, your kid is almost out of the house, you’re a reasonably nice guy in decent shape….

Him:  Women don’t do that

Me:  Really?  You think?

Now, I’ve seen these women at social functions.  I know exactly the type of women they.  They are not women I would ever be friends with- for myriad reasons.  Let’s just say, if I ever finish my current novel, my next one would be about women such as this.  They are a caricature, and a stereotype, but boy would it be fun to write about one.  Let’s just say there is a reason why one of them has been divorced 3 times, and the other one is desperate to be married….and I mean desperate.

Did my husband learn anything about human nature?  Probably not.  At 49 he still doesn’t realize how conniving people can be.  I know, I know.  It’s my fault.  I’m such an amazing human he finds it hard to believe that there are people with faults…but I can only point out that sometimes people have ulterior motives, that sometimes things aren’t always what they seem.  Except me being perfect.  Because I truly am perfect…….

 

 

The Battle of the Relationships

Sometimes my Husband drives me crazy.  There- I said it.

I think this is the case in many long term, monogamous relationships.  Usually things are great, but there are those moments.  And it’s those moments, the moments when our partners drive us crazy, that determine if a relationship will survive.

Husband and I see very differently on a particular subject.  This has been the case for our entire history together.  He thinks he is right.  I think I am.  Now, the good thing is, the catalyst for this issue doesn’t show up very often- so we don’t often experience the strife related to it.  But, the underlying root is always there.  The seed of discontent is buried deep inside.  It frustrates me that he doesn’t see and appreciate my side, doesn’t back me up, so to speak.  I know he is never going to change his stance, I know he doesn’t have the courage to.  I accept that he will never change. Until he expects me to change.  See, that’s the problem- in my mind, what’s fair is fair.  I’m not changing, he’s not changing- we just have to grit our teeth and bare it.  He doesn’t see it that way- he wants me to change.  Our fights aren’t about the issue directly- they’re about his refusal to accept who I am.

That’s where relationships falter- when one partner can’t accept the true nature of the other.  When one partner wants the other to “change”.  This is a wonderful theory- it’s just not practical or realistic.  People don’t change cause others wish it so- people change when the individual wants to.

So what do two people do?  How do they handle it?

Well, Husband and I argued quite a bit.  We had a “discussion” about the underlying issues.  When two people fight, each person goes in thinking they are 100% right.  When another person starts to poke holes in the theory, well, that’s when things have the ability to get ugly.  That’s another test of a relationship- how do the people involved fight.

My Husband likes to say- “Everyone would agree with me on this.”  First off- don’t ever use that as an argument, because unless you took a poll of everyone, this is just not valid.  There is no way to determine what “everyone” thinks. Secondly, it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks- everyone else is not in the relationship.  The only opinion that matters is of the two people involved.  Also, sometimes you’re wrong- sometimes others will not agree with you because your argument is just not “right”.

You can’t bring up the past.  I’m repeating that.  You can’t bring up past fights or past actions.  When you’re fighting, keep it to the situation.  If you have resentments about past actions, then you need to discuss that separately.  If a past issue is resurfacing, then you have to ask yourself if you are expecting someone to change their behavior.  Because as stated, no one changes because you want them to.  If someone did “M” three months ago, should you be getting mad if they did “M” today?  You can’t make someone change, but you can change your behavior.

Don’t put the blame on something or someone.  This is a cop out.  The chance of an outside factor being to blame is probably slim.  What’s that line, “fault is not in our stars but in ourselves”?  Take responsibility for your actions, and how your actions affect others.  Own your mistakes and miscalculations.  Accept what you did wrong and learn from it.  Try not to blame your partner.  I know this is hard- but once you start blaming people….well…how well can you recover from that?

So- to try to summarize this wandering post:

Fight fair.

Be realistic about the issue you’re fighting about.

Remember the other persons point of view.

Accept your partner as they are.

If you want change, you must be the one to change- don’t expect change of your partner, unless they are 100% on board with changing.

Listen to what your spouse is saying- they just might have a valid point/argument.

Peace!!