Very often in the warmer months, I sit in bed with my coffee (thanks, sweet husband, for always bringing my coffee up to me in the morning!) next to an open window with the sun streaming, birds singing and … wait… what’s that? Oh yes, they’re at it again.
The couple down the street having a whopper of a fight right there on the front porch for all the world to hear and see.
The f-word was flying and things were getting louder than usual, especially on the wife’s side, which frankly is usually the way with them. He tends to tamp things down, if possible. Today it wasn’t possible.
Things were said, “You are not the man I thought you were!” and as usual, it broke my heart.
Every. Single. Time. it happens, I am reminded of my first marriage. I, twenty-years out from that marriage, sits cringing with my coffee, wanting to get up and close the window but knowing it won’t matter. It’s so loud I could hear it through the walls.
Today was a banner day, too. Their 4-year-old son, who until now has been a silent witness, has figured out how to use his voice, which he did this morning, yelling, “Mama! Dad! Stop fighting! Please!”
And I remembered when my own children said the SAME. EXACT. THING.
My first husband and I didn’t use the f-word, and I was the screamer (like the woman down the street) and he was the mostly-silent partner who ran away rather than face my wrath, which was, quite frankly, epic.
Nothing to be proud of… and I’m not.
While he wasn’t a screamer, he would do things like punch holes in the wall, pull over to the shoulder of freeway and push me out, spin his belt around his head like a ninja… “Stop this, or else!” Oh yes, he had his own way of fighting.
NOT fun times.
Enough has been written about that marriage already. It long-over. No need to linger.
By my second marriage, I had changed… with some hindsight, a desire to NOT be that person anymore, and … surprisingly… age. Maybe I should call it maturity. I was 42 when I married my current husband.
He wouldn’t even recognize the wife I used to be.
It’s so unfair – isn’t it? – that so often, young marriage, young children, and hormones collide just as a couple is learning how it is to live with each other. Oh, to do it all over again with what I know now.
Yes, I’ve learned some stuff, thanks to long-time married family and friends, all the wonderful marriage books I’ve read, and other media on the subject. Here’s just a sampling:
- Good marriages don’t just happen
- Lust is not love
- Love means considering what your spouse wants and needs
- You have to know what your spouse needs to provide it
- Pay ATTENTION to your spouse and the marriage
- If you’re spending more time online than with your spouse, there’s a problem
- Fights will happen but there IS such a thing as fighting fair
- Screaming NEVER solves anything
- Walking away may defuse a situation – or make it worse. Choose carefully.
- Do you want to be right or do you want to be married?
- Money does not equal love
- Respect is EVERYTHING
- Fidelity is like gold
- Don’t do ANYTHING that will affect your marriage and/or family while angry
- Children model what to see and hear
- Children ARE affected by everything that goes on in THEIR household and life
I know it’s not an exhaustive list but I think you get my drift.
But as far as the neighbors…
We’re “wave as we pass” friendly, not close at all. It’s not like I can talk to them about this stuff. I kinda wish I could… and NOT, too… because I’ve been in the middle of one or two marriage scuffles and honestly, it’s not a comfortable place to be, no matter what.
Hopefully, they’ll figure this stuff out before they become a divorce statistic. I really feel like they’re headed that way.
This video came across my timeline this morning – perfect timing! It’s wonderful and short… and reminds us what marriage is about. Gottman, who is named in the video, is a well-known marriage researcher. I love his work!
Featured photo taken from Pexels Free Photos