Saturday, October 21, 2006

How To End a Fight

Let's face it, married people fight. No matter how blissfully happy you are, no matter how much you have in common, no matter how good your life is in the bedroom, you are still individual people, and are apt to disagree. In our marriage, we have adopted the mantra of never going to bed angry, and, to tell the truth, we don't have terribly major fights. More often than not, we just irritate one another and nib at each other from time to time. Often, after spending a lot of time with one another, you start to develop your very own secret language. You have special looks, inside jokes, and phrases, while non-sensical to others, that hold a great amount of meaning to you as a couple. Most of our general bickering is halted by a few catch phrases, that, more often than not, make us laugh and forget about the squabbling.

In the early years of our relationship, Mr. Whoo and I seemed to only fight when we were around his buddies. Invariably, early on, this was because one of us was more intoxicated than the other, and that divide between states of consciousness was just not easily bridged. One of our more major fights occured over a Thanksgiving weekend, when 2 of his buddies and their wives came to our house to celebrate Thanksgiving, as we were all too far from our respective families to travel for the weekend. The day after Thanksgiving, all of the boys went outside to throw the football around, leaving us girls to our own devices. It was nearly 11:30 in the morning, so we did the most logical thing; we started drinking wine. We drank and giggled and watched, I think, some dog show on TV for a couple of hours before the guys came back in from playing in the yard. I think they were surprised (and maybe a little miffed) to find us absolutely blitzed in the living room, but whatever. Strike one. We decided to go see one of the Harry Potter movies, and since we were still riding the wave of intoxication, we decided to try to sneak wine into the theater in sport bottles, concealed in bulky coats and purses. We arrived in the theater where I promptly fell asleep (ie. passed out) for the duration of the movie. Strike two. When the movie was over, Mr. Whoo had to jostle me to wake me up, and I decided it was a good idea just to stay in the theater and sleep it off. Strike three. "I'm not going without my Richmond!" my drunken-self proclaimed. What I meant was that I had forgotten my still full sports bottle in the theater. Mr. Whoo, clearly at the end of his rope at this point, refused to let me go back to retrieve the "Richmond." We loaded into the car, where I spat across 2 rows of seats that I was "Sooooo, effing-sorry!" Except I didn't say "efffing," I said the "Queen Mother of all Curse Words." Since it was obvious that I wasn't sorry at all, things went from bad to worse. Our friends, of course, thought that this was hilarious. We finally worked it out, no harm done, but to this day, all sports bottles in our house are "Richmonds" and one way to end a fight and get a good laugh is saying "I'm so efff-ing sorry!"

Other choice phrases in our house to end a fight include the circa-4th grade retort, "You are." (Variations on which include, "You're the one," or "You're the one that is.") "You don't even know." (Thanks to a comic that we both watched once upon a time.) and the very versatile "Suck it," or "You can suck it." The wonderful phrase, "Suck it" was perpetuated by my good friend YogaGirl and her husband, and let me tell you, it is a most amusing way to agree to disagree. When any of the above phrases are uttered, we know to drop the subject, and we can end the conversation with a smile.

Here is a sample Whoo household squabble:
The complaint, "You forgot to put a new roll of toilet paper on the roll (do the dishes, bathe the child, etc.)"
The initial reply, "You're the one that did."
The insistence, "I mean really, how hard is it?"
The volley, "You don't even know!"
The resolution, "You can suck it."
"I'm soooo effing soooorry."

End of fight.

Do any of you have special "fighting words?"


Anonymous said...

In my marriage the "fighting words" are:

"Go to Prague" (vs. hell)
"There's a bean in the bottom." (A riff off of my husband's really stupidly complicated mocha order that, in the small town we lived in at the time, was known by all of the student baristas and even if he wasn't with me they'd say, "Is your husband the one who drives a gray 4-runner and looks like Wolf Blitzer?")

Anonymous said...

Yes! We totally have one! Wilman and I fought on the way home from a night out in the city when we'd had the sense to take the train. On the way back, I was stomping off and he was lingering, and I yelled at him to hurry the hell up (drunkenly, of course), and said, "I'm pissed enough at you already. Let's not make it worse by making me have to come find your dead body on the side of the road tomorrow."

Needless to say, we woke up laughing about it and now, whenever our fights start to cross the line from "bicker" to "fight", one of us will say, "Let's not make it worse..." Heh.

dr. whoo? said...

anon~ Hee! Those are great.

GG~ That is awesome. LOL!

medstudentitis said...

I have to say that my boyfriend and I always come back to calling each other stinky. I'm not sure why... maybe because most of our "arguments" center around him making jokes about me not showering and me taking offense (although, honestly, who likes showering). We also just have to say "stingray" and we laugh because I used to think stingrays could jump out of the water and sting my face (I do not live near an ocean, ok?).

Anonymous said...

I need to write these down. Somehow after nearly 6 years together, we still stink at fighting. We are the masters of turning mountains into molehills, and hubby is the master of the grudge. Last night we had a huge blowout about...Essentially nothing. I started it, he said the hurtful things, I'm over it, I said I'm sorry, and he's basically not talking to me. Someone should have said to go to Prague, and maybe it would have turned into a giggle match instead of what it is. His grudges last for anywhere from half a day to 3 days (those ones stink). Any guesses on this one? I'm hoping for a half day-er...

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh. The grudge is over (5 minutes later, via email). And he even gave me another "good one" to add to your list. Let me give some background - My son really does not like getting a haircut. He is afraid of the clippers, and not very happy about scissors. He had a haircut yesterday and was miserable. I hated that he had such a bad time of it. I said (unrelated to the arguement) that I hated that he had to go through that, and we should just let his hair grow down to the ground. I was joking, but this is how hubby ended the grudge: "our tough spots are like a rough haircut, the only way to get it done is to do it and get through it.. no point in avoiding it and letting the hair grow past your butt"

Fat Doctor said...

When I'm finding him ever-so-irritable and I call him on it, Rev. FD replies, "You're trying to pick a fight. I'm not going to take that bait" That really pisses me off, gotta tell you. Hell yes, I'm picking a fight, so that he might VERBALIZE HIS FEELINGS for a change rather than expecting me to mind read! Geez, Louise, that ticks me off. I'm a yeller, he's a pouter. It's not happy when he's not happy.

dr. whoo? said...

medstudentitis~ So you aren't so keen on showering, hmm? It's so much effort, sometimes! LOL on the stingrays! I bet the whole Steve Irwin thing didn't make you feel any more secure about them, huh?

3carnations~ I am the worst grudge-holder around (seriously, I never forget wrongs, it is really unhealthy of me), but early in our relationship, we vowed not to let the sun set on an argument. Hence the silliness and joking. It seems to neutralize the subject enough to speak about it logically and not so emotionally. Cute about "not letting the hair grow past your butt," I'm glad you are all made up!

FD~ I hear you. Mr. Whoo tends to clam up when he's upset, too. Can you be a yeller and a pouter? I think I am both. I am definitely the one that presses the issues. In my family, we yelled as a manner of communication. Mr. Whoo, however, is very uncomfortable with yelling, and pointed out how upsetting it is to him when I yell. I never thought anything of it before, so I make an effort to tone it down. Crazy Aquarians. :)