Marriage is NOT a battleground

Imagine this:  a marriage or intimate relationship where there has never been an argument or, at the most, a heated discussion that ends with agreeing to disagree. No such thing, you say, but why not? Is it a prerequisite that such relationships must have fights about stuff? It all depends, as the lawyers say.

Most of the time such arguments are about power and control. In Carl Hiaasen’s New York Times Bestseller from the 90’s, STORMY WEATHER, there is a scene early in the book about a newly wed couple who are at Disney World for their honeymoon when the devastating Hurricane Andrew strikes the Miami metro and the husband declares they are going an adventure (to Miami) instead of Epcot to which she responds very negatively.

“Max, I don’t want to do this. Please.”

He gave her stiff, fatherly hug. She knew he was about to speak to her as if she were six years old. “Bonnie,” Max Lamb said to his new wife. “My beautiful little Bonnie, now listen. Disney World we can do anytime. …But how often does a hurricane hit? You heard the weatherman, honey ‘The Storm of the Century,’ he called it. How often does a person get to see something like that!”

Bonnie Lamb couldn’t stand her husband’s lordly tone. She couldn’t stand it so much that she’d have done anything to shut him up.

“All right, Max. Bring me my robe.”

He kissed her noisily on the forehead. “Thatta girl.”

What struck me about this passage, other than the utter absurdity of Max’s attitude and action, is how common such exchanges pass for “marital arguments”.  Anytime there are two people making decisions about anything, I would suggest neither is in control. The results of the conversation have to satisfy each one’s ideas and feelings. Otherwise, start over.

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