Leading up to their wedding a couple tends to get a lot of advice (usually unsolicited) about marriage and relationships and how to be happy. The groom is told that a “happy wife is a happy life,” and to “just say yes dear,” and as a bride I was told to “not sweat the small stuff.” While we tried to assert that we’d be just fine and we knew what we were getting into, married couples had a knowing, smug look that seemed to pat our heads and say “Of course you do, you silly, young couple.”
It was as if there was some sort of impending, pivotal shift that would occur after we were married and only they knew the full extent of what would happen. We assured ourselves that we would never be one of those couples who bickered, argued over the remote control and stopped cuddling every night. We would be different. We would be in a permanent honeymoon phase. Who could have imagined I’d be sleeping in the guest room in six months, furious over Christopher Columbus?
Howie and I have what I like to call a healthy sort of communication style that can be teasing at times. I like to complain about his permanent cow-lick and lack of hair gel while he likes to pretend to get mad about me tasting some of his food when we eat out. It just works for us. Sometimes I find we might push the teasing limits a little bit, like when I made a comment about his muscles not seeming as big as when he played hockey (that was a mistake). But all in all, we usually know when to pull the brakes on our little banter.
Then one night we were lying in bed talking about various things, places we’d like to travel, and things we’d like to discover, and somehow (don’t even ask me how) the topic of the European discovery of North America came up. I was convinced that Christopher Columbus came to the Americas way before Jacques Cartier started fishing off the coast of Newfoundland (I’m Canadian eh?) while Howie was convinced Cartier made the trip before Columbus.
The problem with Howie and I is that we can both be “right-fighters,” meaning, we both love to be right, even if it’s at the cost of peace.
Cheryl: Howie are you serious? Columbus was in America WAY before Cartier went to Newfoundland! I can’t believe you!
Howie: Seriously Cheryl? You minored in history! How can you think that?! Cartier was first and it was around the same time period!
Cheryl: You are SO ANNOYING! I can’t believe you don’t believe me!
Howie: I’M ANNOYING?! I can’t believe you don’t trust the guy who majored in history!
(And on it goes)
It got to the point where I was so peeved off that I couldn’t sleep until I had proven him wrong. So I got my BlackBerry and started googling the respective explorers.
Cheryl: A HA! I WAS RIGHT! Cartier was in 1497 and Columbus in 1492! A HA!
Howie: Okay Cheryl, it was like five years apart, I told you it was around the same time, Columbus wasn’t WAY before.
Cheryl: Five years is a long time Howie!
Howie: (Quietly) Tell me about it I’ve been with your for nine!
Cheryl: What was that?
Howie: I said five years isn’t long between 1492 and 1497! It’s the same time!
Cheryl: Augh! I can’t stand this! Why can’t you just admit you were wrong!?
Howie: I will when I’m actually wrong.
Eventually I had worked myself up into such a huffy that I refused to sleep next to a man who couldn’t admit when I was right. I grabbed my pillow and stormed off to the guest room. After a few moments, I stared up at the ceiling and thought, “What am I doing?”
How was I seriously so mad over Christopher Columbus? Why did I care so much about proving Howie wrong? What was the point of that whole argument? The more I contemplated these things the more I realized what a pair of nutcases we were. Was this really worth sleeping in separate beds over? I think not.
So I casually slipped back into our bed, and just as I was about to say, “Love you babe” Howie leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Let’s never discuss Columbus again.”
Agreed. Some things are so not worth arguing over, especially in the bedroom.
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a ridiculous argument and thought, how did we get here?
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Liked this post? Check out the Modern Wife Guide to fighting fair