Arguing is a Part of Being Together

In these bizarre times, possibly hanging out with our partners 24/7, we may be starting to crawl up the walls. What to do? Nothing rash that’s for sure. It’s likely to pass.

Speaking of partnerships, my parents are peas in a pod, but one is green and and other is kind of purple. They are much alike in many ways — philosophically for sure — but starkly opposite in others.

Growing up there was little if any arguing between them. How is that possible? Surely that can’t be true? But it is. My mother would tell my father in a loud voice how things were going to be done and my father did the opposite, without any retort or noticeable demeanour of being infringed upon. He was completely placid and supposedly at one with his inner-self (of course the inner-self wasn’t invented back then so I can only guess).

That was the first 17 years of my life until I left home and it’s pretty much how things are going on right now as I write. However now it’s all toned down several notches as my mother has mellowed with her demands about how Norm should eat more slowly, fix the clothes line etc etc.

If you live with someone you will argue with them unless you are like my father who has never argued a point in his life, at least when he is with other people. Maybe he argues with himself when he is tinkering out in the shed. Who knows what Norm gets up to. It’s a mystery to all.

People say that being married and living with another member of the human race is hard work. That is why I think marriage should be avoided or you should marry someone from another planet. Some of us swear we have. God’s bloody truth.

In fact marriage should be banned really. Marriage makes partnerships that much harder as you have this whole labelled consummation to enact — it can become a tiring performance. Also, if you are not married and you separate, you don’t have to worry about the wedding photos. Anyway weddings are just funerals with an expensive cake (I don’t know where I read that but it’s a pearler).

My partner and I have been together for 25 years or so — we argue about how long it’s been (discuss actually — there is a big difference is there not?). One would think it’s just a matter of adding up some dates, but alas when one has opinions things are not so simple.

Many years ago Fiona got me to sign a note after one of our arguments (see picture; I signed with my first given name — Chris). Of course I signed it because it was hilariously funny. And that’s a big point in this piece. Humour is the key in a relationship. Not love, not respect, not trust, not who takes the bins out, who changes the diapers or gives the dog a bath. It’s humour. If you haven’t got that then you’re doomed.

So if I was a shrink and I was seeing a couple about their relationship problems (challenges), the first question I would ask is:” Do you laugh together often”? If the answer is no then my emphatic response, as you lie all vulnerable on the couch of confession is: “It’s curtains. Forget it. Save some money, I can’t help you”.

Okay I admit, if you don’t have love and respect and trust and half a dozen other vital ingredients then it’s probably doomed as well. May as well shack up with a dog or a budgie. No arguments there. It’s easy. Comfortable. Safe. A bit dull maybe but you won’t have to put up with the man in bed next to you farting and stinking the place out — at least the dog can be put outside (notice how I said ‘man’ — women don’t fart apparently. Not sure how that works for gay couples?).

People who avoid interpersonal relationships are essentially avoiding conflict or some kind of friction. Because let’s face it, if you revel in conflict you could live with anyone. And I don’t necessarily mean conflict in terms of being overtly combative. It could be silent, emotional, abrasive conflict. So if you absolutely hate conflict of any kind then it’s near impossible to live with someone. Or you may live in the same house with them but you won’t see each other; except at an airport somewhere, or at Christmas, or some other special occasion where you are forced to hang out in the dining room.

But let’s get back to arguing. Arguing is not wanting to relinquish control. If you don’t have to be in control then there is no argument; there is no opinion or position to defend (see ‘Norm’ above). But there are some things; precious things, sacred things; we just won’t compromise on. So at times we may need to argue our position. That’s natural. That’s normal. It’s part of being with someone. But most of what we argue about is of no consequence to the greater good of ourselves and humanity. It’s just superfluous nonsense. We truly do not need it. Give it up.

So if the gaseous fumes get too much and you do kick him (her?) out, then that’s probably a wise action to take. This is not something you will compromise on. In fact none of us need to sign up for any type of conflict or friction if we choose not to. As after all, life should not be about putting up with things. We have choices. We don’t come together for life, we come together for spiritual growth. And I believe a big part of spiritual growth is feeling freedom in our hearts and we are not free if we feel shackled to another person with a perpetual devastating miasma in the bedroom.

Okay, so you are in a relationship; the conflict gets too much, your freedoms are curtailed, and you feel you absolutely must leave — then leave. However these are extraordinary times. If the distress is bubbling up as we are bunkered in — then you may want to pause, take a deep breath (but not too deep as to render you unconscious) and hang on for a bit before you decide to cross the Rubicon or not.

View James Wild products at Quiet Earth

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