“What is the dumbest thing you and your partner have ever fought about?”
My husband and I dated in high school, then for a year in college, and then again in our 30s which is when we’d finally get engaged and then married. We have a LOT of time to pull from when it comes to ridiculous fights. I think our most fanstastically stupid fights have come since we’ve been married. There was the one about dish towels, innumerable fights over where to eat for dinner, and the one over women in the military (trust me, that was a seriously dumb one).
But the best one was the fight we had because we didn’t have a fight.
Yeah. You read that right. We fought because we didn’t fight.
And it was all over our first baby’s name. I’m not even kidding.
We’d been going back and forth about names for a few weeks. He was settled on one, I was settled on another. Neither of us was going to budge. Then he went to Florida for a couple weeks from training and I spent the time alone thinking about the name he liked. I decided that I liked it too, but only if it could be combined with a super girly middle name. And the middle name we were set on wasn’t girly enough so I chose a second middle name. I had a whole dissertation prepared so that I could convince him to go along with my double middle name plan so that he could have the first name he wanted. I was ready for our evening phone call that night and nervously brought up the subject of our baby’s name.
“So I have a new name suggestion. ”
I told him. And before I could launch into the littany of reasons I had for why this was the perfect name, he interrupted me and said:
“It’s perfect! I love it! You have a male name and two middle names and now so will she!”
That’s when the fight started. I started yelling and crying about how he didn’t even give me a chance to tell him why the name was so perfect! I’m pretty sure he was laughing hysterically on the other end of the phone. There’s really no reason for him not to have been. It was the first (and only) time I went off the rails during my entire pregnancy. And I just completely lost it.
After I’d finished laying into him about how mad I was, he said to me, “So what you’re saying is that you’re mad that we didn’t fight even though you go what you wanted anyway?”
Yes. That’s exactly what I was saying. I think I hung up on him.
It was absolutely ridiculous. I have no explanation for why that conversation went the way it did except that I was very pregnant.
I’m still not sure if there’s a lesson to be learned in all of that. All I know is that whenever we think back about that fight, we laugh. Maybe that’s the lesson. That most fights we’re going to have during our marriage probably aren’t going to be that big of a deal. We’ll probably look back on the majority of them and just laugh at how silly we were being. There are fights worth having and hills worth dying on. But largely, I’m learning it’s important to pick my fights wisely. There are a lot of things we do that drive each other crazy, but pretty much none of those things are worth picking a fight over.
Fighting is a thing that happens; fighting fair is a skill that must be learned. And marriage provides a bit of trial-by-fire in that regard. Not everything is a mountain. Not everything can be. That would just be exhausting. Better to save our energy for the things that really matter. Better yet to save our energy for laughing.