My sister texted me on Saturday, saying she and the kids were going to pop by and drop something off.
The benefit of being geographically close to my sister is that she can just pop by when she has something of mine that I need.
The downfall of being geographically close to my sister is that she can just pop by when she has something of mine that I might need, but definitely not at that very moment.
Because at that very moment, I'm in the midst of a fight with Scott.
When we went through our pre-marital counseling, we were asked to think about how we fought. I didn't YELL per se, but rather I'd launch into a full explanation of my thoughts and feelings on the situation and, if Scott was lucky enough to get a word in, I would be already countering his argument before I really knew what it was. Rather than giving us canned suggestions (talking sticks, "I feel" statements), we looked at WHY we fight the way we do.
I feel misunderstood, so I want to make sure he knows all the reasons I'm upset, some of which I don't realize until they're out of my mouth, which often means getting angry over things that aren't really bothering me because something else is.
Scott likes to be able to take the time to pinpoint what he thoughts are, and how to best explain them so he's not misunderstood. His knee-jerk reaction is to immediately apologize and then quietly fester.
Being aware of how we fight has created an interesting dynamic in our fights, with multiple stages to accommodate what each of us needs to communicate and how we need to communicate it. We now have a pattern that allows us both to get what we need.
After Scott let me have a small rant about the illogical placing of cereal boxes on top of potatoes (uh huh, true story), I let him put on a jacket, put on his shoes, and grab the garbage that needed to be taken out in silence. I busied myself with cleaning as he took the long way back, and then crossed paths in the kitchen and talked it out. He was angry that I only seem to notice the 10% of things that aren't put away properly and not the 90% of things that he does. I acknowledged that was true, and a very petty thing to be angry about. Scott asked what I was really angry about, and I said I was stressed at the thought of trying to organize a new house in a way that would work for both of us. He said we'd have to work that one through together, but it would take time.
It wasn't until I went back to continue my text conversation with my sister (I had last sent her: "Not now - Scott's not talking to me" and she tried her best to not seem horrified) that I realized how we
fight isn't symptomatic of how angry we are, but symptomatic of how much
we actually care for each others' needs. Even when we're at each others' throats, we take the time to give each other what we need, because we always have each others' backs.