Saturday, December 08, 2007

Delving into other territory

In general, it's my policy to avoid blogging about my marriage, or at least to do so in vague, superficial areas. Members of his family and mine read here, and, at least in that arena, discretion is the better part of staying happily married.

Last night, however, we got one of those date nights. The kids had been hounding us to let them go to "Freedom Friday" at a local church. Have you heard of these things? A seemingly unlimited number of children (no reservation is required) show up around 6:30 (or have stayed over from the church's afterschool childcare program), pay $15, and skate, do karaoke, watch movies, play basketball, play video games, and generally run amok. (They also can buy pizza and snacks for quite reasonable prices.) The only rule is that parents must pick them up by 11:00 p.m. (I bet there are other rules, but I really didn't see much evidence of that.)

So we had a few hours to spend doing stuff that kids aren't allowed to do. Like see rated R movies. Well, one movie. December is prime movie season, so there were several films out that I was more than willing to see. Craig selected the newest Stephen King adaptation, "The Mist."

We were a split panel. He thought it was great. I thought it needed a lot of editing. An hour in, I was restless. An hour and a half in, I was ready to leave. When it was over, I was delighted. The final credits gave me information that I think was important to what I thought the film's failings were caused by: the same person wrote the screenplay, directed, and produced the film. Equally important to me was that the film was based on a novella. As in "short novel." The movie was fully two hours. Not short.

I'm not going to spend any more time bashing the movie. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great. I've seen plenty better, but I wasn't mad or cranky about not liking it. (I was, however, quite sure that Craig was kidding when he told me he thought it was great. I finally realized he wasn't.)

But what happened next was interesting. It didn't last long, but we had a pretty loud argument. My screenplay of said argument:

Me: So, should we pick up the kids now?
Him: You don't want to eat?
Me: I'm not really hungry. Are you?
Him (louder): I haven't eaten anything! And you just want to pick up the kids!
Me (louder): That's cool, we can go eat. Do you want to go to Huey's?
Him (even louder): You said you wanted to pick up the kids and go home!
Me: ???
Him: You don't care that I'm hungry and you want to go home!
Me (quite loud): WTF???
Him: You haven't cared about anything we did all night!! You just said whatever to anything I suggested!!
Me: Dude, I just effing suggested that we eat at Huey's!! And I told you that there are like five movies I wanted to see so I didn't care which one we saw!! Eff!!!
long, long silence...about four blocks of driving

Me (coldly): Do you want to go to Huey's?
Him: Whatever.
long silence, punctuated by a few random curses by me

Him (softer): So are we going to be in a fight the rest of the night?
Me: Whatever.
shorter silence

Him: I'm sorry I...
Me: It's okay.

And, scene.

So, what was the magic word?

I bet you can guess. I love it when he apologizes when he's been a butthead.

But I'm pretty sure the whole argument happened because we were a split panel on the movie. He and I have been together are entire adult lives (we were 17 and 19 when we started dating), and we inform each other's taste. While he has a broader range of appreciation for movies and music than I do, it's rare that we're such a split panel (unless it's a romantic comedy, a genre for which I have a weakness, but I'll still admit that it's mostly crap....deeply enjoyable crap to watch, but crap nonetheless). And I think when we do have divergent opinions, it can cause tension. Maybe because it's so rare that it flips us out that we're not 100% soulmates. In fact, when I look back at our almost-15 years of marriage, I see that most of our big fights were because we couldn't figure out why we had a divergence of opinion.

I also see that most of them were solved, completely solved, by two words.

We don't need to apologize for disagreeing. Good heavens, how boring we would be if we agreed all the time. Heck, we often vote differently in major elections. But we do need to remember that a surprising difference of opinion is not a bad thing. It doesn't chip away at our marriage. It needs to be honored, celebrated, that we, as two distinct individuals, can still be together.

But I'm picking the movie next time.


Melissa said...

Personally I get REALLY cranky when I'm hungry. That can cause problems.

Stacey Greenberg said...

interesting--i think you are on to something here.

but i also there is nothing i love more than seeing a movie by myself. then it is always my choice and there's no one else's opinion to worry about!

warren and i saw no country for old men on saturday and it was awesome!

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