My wife and I really don’t argue. I define arguments this way: one person strongly believes the opposite thing as the other one, and neither one is willing to budge. This almost never happens to us because Bridget is passionate about everything, and I’m passionate about nothing, so I usually just let her do what she wants. In our twenty-one years of marriage, we’ve really only argued three times.
I know it’s not right to keep score on these things, but the score is now 2-1.
Our first big argument was about living in the suburbs versus the city. I really, really wanted to stay in the city. I was working downtown on a morning radio show, and the thought of losing the convenience of my three minute commute to work was something I couldn’t imagine. It wasn’t until our first son Tommy was nearly a year old (five years after we were married) that I finally buckled. Bridget won the argument. I’m glad she did too. I’ve never regretted moving to the suburbs a single time.
Our second big argument was about Catholic school versus public school. Bridget went to Catholic school and felt very strongly that her children should also attend. I was a public school kid and didn’t understand why we would pay a fortune to send our kids to a private school when we lived in a very good school district. I eventually won, but not before we sent Tommy to Catholic kindergarten. Within a few months we discovered that he needed additional services a Catholic school simply couldn’t provide, so Bridget grudgingly went along with moving him to a public school. And she has never regretted the move. All three of our boys are proud public school kids.
After ten years of marriage, the score was tied. 1-1.
Our third big argument, the tie-breaker, concerned replacing the siding on our house. We have argued about aspects of this for the past decade or so. Bridget wanted to replace it, and her cheapo husband didn’t want to do it. Then, once I came to grips with the need to replace it, I absolutely refused to change the color. I have no idea why I fought this so strongly, because as you can see, I’ve only fought about two other things in the past twenty years, but I just couldn’t imagine changing the color.
Whatever my reasoning was these past few years, in a moment of weakness a few weeks ago, I buckled. She was ready for this; more ready than I’ve ever seen her. Before I had a chance to reconsider, she had picked out a new color, booked the workers, and had that new siding up on our house.
It went a little something like this…
“You know, I guess it’s OK if we change the color”
“Great. It’s changed. Look at your new house.”
I’ll admit I was ready to hate it. I figured it would be one of those things I would bring up for the rest of our lives. She may have won the argument, but I was going to make her pay for pushing me so hard for no reason. But when I’m wrong, I’m wrong. I’ll admit it. It looks fantastic.
So now, after twenty one years of marriage, the scoreboard reads Bridget 2—Rick 1.
And I’m perfectly fine with that. I’m hoping it’s not even half-time of this marriage, which means I’ve got plenty of time to tie this baby back up again. Next time I won’t make an unforced error fighting for something I don’t even believe in. Next time it will be about something really important, something essential, something that is truly worth the fight.
Like upgrading my Cubs season ticket plan.