Monday, September 5, 2011

The Art of War and Marriage

There is a Ziploc bag in our freezer which contains raspberries. Usually we try to freeze these raspberries in such a way that they freeze separately and don't stick together. But some of the raspberries have formed huge clumps and are ruining all the fruit-filled fun. Ever since these clumps started forming I have been dodging them in secret hopes that Julie will break down and eat them so I don't have to. Today, as we were both getting some raspberries, she said to me, "Will you eat those raspberry clumps already?" She had been doing the same thing that I was doing. We had been waging a secret war over who would eat the raspberry clumps. (Can we take a second to acknowledge how weird it is that "raspberry" has a "p" in it?)

Fighting secret wars is the best thing about marriage. Okay, maybe not the best, let's be serious, but it's probably second. The great thing about secret wars is that there is no limit to how many you can fight simultaneously. Here are a few secret wars Julie and I have waged in the past:

1. Who will break down first and take out the trash bag that smells mysteriously nasty? This is a war we are currently waging. I just took the trash out a few days ago. There is hardly anything in there and yet it smells like Charlie Sheen and the plague had a baby and it died in our trash can. Better dig your heels in, Julie, we're in for a long one.

2. Who will suck it up and drink the last pulpy half glass of OJ in the jug? Even if you get "no pulp" orange juice, there remains a pulpy portion of the OJ and a thinner portion. When the jug is at rest, the pulpy part resides on the bottom and the thin part chills up top. This is why you have to shake the jug before you pour. In our house, we both like the thin part. It's delicious. It's like biting into the freshest orange that has ever existed. In fact, the fruit that got Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden was probably an orange that tasted just like the thinner portion of an unshaken jug of OJ. It's that good. It's so good that one of the Rowes has been known to not shake the jug of OJ at all in order to get a full glass of the thin stuff, leaving more thick stuff to the sucker who lovingly shakes it every time. I'll leave it to you to figure out who the sucker is. But regardless of how often the jug gets shaken, at the very end of it all, when there's a glass or less left, it's all the thick stuff. You pretty much have to resign yourself to chewing that last half glass of OJ. That's a secret war oft repeated in our house.

3. Who will give in and initiate conversation/apologize after a fight? To be honest, Julie and I don't really fight, at least not in the traditional sense. Neither of us are yellers (well, I'm a happy/excited yeller, but not an angry yeller). When we get upset with one another, we typically just clam up and wait it out. If it's something serious, like drinking a full glass of unshaken, gloriously thin OJ, one of us eventually breaches the topic and we talk it through. Sometimes a little space and a bit of a breather is a good chance to cool off and think...about just how wrong the other person is...JK, JK. While a bit of time is good in some situations, there comes a point when I know I'm just being stubborn. Being the first one to say something is like admitting that I'm wrong, you know? So I'd rather just stew in my secret war than make peace. I'd rather cling to my notion of being right than initiate reconciliation. How silly is that?

I think we all wage secret wars. Sometimes the secret war is being waged by both parties and sometimes it's one-sided and the other person has no idea. Some of them are just kind of humorous but others really put a barrier between us and others. What's your secret war? What's keeping you from making peace?