Friday, July 23, 2010

Friendly Fire

Friendly Fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death, and though it doesn't really say so in the official definition, it seems to happen more in marriage than it does on the battlefield.  Well, the injury part - not the death part so much...

I recently had a "row" with my spouse, and after the smoke had cleared, and everyone had a chance to explain, we realized that due to bad communication, (and some situations out of context), we had turned our emotional guns on each other.

After a heated discussion over lunch, we left each other in a huff.  We are both of us rather stubborn individuals, and not likely to concede in a battle where we feel we are RIGHT.  That's what you want in a good lawyer, and it's what a good lawyer wants in a freaking awesome wife.  While stubbornness has its place in not getting walked on, the best lawyers are also the best diplomats.

After our little tiff then I was surprised that he asked me out to dinner. Texted me, actually.  Being married to a lawyer, I felt the need to be mentally prepared with logical arguments backing up my sound reasoning, and wasn't quite sure what I was in for.  But I knew that, by gum, if a ship was going down, it wasn't going to be my own.  After a toe-to-toe afternoon, I was ready for ROUND 2! *ding!*

So, it was surprising to learn that the conflict was actually a struggle at work. An insane work week filled with lots and lots of stress. He apologized for unloading on me - I had felt the full force of the blast, but the conflict had originated elsewhere.   A stupid comment from the night before had lit the powder-keg, and instead of turning our guns on the source, we had turned our guns on each other.

Pat Benatar croons that Love is a Battlefield, and in many ways it is.  The minute you get married, the world starts trying to tear you apart. Work wants all of you, children want all of you, and with what is left over, sustaining life takes its share in the form of cars, bills, and mortgages.  Grocery shopping, planning, kiddie care, lawn mowing and laundry also exact their due. What is left is usually two ragged and tired people. And the love that blossomed so easily while dating becomes ridiculously hard to keep growing!  Its far easier to snap at each other, blame, and point out faults. 

Unless.  Unless you do as Joshua Chamberlain told 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment when they were in a tight spot at Gettysburg and, "Fix Bayonets!".  During the Civil War, the men of the 20th Maine were up against the rocks of Little Round Top, outnumbered by the Confederates with nowhere to retreat. It was imperative to keep it together.

You see, if the Union line broke, the Confederates (red) would literally divide the Union army (blue) and conquer; surrounding the Union armies on both sides. (As shown in this lovely little pic -->)

After 3-4 hours of heated combat, the 20th Maine ran out of ammo.  With no means of being supplied, Col. Chamberlain hollered for the men, up and down the line, to ready themselves with nothing but the bayonet on the end of their musket, and to fight like hell. Which they did.  The Confederates never got behind that line.

No whinin', complainin' or nit pickin'. It was time to focus on the task at hand, the enemy at hand, and get the job done.  Marriage is like that sometimes.  There are "things"coming at you left, right and center with not enough time, energy, or money to easily deal with it.  And what a surprise that maturity is not always commensurate with age. (I'm pretty sure y'all would have thought our arguments were pretty stupid and petty.)   But if you let it, wisdom and experience will give you a birds-eye view of certain conflicts, and help you get the higher ground so you at least have a shot at a good outcome.
So, after a lovely dinner at the Texas Roadhouse, we did just that.  We walked around the grounds of the Timpanogos Temple.  We talked.  We strategized.  We listened to each other and exposed our weaker sides.  Now we know what to cover.  And our ship is not going down.

We are "fixing bayonets", identifying the true enemy, and we will not let anything divide us.  My dad told me something about how lucky he felt to marry my mom because, "She's the one you want with you in the fox hole!"

I always thought that was terribly unromantic, but wisdom has shown me how true it is, and how valuable to sustaining a marriage.  And I want my honey in the fox hole with me.  We are better together than we are apart, and he has got my back - and I have his.  So long as we keep our guns pointed in the right direction, we have a good chance of surviving this life long enough to enjoy it. So, "Fix Bayonets" baby, here we go.


Danika said...

I miss your blog posts, mostly because they are always spot on and usually what I need to hear and be reminded of!

Erika said...

Awwwww....that was superb. I too needed that...and had a similar experience with my better half recently. Thanks for putting it all in perfect black and white...I think I will send this around to all my married acquaintances if you don't mind.

Glad you're back...

Or at least that I'm back from my crazy summer to be able to read them!

MMW said...

Okay lady...I've FB'd you, and now I'm trying this. We'll be in YOUR home area next week. MUST. GET. TOGETHER. okay? email or FB me back. I need to coordinate our times.

Hope all is well with kiddos back to school.

xoxo MMW