Let’s get my compulsion to be fair out of the way. I hurt Z all the time. In fact, I’ve written about it before. This isn’t about keeping score, it’s about how we try to pick our way through a long term marriage. It’s what is on my mind today, and I write about what is on my mind. Isn’t it fortunate that you aren’t married to me?
If I started writing this right after our fight last night the post would be a hell of a lot bleaker. I was so hurt and angry when I went to bed I could only see the bad-how fights seem to happen right before he leaves for a few days, how the same hurts happen over and over again, how it is easier to hurt each other than face disappointing other people in our lives. But I wasn’t being fair to him or to myself.
Five years ago if he hurt me I would have thought of the meanest thing possible and said it to him. I didn’t do that last night. Five years ago if he hurt me and he knew he hurt me he would have gotten defensive about it and pretended it was my fault. He didn’t do that last night. A year ago I would have talked the thing to death-explained exactly how he hurt me over and over again from every different angle possible. I didn’t do that. A year ago he wouldn’t have agreed to address the situation and try to change it, he would have told me to get over it. And he didn’t do that.
During a fight it is hard to remember all the hard work we’ve done. Almost 15 years in and I’m still shocked by our capacity to hurt each other. And we do need to work to prevent that hurt in the first place, I’m not excusing either of our bad behavior. At the same time we aren’t perfect. We are going to hurt each other. A lot. For years the hurt was all that mattered to me-I raked both him and me over the coals for causing it and didn’t pay attention at all to what happened after-how we were both behaving in a way that made things worse.
We are trying. Sometimes we mess up, but it feels like we are succeeding more than we are failing these days. I love him. He loves me. We both appreciate how fragile this marriage gig is-I’m grateful that we are willing to continue to fight to keep it. It’s the one fight I don’t mind having.