Thursday, April 02, 2009

Marriage, the Institution of the Fights?

As we were sitting down at the kitchen table playing a hand of cards, grandma accused grandpa of cheating. Grandpa with a big grin on his face denied it vigorously. For the next few minutes, they had a little playful set to while I sat back in my chair trying to hold back a laugh. Grandpa finally put the card he was hiding up on the table but still denying he cheated since he had never used the card yet.

At the sight of this a thought came into my head and I said that there was one thing that I’ve never seen them do that seemed to be common among the parents of my classmates, have a real fight. Grandpa looked at me with a startled look then he let out the loudest "GUFFAW" and told grandma that this was hers to deal with. Grandma just chuckled as she nodded then with a twinkle in her eye said,

“ Boy, it’s a good thing you weren’t around when we were first married. Your grandfather slept out in the barn quite a few times. He didn’t sleep there because he preferred sleeping with the animals either. We had a few real good battles, even put a couple of dents into my best iron skillet as it felt the back of his head.

Then again, before we were married, I had a reputation of not taking any nonsense from the boys that asked me out on a date. Got to where all the boys were afraid of asking me out. Then along came your grandfather. He assured me that he wasn’t afraid of the reputation I had and even went so far as to tell me he hoped that what he heard was true. Said he needed someone like that to keep him on the straight and narrow.

Well, anyway, one day I was jumping all over your grandfather’s tail because he forgot to do something that day. It was a day I’ll always remember too. When I got finished chewing him out good he just looked at me and said,

‘ I love you and need you.’

Then he just turned without saying another word and walked out of the house.

As I was looking out the window I saw him doing what he had forgotten to do and as I watched him thoughts of what he said to me went through my head. I knew he loved me, that was never doubted. It was what he said with it, that he needed me that got me to thinking.

My thoughts went back to what my mother told me one day. She said, ‘Marriage, girl, is a special and unique union between a man and a woman. Marriage isn’t as much about love as it is about need. A man marries a woman because he has needs that only a woman can fulfill. A woman marries a man for the same reason. She has needs that only a man can fulfill. In the unity of marriage there is a fulfillment of these needs that cannot be found in any other relationship.’

My thoughts then went back to the day of our wedding. I remembered those two words that we said to each other. I realized that those two small words were probably the two biggest words I would ever say for they were words of a vow, words declaring a promise.

At that moment, I renewed that vow. I knew then, I wanted to keep that promise that I made to your grandfather. I made a promise to myself to fulfill those needs and to do so without thought of my own. I also made a promise to myself to trust in your grandfather to fulfill mine. As time went by, I found that my trust growing deeper each day. Your grandfather fulfilled them as he promised and even found some needs that even I did not know I had.

Now, don’t get me wrong, boy, that day did not end our fighting. We still have our fights but those fights now have a different tone and meaning. They have given greater meaning to what we have and to what we are to each other. One more thing changed on that day. Each fight we have now will always end with one of us saying,

‘I love and need you.’

Then she chuckled as she ended by saying, “So, boy, you see that we are just as normal as the parents of your friends.”

Grandpa only responded by giving a great big “HUMPH!!!!!" then with feigned contempt of the last words she said he added, "Girl, you are not normal. You always were and still are the best of the bunch and that is why I married you.”

I busted out laughing and couldn’t help the feeling of warmth growing within me at knowing that these two persons were my grandparents.


Karen Howes said...

Nice, Griper. This reminds me of the fights MY parents had when they first go married. My mom had a terrible temper, and on one occassion thew dinner plates at Dad. Thankfully he had fast ducking reflexes, ha.

The Griper said...

he smiled. and they say that women are the weaker sex huh? lol

tweetey30 said...

That is awsome to think of people saying those things. I know when Jeff and I fight its hard to stay mad esp after 13 years. I have to admit when we first got together I did throw a vacuum cleaner at Jeff. LOL. Now its funny but wasnt at the time because he threw it back at me.. I had a bad habit of throwing things but now it come to slamming doors or other things.

BB-Idaho said...

As we might expect, there are those
who study marriage spats and have developed a formal protocol for the conduct of such. Of course us old
folks naturally figured this out somewhere in the process. One time,
I was so furious, I stalked out of the house. It was 25 below...and I cooled off fairly quickly..:)

Lista said...

Sounds like your Grandparents are very much in love.

The Griper said...

yes, BB, that is called experience and she is a fine teacher of protocol. lol

then he just winks at lista. you'd think so wouldn't you?

Gayle said...

This is a beautiful post, Griper.

Walt and I have mellowed out over the years too. Especially me. Boy, do I have a volatile temper, but I've learned to control it most of the time.

I threw an entire roast at Walt straight out of the oven. It was a roasting pan full of not only a large roast, but potatoes, onions and carrots. What a mess! Then I stormed out of the house. Walt saved what he could by picking it up, washing it off and reheating it. When I returned home he had eaten, washed the dishes and said as though nothing had even happened: "Dinner was delicious. Sorry you missed it, hon!" That was the worst (and the best) thing he could have said. Made me feel really ridiculous, and even though he had started the argument by shouting at me, I had totally overreacted... and to top it off I was hungry. Served me right. Girls and young women can be such drama queens! LOL!

We've been married 50 years last December and in all that time we've never gone to sleep mad at each other, so I guess that says something. We still have disagreements from time to time, but I haven't thrown anything in years. At least not at Walt. Got a would-be burglar with the contents of a boiling pot of coffee though! :)

The Griper said...

He grins at gayle. sounds like i brought back some good memories of past bad events to everyone with this post but a post everyone really enjoyed reading.

life sure has a funny way of teaching us lessons at times doesn't it?

Lista said...

Ray and I too had some really difficult years at the beginning, almost to the point of resulting in divorce, but we got past it. You just can't keep fighting indefinitely. It's just too tiring to keep doing so.

Only once did I break something by slamming it against the counter. Ray thought that was so childish, yet it's not as if I've ever thrown anything at him. We're both pretty even tempered, but that doesn't mean that there aren't times in which I can feel quite angry.

The Griper said...

as do we all, lista. i have chosen to describe those times as times of frustration with myself rather than anger at another.

Average American said...

Griper, you come from good stock! Of course, we already knew that. It is so true, what Grandma said about need, it is just as important to a good relationship as love.

Lista said...

I find that when I'm "Frustrated with Myself" too much of the time, I go into Depression. This has been called by Psychologists "Anger Turned Inward" and is no more healthy than Anger at another.

So often people say that we should not point fingers at other people, yet when we are continually pointing those same fingers at ourselves, it causes Self-Esteem Problems. It is just as unhealthy to always be blaming ourselves as it is to always be blaming other people. Usually the blame is shared by both of the involved parties and not only one. That's why we have the saying "There is plenty of blame to go around."

Griper and Average American,
The issue of Need is the exact issue that makes Romantic Love and Agape' Love different. Agape' Love is the Love that is talked about the most in the Bible and it means Love for all Mankind. When Jesus said that we are to Love one another, what he is really saying is that we are to Love everyone.

One mistake that has been made in relation to the question "How do we know when we are in love?" is that "You know when you care about the person more than you do about yourself." Actually this isn't true. We only care about them because there is something about them that we personally need.

The idea of caring about another more than oneself is more of a description of Agape' than of Romance, for we are instructed to react this way towards all people. Love isn't truly unconditional until you are able to feel that way about a stranger who is a bum on the street.

Another common mistake in relation to Romantic love is when it has been said that "It is not a feeling, but an action." Again this is more a description of Agape', than of Romance and we are again instructed to feel, or actually act this way towards everyone, not just our spouse.

Lista said...

Romance, though, involves not only generous and kind actions, but also sex. Have you ever tried having sex when the Feelings aren't there? When Sex is just an Action and not a Feeling, it can be pretty Empty and a Marriage in which there is only Kind Actions, but no Feelings is quite Empty as well.

This makes me think of one of the songs from the Musical "Fiddler on the Roof". When Tevye sings the song "Do You Love Me", Golde responses to it by saying "Do I What!?" and then later, she goes on to say "For 25 years, I've Washed your clothes, Cooked your meals, Cleaned your house, Given you children, Milked the cow; After twenty-five years, Why talk about love right now?"

And then still later, she says "For 25 years, I've Lived with him, Fought with him, Starved with him, Twenty-five years my bed is his. If that's not love, what is?"

The song is really cute and ends when them both concluding that they do in fact love each other, yet every time I hear Golde's run down of what she thinks Romantic Love is, I feel like yelling at the top of my lungs "Romantic Love is Sex, you idiot!?". Without Romantic Feelings, Kind and Loving Actions are both Lonely and Empty and are very hard to keep continually doing.

Here are the complete lyrics to the song I'm describing.

Do You Love Me?


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