In my marriage, there are a couple of 'issues' which crop up again, and again, and then once again, just in case we'd forgotten. I suspect other marriages also have their own recurring conflicts. (If not, we are in deep trouble!)
Sometimes I find it depressing how nothing seems to change. Sometimes I find it vaguely comforting....here we go again, where I say 'blah blah', and he says 'dum de dum'. Mostly, I just accept that two people can never live together in perfect harmony, and that we both do try to make each other happy. We may not get it right all the time, but mostly we do. Our arguments have become less frequent and less heated over time.
Something that has always driven me crazy is when Fatty doesn't listen to me. It wearies me even to tell you the details, so often have I tried to explain to this dear man what I would like from him. It is all rather like shouting into a gale-force wind! The fact is, I am fascinated by people, and love to hear their thoughts and feelings, whereas my beloved husband is fascinated by IPods, birds, football, and composting bins. Hence, my chosen topics of conversation often bore him silly.
One night, not so long ago, I spoke to Fatty about how I had realised how I had judged someone too quickly. (I had met the mother of one of Laura's school friends, found her to be a bit bossy and gossipy, and decided she was not someone I wanted to spend any time with. In time, I discovered she was an incredibly thoughtful and generous person, with a huge heart). I was amazed by the lesson I had learnt from being too quick to judge - I thought what I was discussing was terribly interesting. Fatty, on the other hand, was showing his ennui in no uncertain terms - yawning, lying staring up at the ceiling, making no response other than an occasional disinterested 'mmm' or 'uh-huh'.
When I finally snapped, and told Fatty how awful it made me feel to have him barely bothering to interact with me, he explained in not-so-many-words that what I was talking about bored him (my husband is nothing if not honest). He was not trying to make me feel bad, he continued, it was just that the subject matter left a lot to be desired. WELL. In my steeliest voice, I replied that not all conversation was for the sole purpose of entertaining him. I suggested that he would never treat a stranger in the street in that way.
We talked it through, and I admitted maybe I don't sound riveted, either, when he talks about who's been injured in his favourite football team. We are different, and that is part of the attraction. I conceded I would try to pick my moments - for example not chatting away merrily at bedtime (but why can't I? It's so much fun; just like a sleepover!). Fatty decided he would try to show more interest in my thoughts and feelings. He vowed to .... drum-roll..... start reading my blog! (yes, folks, my posts are eminently accessible to my life partner yet he NEVER reads them)
So now, my dearest Fatty, I am checking to see how you're going with that resolution of yours. The signal that you've read my words will be this - when we go to bed tonight, whistle the call of the magpie softly into my ear.
I can hardly wait.