Sunday, November 18, 2007

How Our Love Grew Up

I have known for a long time that Marcie and I had something incredibly good. We had fire in our relationship, and our life was always oscillating between a perfect mix of volatility and stability and a perfect storm of them.

That heady blend is likely equally due to the fact that we both had passion, including tempers, and the element of luck, in that our love was stronger than the heat we generated. But, oooh, it got hot sometimes, and as often as feelings were hurt, especially at the beginning, we also had torrid seasons that felt like affairs, as if we were cheating on our own love.

But the fighting aspect was one thing I realize really changed over the years. I remember at the beginning that a really big fight might end with me stomping outside, or Marcie running off to a movie, leaving the other to sit in anxiety. Or worse yet, chasing each other around the house, getting in each other's faces.

Marcie let me know early on that I did not fight fair. Neither one of us really did. Every slight wrong, perceived, real, or inflated, from any number of incidents long forgotten would be tossed into the mix as arguments lingered. Someone had to win, or someone had to quit.

I was 23 and Marcie was 25 when we met. I was stubborn, argumentative and hated to lose. Marcie, while stubborn, was also wonderfully feisty and always game. The both of us were insecure, and both of us way too full of pride.

"Give me the camera. I don't want you taking pictures of me right now." Marcie after a bit of a row, 2000.

Our fights did not end with "My way or the highway." It was more like, "My way or the highway, which, by the way, is also mine, so shut up." That, thankfully, eventually changed. We still argued, and we both still stuck to our guns, but after a few rough years, I realized that arguments were fewer and ended much more quickly.

Looking back, I saw what happened clearly. At first, I would relent to tears, because I could not bear to hear her crying and hurting when she stomped off. She would relent when I stomped out the door, sometimes I would stay. Sometimes I couldn't.

With time, I would relent to her biting her lip, because I knew she was about to cry. Usually I would unwisely try to hug her, to quell the tears, making her more upset because she could not understand why I would want to make her so mad then hug her. She began to read me better and would get exasperated before I stomped off, dropping the issues.

In time, just a change in her eyes would mean a change in my direction. She did not so much wince as looked as if she wanted to as she glared, her stiff-lipped stance changing in my mind to something more of a pout. I don't know what she learned or how she knew she was hurting me, but sometimes she would just change the subject and grab my hand, asking, "It's time to change the subject, so what do you want for dinner?"

Eventually we both stopped fights "at the edge of hurt" with a quick grab of the hand or a hug and some healthy silence. And we both learned to win our battles better, too. In fact, we got to the point that arguments were fairly pointless. If someone clearly won, there would be a revisitation of it for a little giving back by the winning party.

We may have gone too far at times, and I may still regret some of our more heated arguments, regardless the making up we did. I feel now as if Marcie and I were kids who grew up in love, so to speak. She taught me a lot, and she learned a lot from me (or so she said, which flattered me utterly).

But as we came to understand each other, we diverted our less constructive passion into more rewarding ways of getting to the bottom of things. Like Marcie's bottom. Win or lose, sometimes it seemed like we sometimes fought only because good fighting meant delicious makeup sex.

I know I have kept this blog PG up to now, so let's just call that a punchline and I wish you, dear readers, a good night.