Monday, April 25, 2011

Running in circles, chasing our tails, coming back as we are

Do you fight the same fights over and over?

For us, it varies in amount and intensity, but not topics. We move forward, and we circle back.

In bad periods, we fight them weekly. In good ones, months can go by. I believe much of it has to do with how much sleep we're getting, the state of our house, the amount Nick is working, my ability to hold my tongue, the position of the moon, our general stress levels, other demands on our time and energy...

In other words, there are a lot of factors at play. It's a delicate balance.

When I was young, I thought I'd grow up to look like Barbie. And I thought the state of being married would make me happy.

I never gave thought to the actual details of either.

I never thought about how marriage is just normal life, but harder. I mean, easier in that there are two of you to face challenges, and amazing in that you know that this other person always has your back, no matter what.

This is extraordinary, and not to be taken lightly.

But harder in that you are constantly compromising. The other person's priorities have to matter to you, sometimes more than your own. The other person's faults have to be forgiven. Or at any rate, you have to strive to understand, to not be so critical.

For better or for worse, you know?

I think there are easier situations, quite honestly. Maybe if we lived a different life, we could coast a bit more.

We have a toddler. Nick has a very demanding job. We're starting construction all over again. And even when this round of construction is done, the house is not done. It's just waiting for us to amass more money.

I feel like we're always working towards something, and once we get to that something, it's satisfying. But there's no just stopping and breathing and enjoying and just BEing, or anyway, very little. There's so much more to do.

There's always so much to do, so much to get done. We're like sharks. They stop, they die.

And then it's Sunday night, and the weekend is gone. Where did the time go? There's so much more to do!

We're still who we are, with the same faults, and the same frustrations. We love each other, so we keep working. There's so much more to do.

We move forward, and we circle back.

Maybe this is just how life is. I don't know. Do you ever coast?

20 comments:

  1. "Peace demands solutions, but we never reach living solutions; we only work toward them. A fixed solution is, by definition, a dead solution."
    -From one of the Dune books...

    Which makes sense, since "there are so many factors at play." Any balance you reach will only be temporary, because the relationship between all of those factors is a temporary thing.

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  2. Yup, same fights, over and over. It's annoying!! I sometimes wish for amnesia so that we could just move on beyond the past and only deal with today's issues. But I suppose that wouldn't change the whole we are who we are thing, and we'd probably still have fights! Coasting is nice. I wish it were possible to do it more frequently.

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  3. So totally true. Same fights over and over and over. Honestly, I think coasting too much might be bad. Since, it seems to me that if you're not at least engaging in some sort of discourse (not arguing, per se, but at least expressing an opinion) you're probably not talking. And that's BAD.

    Hope we all get to coast a little soon!

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  4. This pretty much describes my life to a T.

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  5. I think that I sometimes coast too much - at least, I decide that certain things are okay the way they are. But even okay things can usually be better, which means that an amibitious, driven person is (logically) going to be bothered by the idea of coasting.

    I think that couples could maybe achieve modified coasting, though, by making sure to focus, at least some of the time, on the areas where their ambition levels coincide?

    I'm probably not making any sense.

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  6. it isn't that you hold your tongue, it is how you hold your tongue. I would recommend just over the left side of your teeth, slightly protuding from your mouth when the moon is full.

    Heh. Seriously, I'm my husband's (practical) 4th wife, he's my (practical) 3rd. We've seen heartache that I wouldn't wish on a stranger. 'specially not you. You love Nick and Jordan, they both love you. Y'all will figure out a way to manage. And yes, you will coast. All will be well that can be well.

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  7. We coast often, but that's 99% because we're too exhausted to fight! To be honest though, the first 2 years of marriage for us were really, really hard. We're just wrapping up Year 3, and we both agree that it's the year we really figured out how to work together, fight less, and enjoy life more. It has taken a very concerted effort on our part to just BE. When it happens, it's lovely.

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  8. I know exactly what you're talking about. Lately it seems in my life, that things just keep getting more difficult and time continues to go by faster and faster. We seem to be constantly exhausted and just barely getting by - in every way. But times are hard I guess and this is just where we are. Still,it seems like we're never coasting - always striving and even more so these days.

    That said - I can say that we don't fight the same fights over and over again anymore. We've been married for almost 19 years and have learned that some things just don't get settled to suit everyone so you just kind of have to overlook certain things and realize that this is the person you love even if he or she is an a**hole about this or that minor thing.

    Anyway, marriage is difficult, but I think it's so worth it. When you weigh out the difficulties and irritations and then the sweetness and goodness of that person you know and the family you are building together, the marriage will probably tip the scales. At least that's the way I'm seeing it.

    Wow, where'd that come from, lol! I love your family!

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  9. My husband and I only ever have one fight. ONE. It may start out as something else, but it always comes down to ONE set of irritants. You'd think after 10 years together and 5 years being married, we'd have figured out how to deal with that ONE freaking thing, but..well, you'd be wrong.
    But we do coast about 95% of the time. Because who wants to have the same fight much more often than that?

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  10. pfft. first world problems. fuck them. take jordan to the the zoo !

    first world problems are the same as third world problems. money makes the effing world go around and that sucks !

    we'll survive. because the funny has to !

    note to self: never start a sentence with because because because is a conjunction.

    PS (to you !): that's the only sentence in the english language with 3 becauses in a row ! learned that in 8th grade. in a third world country. because !

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  11. Yes to the fighting portion, but also yes to the coasting portion. I just eliminate the "to do" list, because there's nothing I really need to do.

    The only thing we might be working towards is Nathan getting a better job, so we don't rely on me working. But the market for lawyers is shit and we're not on the edge of financial ruin, so that'll happen when it happens.

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  12. ha! coasting - what a lovely dream.

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  13. I love that you quoted my absolute favorite song about relationships. I am not a fighter. I'm much more of a keep-the-peacer. But sometimes, when I can't deal anymore, it all comes out in a toxic stream. What's awful is that, each time this happens, D's response is that it's a sign we're no good together. I wish he could realize that marriage isn't always easy and I could realize there's a better way to resolve conflict besides bottling is up until I explode.

    You nailed it when you said "We love each other, so we keep working." To me, that is the definition of a good marriage - not some fairy tale idea that it's all sunshine and roses.

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  14. I love this post. We, too, have a toddler, and the extra burden of being ex-pats, living all over the world. Coasting is something that seems I did in another life completely, and one that won't come round again for many years. But when it gets really hard, and the frustrations mount, I just think of how lucky I am to be doing it, being in the thick of it, knowing what true partnership and commitment really means.

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  15. I'm so glad I'm not the only one. We have the same fights over and over again. There's always a "we just have to get through this...." mentality. A lot of my friends are just starting to get into the happy, post-college, grown up relationships and are still in the honeymoon phase. They pretty much think I'm in the most dysfunctional relationship ever. But I try to tell them this is just how adult relationships go - lots of compromsing, stress, and mixed priorities. Thank you for sharing!

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  16. same fights. All the time. thank God we aren't the only ones, although I wish resolution and serenity for you guys (and for us, too!).

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  17. We have a small but important list of things upon which we have "agreed to dissagree" and about those things we do not fight. Anymore - but we're on our 5th or 6th bottle of tobasco sauce by now.

    When I'm so, so, sooo mad I want to leave and never come back, I allow myself to follow that to it's logical conclusion, which brings me to, speaking of circles, the lonely days, when I was looking for someone to spend my life with. Not someone perfect, as I know nobody's perfect. But someone...uh, oh, let's see......someone very much like the guy I have now! ;)

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  18. I read your post yesterday, then a few hours later, I stumbled on to Dooce's post about the effect her parent's divorce continues to have on her decades later... and the work she and her husband continue to put into their own marriage.
    Obviously, I went to bed thinking about all of it because I woke last night after a nightmare, in the throes of an anxiety attack.
    I say 'Hooray' to all of the couples who describe their marriages as easy- breezey. I'm truly happy for them. Mine is not (mostly because of my own hang-ups and crap communication). It takes work and while it's solid and good, I don't think I'll ever say I'm coasting.

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  20. I feel like we haven't coasted in a long time. It's good (promotion! bigger home! baby!) but also really tiring. And stressful. Hugs, lady. It's not fun sometimes.

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