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My Summer Of Discontent

Aside from my move, being disconnected from the Internet has been horrific. I liken it to being trapped in airtight room of windows --- watching the world go by and quickly running out of air while doing it. Maybe tomorrow I'll be reinserted to the Matrix...maybe Wednesday...

Today is the last day of summer.

Tomorrow is my son’s first football game as a high school freshman.

Six days from today I will be a year older, if not a year wiser.

15 days from today, I will be married a whopping two years.

The fall is front of me and the summer is behind me, thank God. But by no means does this mean I won’t be bringing along my summer of discontent, no different than Jacob Marley. And why was my summer so bad? Because I spent all of it, save for maybe four or five days, arguing and in some instances fighting with my wife.

Truth be told, I’m battle-scarred, bewildered and disillusioned over the whole thing --- who I am and the role I play as Husband in this whole Man, Dad, Husband thing. In no way am I suggesting I wasn’t the provocateur of many of our debates. But the resulting friction/contention/rage that I received went beyond anything I would’ve ever imagined.

And what was all the fighting about? Our future as a family in the new economy, and where and how we were going to be living. Our disagreements began because we disagreed in ideology and methodology. The more we disagreed the more disagreeable things became. Even as I write these words I’m overcome with the urge to scratch my bald head in befuddlement. The simple Man that I am won’t allow me to accept that disagreeing, no different than the way Republicans and Democrats do, can lead to near brawls…

Maybe that wasn’t the best example...

When I was single and giving advice to my ridiculous married friends, I quietly promised myself to never grow up to be married and ridiculous --- a walking advertisement for staying single... Funny how things can sneak up on you. At the end of August I was feeling very ridiculous.

There are certain realities I’ve come upon after all this:

  • Makeup sex is a crock of doo doo – Sex is the last thing I’m thinking about after being glared at hatefully by my mate. Call me crazy, but having sex after attempted emasculations doesn’t really get the blood flowing down there. What people term as makeup sex is, in my humble opinion, sex that comes on after being turned on by your partner’s vigor (usually witnessed during a harmless/pointless argument).
  • Words have the potential to leave marks just like physical blows. The people who “keep it real” and thoughtlessly say whatever they want in the heat of the moment have the same effect as poisonous snakes --- their victims are left to struggle with the effects of their venom long after they’ve moved on.
  • There is no “fight” in team. No goal was completed nor match won where the key players were at each others throats. And if success should flower from this type of dysfunctional relationship, the goal itself becomes air, holding little to no value to one or more teammates. This is why many successful partnerships collapse after whatever it was that brought about their success.
  • Some people in relationships get along famously. There’s no magic or special formula to it. They just do. They believe in it. They stand by it, stand for it and don't accept anything less, from themselves or their partners.

I’m too old to be cajoled into the belief that the grass is greener on the other side. But all you need is eyeballs to see that it can be different. And maybe different sometimes works better than what you know or what you think you know. Who knows?

What I do know is that I’ve got two kids who bask in the comfort of knowing Dad is always there. And now that we have a wonderful space, my Daddy guilt has all but evaporated (even though I'm still working on getting that yard). When I was growing up, my father was a constant for me, like the air I breathed, so much so that I wished he’d go away sometimes. The same is the case for my children (not the wishing I’d go away part – I think) and I pray it remains that way. We're working on it, I think.

Moral of the story: Disagreements between spouses are inevitable, but be very careful when your not being able to agree begins avalanching into a fight. The words you speak in the heat of the moment might become words you can’t take back when that hot moment has passed. There’s supposed to be a reason married folks are married. The theory is they understand, respect and love one another, and interestingly enough it is the love part that creates the atmosphere for understanding and respect. Not the other way around and not on the good days. The true test comes when things aren’t so good to downright awful. Know your partner’s boundaries. And unless he or she is smoking crack, don’t cross them. You may not be able to find your way back.

My kids call me the "fixer". I've got a lot of emotional work ahead of me and a lot to release from my spirit. And right about now it really makes me wanna holler.

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