matches lined up burning

Urban enlightenment. Fighting with the wife

In Community and Relationship, Love, Sex and Sexuality by LivingNowLeave a Comment


Now there’s nothing I love more than a good fight with my wife. How do I know that this is true? Because it shows up in my life so often, so I must love it, right?

Wrong. I hate it. I really hate it. My life would certainly be better without fighting with my wife, EVER. I believe that everything can be sorted out with good communication, an open heart and a distinct lack of screaming. Nevertheless, after almost ten years together, we’ve managed to develop an awe-inspiring talent for plucking a fight out of thin air. Honestly, we can build a fight out nothing.

We have a special talent for fights over irrelevant trivial nonsense. We’ve even managed to manufacture a fight over ‘What you do with a match after it has been lit?’

Do you
a.    Put the match back in the match box, with the burnt head positioned carefully at the opposite end to the un-lit redheads for later ease of retrieval, or
b.   Put the match in the bin?
 Unfortunately, the answer for me although I really know better, is still
c.    Who cares?

Ah, I still remember the countless hours of screaming fun we spent on that one. It brings a tear to the eye, it really does. Lovely.

Admittedly that happened early in our relationship, perhaps before we were even married. Now we’ve moved onto bigger things. Now we only fight over items of clear importance and undeniable national significance. Recently, we fought over the age old classic, ‘Where does one put the dirty tea cups?’

In this fight, which we entertained only recently (what am I-six years old?), the choreography went something like this.

i.     I’d had this great recent breakthrough on one of my book projects, which I was keen to share with my wife. It was a good time; so I started to tell her the story. She was going to just love this!

ii.   She was happy to let me rabbit on, as I do, with the occasional nod or grunt as she went about the business of her day. Picking up stuff after the kids, working on her jewellery business, whatever. This behaviour was no problem; it is a habit born of years of married life.

iii. I followed her around as she tinkered, still talking, leading up to the climactic breakthrough ‘Aha!’ moment in my story, getting more and more excited as I went. She was going to love this, or did I already mention that?

iv. Then, just before the big moment, in the precise moment before the absolute climactic moment of glory, she shoehorned in a comment about my failure to put a dirty teacup on the correct side of the sink. What?! My brain went from excitement to confusion to an utter screeching halt as it was torn from climactic story moment to a sudden immersion in mundane teacup reality. Is there such a thing as brain pain? Can you get a pill or, better yet, some kind of injection to protect yourself from such moments?

v.   There was a prolonged moment of ouch.

vi.  In a neat recovery move, my brain managed to clamber out of dirty teacup territory to find … anger. It also found anger’s close friends; blame, anger and righteous indignation.

And there you have it; conditions perfect for a fight!
And fight we did. It started out gently, as these things do. We circled each other like American pro-wrestlers, looking for the opening. A little jab here, an inappropriate personal observation there and hey presto! We were into it like boxers.

It’s at this point that something quite interesting happens. The hotter the argument gets the stupider I get. It’s like there’s a mysterious force that makes you dumber and dumber as the fight gets more passionate. I find myself saying things I’m certainly going to regret later, knowing that it’s the wrong thing to do even as I say them and saying them anyway! It’s almost as if the negative thoughts, the mad yelling and screaming attract more of the same. Creative new arguments swim into my mind only to be fired off at my partner without adequate editing or contemplation. Man, I’m going to pay for this later!

At some point the argument becomes self-perpetuating. It’s almost impossible to get out, so strong is the mysterious force. It’s like a worm-hole in space, sucking you in. You can feel yourself spinning and swirling and approaching the event horizon. If I were on the bridge crew of the starship Enterprise, I’d be asking for a complete scan of this peculiar phenomenon. Or is this force so mysterious after all? Could it be … the Law of Attraction working implacably, bringing me more of what I’m focusing on, yelling about and acting on in this very moment?

Could my lack of conscious consideration, my lack of self-discipline mean that I’m focusing on what I don’t want (i.e. to continue the fight) instead of what I do want? Could it be working against me, pulling me deeper and deeper into the fight I now so desperately wish to bring to an end? I don’t even care who’s right any more. It’s not worth it! Please just make it stop!

Fortunately my wife and I manage to find our way out of fights more quickly these days and no permanent damage was done to my brain or our marriage.
What, however, would the Law of Attraction, that august path to certain happiness and enlightenment, have me do in this moment? How can I make it work for me instead of against me?

OK. My first thought is to simply focus on my desire. What do I want? How about a quick meditation entitled, ‘I want my wife to be perfect, to stop yelling at me and fighting over irrelevant rubbish’?

Aah, sometimes enlightenment is so profound, yes? Clearly I’m just a few steps away from my awakening.

Maybe not. In fact the Law of Attraction, implacable non-judgmental force of nature as it is, cannot distinguish between ‘I want’ and ‘I don’t want’. So what I’m actually saying there is, ‘I want my wife to be perfect, I want her to yell at me and I want her to fight over irrelevant rubbish’. And that’s clearly not what I wanted after all.

Also, I have this notion that it’s not really my job to change my wife, any more than I enjoy her efforts to change me. I’m perfect as I am, right?

Instead, what I need to do is focus on the bits of my wife that I love. The little loving glances. The casual touch as we travel through our day. The hug out of nowhere. All the amazing things she does for our kids while I glide through my day in a kind of a light daze. Once you get started, the list actually writes itself.

Now that I think of it, did I mention the coolest thing my wife does? She’s an unconditional supporter. She always has been, ever since I spotted her shaking her groove thing at a friend’s party all those years ago. She’s one of those people who is constantly nurturing my crazy ideas and inclinations despite their innate insanity. Can we quit our jobs to focus solely on our passions for a year, giving them a red hot go? Sure. Can I spend most of our savings on a trip to Cannes to pitch a TV show idea? No problem. Can we move our entire family to Europe for three months every summer just to connect with my creative muse who might happen to live there in a castle by lake? Okay, that sounds good, when do we leave? Did I mention we have a house, a mortgage and three young children? I’m sure I’d get more freaked out in her shoes.

Actually, I’ve travelled completely off the point here. Did you notice? That’s the sneaky signature of the Law of Attraction, right there. As soon as I start thinking about the parts of my relationship that I love, those thoughts attract others like them. All of a sudden I’m off daydreaming about how cool it all is. And then, of course, I start attracting those experiences into my life instead of the arguments.

And that’s the magic here. As soon I focus on these things, consistently and unambiguously, the Law of Attraction brings similar things to me. Sure, I would guess that my wife still yells and picks her nose and hoovers up condensed milk straight from the tin. Yech. I, however, don’t see these things when they happen. The Law of Attraction brings me only the things I focus on. So I’m simply not there when these things are going on. Instead, I’m there for more loving glances, casual hugs and fantastic moments.

And there you have it; perfection. The enlightened practical answer to fighting with my wife, Law of Attraction style. Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Focus on the behaviours that you love and you’ll find more of them show up for you both.

And for the record, it’s me who hoovers up condensed milk, straight from the can. Yum!

Tim Levy is an author, entertainer and executive producer. He is currently finishing up a book combining spirit and business through his Life Summit process. He does regular workshops and life coaching around Australia. 



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