In the world of politics, there are many times when lawmakers are sucked into arguments they cannot win. These arguments are often so ridiculous that logic is meaningless, patience is fruitless, charm and charisma are useless. The most one can hope for is to curry public favor by trying to appear less intransigent than your opponent. These arguments inevitably end in violence.
In marriage, these arguments happen all the time, but thanks to the binding elements of family life, they more often end in simmering standoffs, like North and South Korea.
Every so often, in rare, sparkling moments, logic prevails. The party who is proved wrong seldom sees the result as a victory for both parties, but treats the result as a loss, a successful attack on their dignity and pride.
My wife and I drove down to Hollywood on Saturday. She’s planning to stay for the week to go SCUBA diving with one of her friends. I could only stay Saturday night. So we made the 4-hour drive in two cars.
I followed her, happy in the knowledge that I didn’t have to pay attention to anything but maintaining visual contact. If we got separated, we had cell phones. Fifteen minutes into the drive, she called me.
“Why are we going so slow?” she demanded. “The speed limit is 70!”
I looked at my speedometer and noticed that we were traveling at 65 miles per hour.
“I don’t understand what you mean,” I responded. “We can go faster if you want.”
“Then why don’t you?” she sputtered.
“I’m following you!” I answered. “You can go as fast as you want! I’ll keep up!”
There was a moment of silence, then that one-word response that all men are familiar with: “FINE!” Click. For you novices, the word “fine” means things are not fine at all.
She sped up to 70 and I sped up as well. There’s no way for me to know what she was thinking, or why she blamed me for slowing her down. When we arrived in Hollywood, we did not discuss it. Because it’s in both our interests, we never will.