Who is "More Better"?

I know this never ever happens to you and your spouse but there are times when Tim and I just get irritated with each other.

Times like today.

When we were first married — 32 years ago — we used to fight over who was right. We quit fighting over that when it became sadly obvious that neither of us were “more better” than the other.

So then we took to fighting over the kids and whose style of parenting was “more better” than the other.  When our oldest got to be a teenager and we realized that we were both pitiful failures at this parenting gig, we quit fighting over that.

Then we took to fighting over money and who was “more better” at managing it. It’s easy to fight over money when you don’t have any, but as soon as I started working full-time we got separate accounts. We hardly ever fight over money any more. Mostly because we realize we it takes both paychecks these days to run a household. We give up.

I am only confessing to  a recent round of bickering because I read this post by Jamie the Very Worst Missionary.

On a recent trip south a friend told me about a couple that got divorced after 49 years of marriage. Honestly, what is the point after all that?  If you are going to get a divorce I advise doing it within the first year, then it’s almost like you were never really married to begin with. But after 49 years of wrangling through things, why?  You don’t have another 49 years to commit to someone so there is no way you are going to establish that level of intimacy again. And that, at least for me, seems to be the point.

Life is hard, marriage is harder, but even if you live alone there are going to be times when you’ll be cranky with your own self.

The very worst person we all have to learn to get along with is ourselves.

What kind of concessions do you make to get along with yourself?

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  • Steve T

    Karen, thanks for the nod to Jamie — really excellent story-telling. Here’s the thing on 49 years. Why would anyone want to waste all of those non-fights???

  • My wife and I have been married 40 years. Fights? I can count the number on both hands, perhaps just one. No, I’m not a freak of nature with a hundred digits per hand. There have been a dozen or so times when we have had to come back later and take stock of a tough spot and say, “There’s a better way to handle it next time.”

    We aren’t super-people. Probably aren’t even ordinary people. Kinda odd, below average people, I suppose. Call it smart love, dumb luck, whatever. We just aren’t fighters–except when our bulldozer of a kid repeatedly forced us into those inhumane cage matches. Whether it was in the air, the water, our widely disparate childhoods, or the suppposedly immoral/amoral/free-love 1971 era when we married, we somehow got the idea that we had entered into something permanent and important and durable and valuable. This thing had to last. There was nothing more important in life for us to fight FOR–by, as Ephesians says, submitting ourselves to it. For 20 years we invested in this thing. It now pays us back for that investment every minute of every day. If we did anything right, it was to live within our means. We somehow knew we were not built to raise more than one kid, take on more debt than one dumpy little house, live with old furniture, old cars, be the last to surrender B&W TV–only because it died. I guess in all that we learned a new way of thinking and being: us. As opposed to me-with-an-annex (spouse).

    Today the mantra seems to be that marriage doesn’t work anymore or that you shouldn’t even try it until you’ve lived at least three lives, five careers and been to Africa 10 times. I wonder. Maybe the more time one spends living as “me” the harder it is to begin to live instead as “us”. Maybe.

    But both partners have to be fully invested in that. Nothing about me is more important than us. And out of that, we’ve distilled three simple concepts for beginning or sustaining a marriage:

    1) Decide that you can.
    2) Decide that you will.
    3) Don’t load it down with junk (material, emotional or chemical).

    Marriage hard? I think loneliness is way harder.

    • Steve T


      Point 1 – Amen.
      Point 2 – Amen.
      Point 3 – Amen and remember the mantra – its not about me.