Oh, you guys. I know I’ve sort of disappeared. I know I don’t call or even answer text messages. No one has died, I’ve just been busy. Busy aparguing.
Aparguing has taken over much of the time I spend outside of home and nearly all of the time I spend in our apartment. What is aparguing, you ask? It must be fun, enchanting really, if you are willing to dedicate so much of your precious, precious time to it. Well, let me tell you! Aparguing is arguing about your apartment (apartment+arguing=aparguing). And it turns out that Turtle and I are pretty darn good at it.
The thing about it is that it’s just a starting point. It brings your ability to be snippy and rude right to the surface, and there it rests until someone says something like, “Are you going to make dinner tonight?” or “How was your day?” And then the only rational response, of course, is “Why would you ask me that?!” followed by a flood of tears.
I’m exaggerating a little bit, but not too much. We come from completely different places on this apartment thing. I want things organized, and then we can clean them; she wants to clean everything before we put anything anywhere. I think we’re both at pretty extreme ends of our spectrums; a coworker recently said, “Of course you should clean the floor before putting the couch there!” Oops. I just want the room to look like home as fast as possible. Turtle, on the other end of things, washes the wall before we hang a picture up. So we end up with either a cluttered, but clean home if she gets her way, or a tidy but filthy home if I get mine. The other option is that we argue about it and then crash and we end up with a cluttered, dirty home. Fun times.
What’s hard about this right now is not only the arguing itself, but the proximity to the wedding. My stupid little ticker countdown thing was cute and fun until it hit Day 100 and we argued about which corner of the room the TV should go in and whether the cats got their dinner in a plastic bowl or a glass bowl. Big, important arguments, you guys.
I suppose if we can get through this chunk of stress, we’re just getting stronger. We’ve gotten through worst in the past, and I’m sure we will again in the future. It’s just frustrating to argue over such trivial things as where to put a chair or who left a magazine in the middle of our excessive counter space. Really, me? You need to use all that counter space at the same time? You can’t move that magazine all by yourself?
I just finished reading Kate Braestrup’s book Marriage and Other Acts of Charity and she talks about how she and her husband used to argue. And by argue I mean fight, I mean break a coffee table or a window. And they are having a really hard time and they go to counseling, blah blah blah. And then she realizes something:
Cringing beneath the merciless gaze of my own eyes, I realized how utterly I had failed to do something simple. I had refused to love the one I loved, the one I had vowed before God to love, the one God had placed not only in my path but in my own damned bed! Remedial Goodness was clearly in order. I could be good to Drew… I love him…nothing matters more than this.
While Turtle and I are not breaking things by any means, we are certainly quicker to anger than we have been in the past. We are slower to apologize and less willing to cross the line and walk to the other person’s corner. But I don’t think I realized that until I read this. It’s only been a day, but every time I find something that I might normally grumble, “Oh, Turtle,” about, I try to say to myself instead, “I love her…nothing matters more than this.”
Braestrup points out that when you marry and vow to love each other, “you aren’t really promising to feel love. You are promising to do love.”
So what does that mean?
Today it means that when I come home from work and find Turtle asleep on the couch, I don’t grumble and drop my stuff loudly, because we are supposed to go to Ikea and she knows that. Instead, I kiss her on the forehead and when she asks for five more minutes, I give her twenty. It means giving, and letting go, and hoping that what I’m giving is returned. And while it’s scary to be doing so much aparguing only 98 days before our wedding, if it’s making me stop and think and slow down and remember why and how I want to be with Turtle, then it’s perfect timing.