When my wife heard this, she said, "Does he talk to her?"
Jessica and I cannot conceive of a relationship without argument. We met arguing. The two of us were at separate tables at an Italian restaurant, she with her date, I with mine. My date and I eavesdropped on their conversation, a political argument, and yearned to get in on it. Somewhere along the line, we did.
As the night and our debate wore on, I found myself falling in love with the spitfire who seemed to handle the verbal interaction like an expert fencer. Ah, I dreamed, for her to parry my advance.
I was not careful for what I had dreamed. For one thing led to another, yada yada yada, and the two of us married. That was nearly two decades ago. We have been thrusting and parrying ever since. We argue about how much milk to put in the cereal bowl. We argue about whether the wall color is forest green or deep emerald. We argue about whether we are arguing.
Our view is that a married couple cannot exist on harmony alone. Our motto: We argue, therefore we are.
Maybe Dr. Chopra was speaking semantically. Maybe it all depends on what the definition of "argument" is. Maybe he means he has never thrown a dish across the room. If that's what he means, then we have never had an argument, for neither of us has ever hurled kitchenware.
But if he means a disagreement over something that is debated to either resolution or exasperation, then, well, maybe the good doctor has never had an argument in his marriage, but scarcely a day doesn't go by that we don't have an argument in ours.
We even have unspoken arguments.
Take, for example, our pillow fight. Not the kind of pillow fight where we are in bed banging pillows against each other - as much as we would enjoy that. (Read that any way you want.)
No, ours is a something-out-of-a-'40s-movie kind of pillow fight.
It involves the lavender throw pillow we have on our couch. One side of it is a single shade, the other side has a design. Jessica prefers the plain side; I prefer the side with the design. Everytime one of us sets the pillow to the side we like, the other comes along when no one is looking and switches it back around to the other side.
This has gone on for more than a year now.
I have learned to be strategic about it. Rather than always changing it back, I have become a stealth changer-backer. I wait for precisely the right moment, that occasion when it will make the most important impression. Then I strike.
For example, while house cleaning on a Saturday morning before a dinner party, Jessica may fluff the throw pillow and set it just so in a corner of the sofa. Its plain side will be showing. Just when the guests are walking up the porch steps and Jessica is answering the door, I switch the pillow back to its design side.
The good doctor may believe that our behavior is pathological and self-defeating and potentially globally ruinous. To which I say, "Hey, works for us."
We even have science on our side. According to a recent BBC report, "Women who argue with their husbands are warding off heart disease." If arguing is good for women, my wife must be the healthiest woman on the planet.
The study also found that women who argue with their husbands live longer than those who don't. At our rate, Jessica will live forever.
"We believe we have found characteristics of marriages that have an impact on people's health and longevity," lead researcher Elaine Eaker was quoted as saying.
She doesn't say what the effect is on the husband. However, women typically live longer than men. So it seems that might be some indication of the impact.
’Course, Jessica would no doubt argue that.
That’s good. It means she is staying healthy.
Me, I am lying in wait for that pillow.