The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Anniversary Mama Blog

My husband and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary today and I find it hard to believe. It has not been a walk in the park and it has also been worth trudging through many storms.

This month is also the anniversary of my father’s death. My parents had a sixty-year marriage that was based on an argumentative communication style. One year ago, my father died and my mother can’t get used to not having anyone to fight with.

Mom jokes that they had their first argument the day they met at a gathering of mutual friends. Wistfully she often murmurs that they never stopped fighting after that.

At the time, my father, who had been an army medic, had recently returned from combat, and my mother was a volunteer nurse. Dad believed that women who volunteered to help returning soldiers were not qualified to do a good enough job. My mother was infuriated, thinking this guy arrogant for not appreciating whatever help was offered.

They immediately started dating.

My husband and I have worked hard to make our marriage less argumentative. He believes that I must be used to fighting because of my parents’ model. I recently had proof to challenge him about his theory when after we attended a controversial lecture on humanity and evil, he seemed really anxious once the speaker ended his presentation.

“What’s wrong? “I asked.

“I need someone to argue with,” he replied as he scoured the audience for a worthy opponent.

The truth of his answer is humorous and it makes me thoughtful about the value of argument. Instead of eliminating what we experience as uncomfortable fighting, if we consciously create different categories for not agreeing, it could make these moments when we find ourselves on different sides of the fence less contentious.

There is a tradition of debate and difference of opinion as healthy and engaging. Why else would we televise the current presidential debates, join high school debating teams, or read pro and con stances on the voting instruction pamphlets?

We need to have differences of opinion to figure things out. The work in a marriage is to have these differences in the midst of a relationship that has the added seasoning of emotion and vulnerability, plus, of course, the unconscious expectation of reworking all of our early relationships that have so completely damaged us!

After twenty years of being married to a loyal and loving man, I know that love can sometimes look like an argument. Although in the heat of the moment I often forget, what I know is most important, is to look at the bigger picture. Spouses are not running for public office and the grand prize at the end of a healthy fight is connection. Being right does not lead anywhere in my opinion.

I wish that my parents had been able to make the transition from arguing to intimacy more often. My husband and I both have strong personalities and opinions. While we have many shared values, we also have differences.

In the next twenty years, I hope our arguments become more thoughtful and conscious. If arguing without intention kept my parents together for sixty years, I think we have a fighting chance to look forward to more connection in the midst of being true to ourselves. Remember, when there is heat there is fire! Here’s to the next twenty!

Happy Anniversary, Hubby!

By Gloria Saltzman


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