“A lively discussion is usually helpful, because the hottest fire makes the hardest steel.” ― Tom Clancy
I don’t mind a lively discussion or even an argument. In fact I use to start them with my husband to try and get a reaction, but he’s not one for confrontation and would often just walk away which would infuriate me further. I’d follow him round the house getting more cross and then silent as he wouldn’t acknowledge the problem.
But I’m older and wiser now and so is he. Occasionally if I do say something terrible he doesn’t walk away now but will confront me straight on and usually that is all I need to be shut down. To feel the wave hit a wall and rebound against me with enough force to step back and rethink. Sometimes for me to apologise or at least realise and acknowledge my upset had been noted.
I look back and laugh now but once many years ago (when we had toddler and a baby) I was cross about something and he was ignoring me. I went silent at him for ignoring me and it just continued. We got to the third day of not saying anything to each other that anything that was strictly necessary (eg “pass me the car keys”) and I was in pieces. Three days of silence and when I entered a room he would leave it, so I was convinced he didn’t love me. That our marriage was over and he was going to leave me. I ended up in tears on the sofa and he finally asked me what was wrong. I asked him if he didn’t love me and wanted to leave. He asked why. I said we hadn’t talked for three days and his reply was “well I knew you seemed upset or cross about something so I thought I’d better keep out of the way”
Three days of silence because I thought he hated me and he thought he should better just keep quiet! I look back at this and laugh now but boy it was so real at the time. We have never been an argumentative couple – but being silent isn’t productive either.
I’ve never had a relationship that was as passionate about arguing or debating a subject as we were about each other. But there are so many things we agree on we have lively discussion with others together. We talk about ourselves much more these days. It’s made me much more self aware. It’s a tough thing accepting and acknowledging your own flaws (particularly when you are as stubborn as me) but it has helped. There is no way we would have been able to progress our relationship further if we couldn’t talk.
Maybe I’m a little envious of people who have fiery debates or maybe a little scared of them too. We forge our own fire. Built up from years of knowledge and love, safe and secure from the occasional rain and able to withstand long periods. It may not make the strongest steel but it is reliable on the coldest day.