My husband, Victor, and I are best friends. We share a lot of the same interests. We have many of the same goals. But on occasion, we don’t see eye-to-eye. Yes, there has been the time or two (or ten) that Victor and I have clashed. During those times, we have always worked to keep a commitment we made long ago—not to go to bed angry.
For several years, we were able to stick to that commitment. The night might have been extra long, but we eventually worked toward a solution, compromise, or understanding, and we finally went to bed in unity. But I recall one disagreement that we simply couldn’t solve by sundown.
It’s funny how you forget the major grievances as time goes by, but what I do recall is that both of us were feeling quite misunderstood by each other. We both were filling our days with work—hard work. We were exhausted, but neither of us could see why the other was so tired. He thought he was the only one working hard, and I too thought I was shouldering the hardest part of the burden. We couldn’t see each other’s side.
“I’m work longer than you”
“I work in rougher conditions than you”
“I make more sacrifices than you”
We both felt like the other had no idea how hard we were working. I felt that my husband did not value my efforts, and I began to shut down emotionally from him. I had always kissed him goodnight—always. Now it had been three days since I had given him a kiss. He gave me a kiss, though, on that third day. I remained unmoved, however. I didn’t want to give in to making up because I felt that I was still very misunderstood.
One of the issues that we had been arguing about was the fact that he never cooked a meal in our home. He honestly didn’t know how to cook, so we decided a long time ago that the kitchen would be mine. Even though I enjoy cooking, I started to hate pulling out pots and pans after a long day of work. I started wishing he would cook the dinner some times. In the smoldering ashes of accusation fall-out, the fact that he wasn’t cooking became a missile I aimed right at him.
Victor is smart—very smart. He knows that I usually surrender when he makes the effort to move in with a “make-up” peck on the cheek. So when I didn’t wave my white flag, he went back to the drawing board.
Later that night, I heard him watching TV. I wasn’t sure what it was, but I knew it didn’t sound like a movie. I peeked into the living room to see him watching cooking shows on YouTube. Not only that, but he had a notebook and was taking notes on how to cook. In that moment, my emotional shields finally went down. I realized that any man who hates cooking as much as Victor must really love me a whole lot if he is willing to subject himself to such torments.
I realized that it didn’t matter who was doing more or how we perceived each other’s productivity. What mattered was that whatever we were doing, we were doing the best we could for each other. I didn’t care anymore about being the winner in this argument. What I cared about was that man sitting in front of the cooking show, taking notes. Underneath all the different perspectives and perceptions, the heart of the matter was that we love each other.
I don’t doubt that Victor and I will have more moments of conflict in the future. And I equally don’t doubt that love will see us through them. Because no matter what joins us together as a union or what holds us apart as individuals, what makes us a team is love. We were doing it because we love what we have—a life together.