A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

My response to the question

Posted by Pepper on June 24, 2015

Warming: Long post.

Firstly, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me on my last post. The question I asked was, ‘Do you believe that couples who have had a love marriage should ideally be fighting lesser than couples who have had an arranged marriage?‘ About 50 people shared their opinions and except for 2 people, everybody agreed that the amount you fight does not depend on the kind of marriage you’ve had.

My answer is very much in line with the general consensus. I do not believe it is justified to expect a couple who has had a love marriage to fight lesser than a couple who has had an arranged marriage. The comments in the last post sum up my thoughts.

Coming to the debate I had with Maya, I’m going to quote her initial thoughts. She said, “I had a big question which was haunting me for no reason at all. There should be no fights after marriage, between people who knew each other and were head over heals in love with each other before getting married. Okay.. That’s pretty Utopian. At least lesser fights, right? That was the fleeting thought. I call it ‘fleeting’ ‘cos I knew most of the friends who didn’t go through the arranged marriage route were fighting more or less like us, who had not even seen each other before our engagement. Does that mean their love has diminished after they got married? ‘Cos I knew most of them would fight very little before marriage happened

I disagreed and we first debated in her comment section and then took it to emails before agreeing to disagree with each other. I think Maya has changed her views now and looks like we are all on the same side. Yet, every now and then I come across people who get a little shocked when they find out that a couple who has had a love marriage actually fights almost to the same extent as other couples. Their shock surprises me.

To start with, like I told Maya in the comment space, I had plenty of fights with Mint even before we were married. We had been in a committed relationship for a long time and every now and then we had to deal with a fight of high magnitude. Ofcourse, we would make up and go back to being madly in love. But the fights, they were always there. Those fights were insignificant in the larger scheme of things. We fought tooth and nail to get married to each other. So I do not fit into her category of friends who fought very little before marriage but went on to fighting a lot more after marriage happened. For us, our fights have remained constant over the years and marriage was inconsequential.

Maya did have an interesting point. She said people generally fight lesser after they accept each other. Shouldn’t this acceptance come more easily in a love marriage? Hmm. It did make sense. So I looked up the definition of ‘acceptance’ to start with. It says ‘A disposition to tolerate or accept people or situations’. Now this, I believe is completely dependent on your personality for one. While I have much higher tolerance and acceptance when it comes to other people, I always hold Mint to very high standards. Also, if there is one person I take the liberty to cross the line with, it is him. For two, personalities evolve. I can’t accept a certain kind of behaviour if it is unknown to me.

The point to note is, Mint and I rarely fight because we disagree with each other. Typically, our fights happen because Mint annoys me for seemingly trivial issues. I react. And then Mint reacts to my reaction, or what he calls ‘over reaction’. Would you believe, we’ve had an explosive fight once over a piece of cake?. He finished the last piece without checking with me because he was under the impression that I had had my share. I yelled. Called him names. Cried. Got him mad. We sulked and eventually I walked out of the house in cold, cold Cincinnati. I didn’t even have a hoodie on me and yet I was walking out in a thin tee in the harsh winter of Ohio. I walked for a mile to a place where I knew he couldn’t find me. And then I sat shivering on a bench until good sense prevailed.

This was in the early months of our marriage. Now, the fact that I have known Mint since I was 16 had no bearing on our fight. I couldn’t ‘accept’ this behaviour because it is very unlike Mint to not think of me while eating the last piece. This incident was not in line with my expectations. When you have a love marriage, you always have the past to compare the present with. Secondly, our fight was because of our personalities. My personality, to be precise. I should have let go after he apologised. Instead, I considered the act of him finishing the cake as a grave offense. Almost like a betrayal to me. The more I think of it, the more I realise most of our fights are because of how we react to the events around us. That is completely personality dependent.

I’m going to talk about another gigantic fight we had. One of the most prominent ones till date. For my cousin’s wedding, I had flown down from San Francisco to Chicago. Mint was to fly down two days after me. I realised I had forgotten a pair of my shoes, so I asked Mint to carry them with him when he came. To make sure he does, I had reminded him a total of 5 times. I even asked him before he left, if he was sure he was carrying them. I really wanted to wear them with my selected outfit. He assured me had packed them.

He reached Chicago and we went through the wedding festivities. Just before we were ready to leave for the reception, Mint told me he had forgotten my shoes! Although he had packed them originally, he had to remove them at a later point to reshuffle his luggage. In the process, he forgot them while repacking. He realised this after we were all dressed to leave for the party. I couldn’t believe my ears. I was depending on the said shoes . I had no alternate arrangements. So I threw a fit and accused him of not caring about me and so on and so forth. It got supremely messy. I was so furious, that I told him I no longer wanted to go for the reception. Yes, despite having come all the way from the Bay Area. I sat at the door, a sulking mess. I can’t believe that idiot boy took a picture of me while I was sulking, but here it is.

sulk

Now, this probably comes across as funny, but I assure you, at that time it was not. It was a catastrophic fight. I will always remember it because this was the fight that caused us to get very late for my cousin’s reception. In hindsight, I can’t even call this a fight. Mint really didn’t fight this out with me. It was mainly me having an uncontrollable outburst. By the time we made up, we were running extremely late. Everybody wanted to know what had caused the delay. Of course, we lied. Till date, I regret missing a big part of her reception.

Because I have known Mint for years, I knew he is absent minded and highly capable of forgetting things like these. I still managed to flare up. Probably because I sent him adequate reminders and he still forgot? I mean, even if I know him well enough to predict some of his actions, and even if I make provisions to ensure certain things don’t happen, I am still unable to forecast or control his behaviour beyond a point. I am unable to prevent a fight.

I am ashamed to say I have even raised my hand at Mint during a fight. I read through that post to understand the dynamics and the whole cycle of cause and effect. I come back to what I strongly believe in – this too was entirely dependent on the situation and both our temperaments.

Any two strong headed individuals who are living together are bound to disagree. Whether you convert this disagreement into a fight or whether you pass it off as ‘acceptance’ entirely depends on you. I don’t think it depends on the time you’ve known each other for. Moreover, disagreements are not the only things that cause disputes. I hardly disagree with Mint in principle. Most of the time we fight because he procrastinates beyond a point, making me lose all my patience. Or I get mad because he is never on time. And so on. And no, I cannot ‘accept’ these things easily. I cannot ‘accept’ cleaning the kitchen myself everyday just because he procrastinates beyond a point. I argue with him if he pushes me too much. I cannot ‘accept’ making others wait for us because Mint is used to being late everywhere. So we argue and sometimes our arguments turn heated.

Call me weird, but I love the fact that I can fight with Mint with zero inhibitions. I know at times he is the recipient of my worst behavior. I show him that ugly side of mine that I keep hidden from the rest of the world. We need to have that one person in our life we can be our true self with, without worrying about the consequences. I feel so confident of his love, it makes me feel fearless of pushing the wrong buttons. So if I go by this logic, I will say people in love marriages should actually be fighting more! But that is untrue because even people who have had an arranged marriage eventually fall in love and gain that same sense of security over time (I am guessing). So we all end up having the same fights, depending on our personalities.

In the end, I’ll say any two people who are genuinely in love (irrespective of whether they have had a love marriage or an arranged marriage, or even if they are in a loving and committed relationship) will revel in this security. And this security is conducive to fights, bad behaviour and everything else.

PS – For a deeper analysis, please read these insightful comments.

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19 Responses to “My response to the question”

  1. This fights sound so similar to mine and the xBFs. It was our personalities too. I am so temperamental and snap in a pinch. If something he did annoyed me, a switch would flick and I would have an outburst

    • Ugh. Incomplete post.
      So I would have an outburst, more like a tantrum with yelling and crying. Because just like you, I would see it as a giant betrayal of him to my expectations. I would get frustrated with why he is saying no or disagreeing with something or not behaving like I would expect him to. Also his memory. Oh god. So forgetful and that would just blow my fuse. Like you, I have hit him too. 😞I would push him rudely. He was a couple inch shorter to me. Sometimes I wonder if that physical aspect made me bully him when angry? Like, I would get really angry and he would try to diffuse the situations by pulling my cheeks or something cute and i would just push him. Oh god. The scenes are floating in my head now. That makes me feel so bad, so horrible about myself. Anger is my worst enemy cuz I was very respectful otherwise. Someone had asked us which one is more dominant and he had said neither and that we are mostly agreeable and respectful.

  2. srividhya said

    My comment in Maya’s post was from a different perspective. I bought kids in the picture. But then I sent her a separate email. I was searching for the same to forward it you. Seems like I deleted unknowingly. IMO too it doesnt matter love marriage or arranged marriage, You can be yourself only with the people whom you are close too. So fights are very common atleast in my case..I can fight only with my hubby. I have loads and loads of silly fight stories with M. Anything and everything I point my finger towards him. 😉 😉 I totally agree with your last two lines. That sums it up 🙂

  3. ajay said

    I concur with everything you said. It all boils down to a fit of personalities, mannerisms, idiosyncrasies and quirks. And like you said, mutual love and respect should eventually prevail over quibbles, arguments and fights. That’s what counts in the long run.

    And that pic of you sulking over Mint is cute. No wonder he clicked it. 🙂

  4. deepthi said

    Hello Pepper,

    Long time, no see on chat. Hope you’re good!

    Anyway, interesting discussion. I like your point about security. Now, J and I fight, always have. However, the reason I bite my tongue, swallow unreasonable words, and take a time-out before responding harshly is not because I dont feel secure about his love or commitment – far from it. It’s only because I just don’t feel good about myself after throwing a hissy fit or a huge tantrum, or saying words I cant take back. I feel pretty damn good though, when I talk rationally and calmly, whether it’s where to go for lunch or a nagging point about my in-laws, and I think the outcome is always better. This changed approach of mine (confession: J was always like this, he didnt need to make any changes), has resulted in lesser “fights” and a much greater sense of well-being. I’ve known the volatile relationship, with its hills and valleys, passionate words and equally passionate making up, but no, thank you – I vastly prefer where I’m now.

    • Pepper said

      Hey, I never said fights are a prerequisite to prove the existence of security. I am sure there are many secure couples who hardly fight. But unlike what some people believe, fights needn’t be an indicator of instability or lesser ‘acceptance’. I think fights are more free flowing when security exists. It is all personality dependent.

      Looks like you and J have the ability to exercise a lot of restrain. That’s a good thing. But then, I never said that all fights have to be vile and dirty. You can have clean fights too, right? Most of my fights with Mint are clean, though we do get dirty every once in a while. Again, that is probably because both of us require and enjoy a certain level of passion in our relationship. Even our daily exhibitions of love are quite passionate. I think we’re bound to have one passionate fight every now and then, followed by a passionate make up. I guess that’s just the way we are.

  5. Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.

  6. Prachee said

    Very well written post pepper…!

  7. You have put up this post so well Pepper.. Brought out everything I wanted to say or thought.. And you are so right, it’s with S I show my worst face for I know he understands. Sometimes even my parents scold me for creating a scene with him for things so insignificant but as you said I hold him to high standards too and when he misses I get bugged. Most of the times S remains calm through any arguments and he knows why I get angry. If there are instances he is really angry, I would have done something terrible. And I do agree.. We fought even before our marriage.. And we fought harder with our parents to get married.. Today if we are still having arguments, that does not mean our love has diminished.. It’s mostly situational as you said.
    Again kudos for writing this 🙂 Hugs!

  8. Maya said

    First up, so sorry for not commenting early. Have been running around a lot over the last few days. You know why! 🙂

    Two, a very well articulated post this from you. From the comments in your previous post, I realized it all boils down to individual personalities in a relationship and there are so many more factors involved than whether love or arranged marriages per se. My post (at least the first part of it!) appears too simplified now. Marriage is such a meta concept with so many layers.

  9. I don understand one thing about the females is that why is everything Dramatic for them?? I am not a misogynist. well, I got recently engaged, ( arranged!!) I am so much in love her. There are times when all hell breaks loose. she would scream at me I scream at her but at the end of the day she is mine and a I am hers, well I have made a MOU with her(hehehe). “No matter how serious the fight is we will not take it to the next day”.
    three golden rules for peaceful married life
    1. Never make a negative comment. if at all you to make .. you say, “its good, but there is a lot of scope improvement.”
    2. Never comment(positive or negative) on the in-laws.
    3. Never argue and talk logic. You can never win an argument, and logic just pisses them off more.
    pepper keep writing. have a great weekend.
    cheers !!

    • the owl said

      ” Never argue and talk logic. You can never win an argument, and logic just pisses them off more.”
      By them,do you mean women or as you so charmingly call them, “females”? Because if so, then you are misogynistic. You might want to work on that..you know, for a “peaceful married life”.
      I think you’ll realize that your first rule isn’t practical as your relationship develops over time.

  10. My own two cents on this reflect two very different long term relationships – 15 year marriage and current partnership.

    The marriage was peppered with some great times and exceedingly rocky moments and tough fights. We were both oldest and used to leading and strong personalities. And we had a lot of fights – throwing stuff high volume high drama kinda fights. My ex also was eventually diagnosed with depression and had addiction issues. Eventually I just couldn’t be there any more – it wasn’t healthy for me, him and definitely not for us.

    What followed was a few years of joyously celebrating being single in my 40s. What freedom! What delight! And just at that point I was no longer averse to the idea of having someone in my life.. my partner walked through the door.

    We simply ‘fit’ like a glove from practically day one with fundamental everyday compatability. It wasn’t that we’ve never disagreed, had different approaches or needs which were not completely in synch, just that as we had been knocked around by life enough by that point (me 40s, him early 50s), we were thoroughly secure in who we are as individuals to be able to openly admit our faults, follies and baggage – accept and move on. And even the small stuff that used to be a battleground with my ex has simply been phenomenally smooth with my partner. Every day with him is a joy, a sense of coming home to a safe harbour that supports sailing off if desired rather than trying to control. We respect each other, understand each other and are there for each other.

    The fact that I happened to have grown up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and he in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India is frankly secondary.

    I know I would not be where I am today without my ex – that is a blessing. No regrets either about moving on and finding a true life partner either. With… honestly… none of the drama. It is surprisingly ‘easy’ which is exactly why it is precious.

    Relationships that last have their ups and downs, growth and change. I’ve just come back from my parents 50th wedding anniversary. There was no mistaking the love, companionship, affection, respect and acceptance they each have for each other.

    So I wish you well on your journey. 🙂

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