It was a dark, fall evening and I was pissed. We both were. Whatever we had argued about had escalated into a series of selfish, unthoughtful, anger tactics to knock the other down and it had boiled down into an angry simmer. We were both mad and neither of us would relent. Now it was silent, but thick with emotion.
Good times, as were every sizeable fight we'd had had.
There was a point in time when Ryan and I moved from one stage of relationship to another and it made all the difference in how we approached, or rather, worked through, conflict. I shamefully admit there were several years during which I just wanted this guy to change how he was, because the ways in which he was different from me annoyed the heck out of me. His approach to life, to other people, to parenting, to his spouse was so different from the way I approached it all, and of course my way was better. Funny enough, he felt the same way on the other end.
It's hard to know exactly what the catalyst for the shift was, or at what point it happened, but there came a day when I realized my mindset had changed. After knowing for years in my brain (but not really believing) that our differences actually complimented each other, this point came and I finally saw it. I understood it. I saw that what he brought, even though it was completely different from my perspective, was actually really interesting. The threat of my own opinion being overrun by his changed to 'let's collaborate and work this through, using both our strengths and perspectives'.
It was a rather dramatic shift, and once it had happened I found myself feeling lighter during our bigger fights. Not less angry, or less passionate about my rightness and his wrongness (oh no, that sentiment remained alive and well), but more aware that this fight wasn't the end. This wasn't the bottom line. If we didn't work out this disagreement, it really wasn't a big deal. We were still good with each other - happy together - stable in our commitment to one another.
Ryan had a meeting to go to that evening, and without any kind of resolution or apology on either of our ends, he stormed out, and I stormed off to sit down, all angry and dramatic. We'd see how long this one would last. We'd see who could stay angrier longer, like we had so many times before, almost as if the one who stuck to it the longest won some kind of secret prize.
We really had done this many times before. We were both stubborn goats, which served us well in some capacity, but when it came to conflict, had a way of causing trouble. Even in our dating years when we'd be spending hours on the phone, we'd have an argument and go into a "silent war". WHO WOULD SPEAK FIRST? Hours on the empty, silent phone. Frickin' weird when I think of it now.
After a short time I was tired of being angry. Anger takes up a lot of energy, they say, and I was feeling it. I was done. What I became next was rather unexpected - I got all creative. I picked up my 5 year old daughter's bright orange ukulele and starting noodling around, and in no time at all had worked out a fun little chord progression. Then a tune, then lyrics. And just like that, I had written a little song about fighting. And about that sense of peace in knowing that all is really well in spite of the fight.
When Ryan got home later that evening, I was in a devilishly excited mood and grabbed him right at the door, walked him into the room I had set up the computer in, and told him I wrote a song and we were going to record it. He popped into creative mode, worked out his part, and we threw it onto YouTube.
The song was quirky and goofy, with a little bit of weird thrown in (Ryan wore part of his Christmas costume for a work party - he was dressing up as a Christmas tree...) and it was a testament to the good times we have, particularly in spite of the fighting times.
I still have no idea what we were fighting about.