MamaBlogger365 – United in Stubbornness by Loren Christie

When my husband and I were engaged people gave me a lot of advice.

In 1999, three days before my wedding, a friend helpfully warned me about the pitfalls of marriage in a hushed tone. We were sitting at table tucked in a dark corner at the Half Penny Pub in Bay Shore.

“You know those things about him you absolutely love, those little ‘quirks?’ After you’re married you will hate those things,” she whispered.

I cringed, listing my husband’s quirks in my head, and my own, for that matter, because they are frighteningly similar. The worst one is his stubbornness. We are exactly matched in this area. Sometimes this shared trait is a very powerful asset, IF we’re on the same team, so to speak. However, if we are fighting, well, then it makes for a very ugly encounter. (I’m talking Star Wars battle-caliber face-offs over the most ridiculous things.) Usually, I win (because he is kinder than I and apologizes like a sorry puppy). Sometimes, I just give up out of pure exhaustion. Then there are days when I use his stubbornness against him to manipulate him into doing me a favor. Some people think that’s cruel. I respectfully disagree; it’s genius.

Today is a case in point. I was working in my garden when I looked up and saw my husband walking across the backyard with the tiniest hand saw ever made, perhaps by prehistoric Cro-Magnon people. He bought it at a garage sale for an occasion such as this: trimming storm-damaged trees with the wrong tool. Next he was looking up at the branches in deep thought, hand saw-ready.

“What are you going to do with that?” I asked, garden-gloved hands on hips. I was laughing because his saw was so small. He was laughing too and cursing me out simultaneously.

“You can’t cut a big branch with that little razor blade. You need a chain saw, Dr. Christie.” (It’s so enjoyable to use his title while mocking him.)

That set him off on a mission. He climbed the tree and started whittling away at the branches.

“Call me if you discover fire.” I said, and as I went inside to answer the ringing phone I could hear him grumbling.

From the window I couldn’t help but watch him cutting and I actually started to feel bad about teasing him when I noticed that he was beginning to sweat. My loving spouse had a look of focused determination on his face as if he were playing tennis, or imagining the branch was my neck. After much effort the wood cracked and fell to the ground.

I nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard him shout, “HA!”

In a flash he was standing at the window, face pressed up to the glass, grinning at me and holding up that little saw. True, I made him Jack Nicholson-mad, but at least he trimmed the trees. So I actually won this battle, but he thinks he did. It turns out my friend was wrong back then. This is marital bliss.

“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you
control it.” — John Steinbeck

Bio: Loren Christie is a mom and journalist for three local weekly newspapers in NY. Check out her book, I Hope God is Laughing: Confessions of an Imperfect Parent on A portion of the proceeds goes to The Life Center of Long Island, a non-profit organization that supports mothers in crisis and their children.

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Photo credit: boom|MorgueFile

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