Floyd is an easy going guy. We have known each other since we were 5 or 6 years of age. I had NEVER seen him angry at me or anyone else. He might have gotten a little agitated with someone, but nothing more than that was witnessed by me. Floyd had such a wonderful character that my Mom and Dad would take his side before they had even heard my side of the story.
We lived on the West Side of Detroit in a four family flat. My Mother and Father owned the building and rented us the upstairs flat across from theirs. Two other families were renting the two flats downstairs.
About two months into our marriage, early one morning, Floyd and I were having an argument and I said something in a domineering tone. Floyd stopped in his tracks and looked me square in the eyes and said,
“You don’t talk to me that way! I’m your husband!”
His tone and seriousness shocked me. I started to cry. I mean boo-hoo-hoo, wailing crying. I am a bit dramatic, so I ran out of our flat and into my Mom and Dad’s apartment which was across the hall.
(That was a dumb and immature thing to do. I’m saying it here so you won’t have to hold that thought while reading this story and wonder if I ever learned never to do that again.)
Mom and Dad were still in bed.
“Boo-hoo-hoo. Oh, oh. (Sniff, sniff.)”
Mom, “What’s wrong with you?”
“Floyd and I had a fight.”
Dad, “Did he hit you?!”
Dad, “OK. Wait a minute ’til I go to the bathroom.”
(Sniff, sniff) “Boo-hoo. OK.”
Dad returned. “Now what happened?”
“Boo-hoo. (Sniff. Sniff.) We had a fight.”
“He didn’t hit you. That ain’t no fight!! Zelina, remember the time Howard’s wife, Rosie, and her sister Elly, chased him down the street with a 2×4? Now that was a fight!!”
(Sniff, sniff, sniff.) “You just don’t understand. Aah. Boo-hoo.”
“Well, did he cuss at you?”
“No.” (Sniff, sniff, sniff.)
Dad turns to Mom, “Now, I’ll tell you about a fight. Remember when Ronald had to run to the police station because Cora had a gun and was in the car looking for him? Now that was a fight!!”
“But Dad, he raised his voice to me!”
“Boy oh boy! Ronald had to really talk himself out of that one. That was some fight!”
Dad’s memory lane of fights continued.
My parents had paid no attention to my foolishness. I shuffled on out of there. (Sniff, sniff!!)
When I got back into our flat, Floyd was far more comforting than my Mom and Dad.
After that life lesson, I learned to resolve issues between us in our home and not go running to my parents again.
More marriages might survive if the partners realized that sometimes the better comes after the worse. ~Doug Larson
Instead of justifying our behavior, we need to discover how to properly react to disagreements no matter how intense they may be or who’s at fault. Each time you work out a disagreement in a healthy way, you’re better equipped to deal with the next one. Conflict handled properly can fine-tune a relationship:
“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).