But Somebody Has To Be Right, Right?

Maybe I’ve told the story before about our marriage counseling?

Our church required us to attend several classes before our wedding. Maybe it was just one, I can’t recall. What I do recall was that there were 8-10 of us plus a priest. At least one couple was on a second marriage for both.

One couple looked May-December, but I believe the man simply had early onset grey hair. His wife, however, was clearly just out of college. He seemed about our age, which, at the time, was 29-30ish. So maybe March-August is the right way to categorize that. We got married 11 years ago. He’d been a campaign staffer for George W. Bush.

One topic for discussion was compromise, which, when proposed, generated gentle chuckles and knowing glances among those of us (the rest of the group) who’d experienced a good bit of life.

The priest talked about the need to let go of having the last word, being willing to let someone else win, and the importance of finding a new model for decision-making entirely that didn’t create an adversarial, winner/loser relationship. Sure, sometimes you get to be right, he basically said, but sometimes, it is more important to do what’s best for your relationship, for your marriage.

“But, ultimately, someone has to be the one to make a decision, right?”

Campaign staffer guy was very caught up on who, ultimately, would really have the final say. As if there’s ever a final say in marriage. His bride-to-be patiently gazed at him as he repeatedly tried—and failed—to get the priest to anoint a final arbiter. Final other than god, that is.

I’ve been thinking about campaign staffer guy as I’ve watched and listened to these motherfucking idiots in Washington treating the debt ceiling debate as a contest of wills and a game of posturing for maximum effect and minimum result.

Often, in democracy as in marriage, stomping your feet, yelling, insisting on being right  no matter the cost really makes you the loser. Do these wingnut Tea Party characters really want to come home having scored their ideological point and look into the eyes their partners in this marriage—constituents and voters who will be feeling the aftershock of the financial chaos which most people predict will follow—and gloat about winning?

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