Getting along requires compromise


Because my husband John Pitts & I hold differing political views and vote for opposing candidates, many folks wonder how we make our marriage work. (Actually, those questions usually are directed to my husband in the form of “How in the world does Cathy put up with you?”)

Today, on an Election Day that’s responsible for, I bet, millions of other families in the same situation these past months, I thought I’d share a thoughtful analysis of a typical reasoned & logical & courteous exchange between my husband & me in hopes it may inspire others.

Totally kidding. We never have reasoned & logical exchanges.

But we do have conversations like this:

Me: Hey, sweetie, didn’t you say you put that box in my car as I asked you to?
JP: Yup, I sure did. Why?
Me: Because it’s not there.
JP: Sure it is.
Me: No, it’s not.
JP: Yes, it is.
Me: Sweetie, I saw this with love & respect, but that box is not in the back of my car. At all. Not. There.
JP: What are you talking about? I put it exactly where you asked me to.
Me: You put it in the back of the car?
JP: Of course.
Me: Well, it’s not there–unless you magicked it with a Cloak of Invisibility.
[Momentary silence as we mutually head out of the kitchen & into the garage. I stop midway at the back-seat door of my CVR, preparing to open it & prove the non-existence of the disputed box. John Pitts, however, continues his march to the back of the car, opens the rear cargo door & triumphantly points inside.]
JP: See? It’s right here.
Me, confused: But that’s not the back.
JP: What are you talking about? Of course it’s the back.
Me, still confused but gesturing to the correct location–the back seat: No, that is not the back. This is the back. That’s the way-back.
JP, looking as if he wished he had his own Cloak of Invisibility: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Me, speaking slowly & clearly: That. Is. Not. The. Back. That. Is. The. Way. Back.
JP, now looking a bit dazed: I literally have never heard you call this the ‘way-back’.
Me, considering but ultimately discarding–in the interest of civility–a comment referencing the number of times I say things proportionate to the number of times he hears me say the things: Hmm … well, that’s what it’s called. We’ve always called it the ‘way-back’.
Me: Besides, why would I want the box in the way-back? I’ll never remember to drop it off at the donation center if it’s [pausing for emphasis] way back there.
JP, doing a remarkable job of remaining calm: Would you like me to move it to the back seat for you?
Me: Oh, that would be lovely. Thank you so much.

And that’s how we negotiate our conflicts to a mutually satisfying conclusion: He knows I’m correct but won’t admit it but it’s OK because I know that he knows that I’m the winner.

Happy Election Day!