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The Trouble with Blankets

June 18, 2008

My name is Mr. K, and I admit I am utterly offended by unkempt blankets. Please, do not take me for a bigot. I have no qualms with their mere existence, and in fact, am reliant. Growing up in suburbia, NJ, I learned to utilize them to shield me from enraged soccer moms, my feral sister, and even some desperate housewives. This may seem like an odd beginning to an entry, so please allow me a few moments to explain.

From the day I was old enough to recognize the need for blankets, I have not been able to sleep in a bed that is unmade. I am put into a state of perpetual tossing and turning when the sheets are not perfectly parallel to the quilt. I experience cold sweats when the pillows are not fluffed. I am driven to the brink of insanity when the bed side isn’t tucked in.

I have now been married for three and a half weeks. And I have just discovered that my new wife, Mrs. K, is a veritable atomic bomb when she sleeps. She tosses and turns, throws pillows over her head, and has absolutely no problem wrapping herself like a mummy in her sleep.

You may be wondering what the point of going into such details regarding this matter is. A few days ago, while speaking to my grandfather, he asked a question that I thought was a bit absurd. How have your fights been? I chucked his question up to the fact that he has gotten stranger with age and that he has been married for 50 years.

After getting off the phone with him, I did, however, realize the genius of his statement. Married fights are completely different than regular old relationship fights! No, this is not simply because the Mrs. always wins now – she always won before! It’s because the way I think about my wife has changed.

Relationships start off being incredibly superficial – we begin to judge our potential interest based on their looks, clothing, outgoingness, and some other qualities. Our fights during this stage of our relationship reflects the superficial nature of it. We fight with our partner only to win. We take no heed to the feelings of him or her, and we want to win at any costs.

Eventually, relationships evolve to the point where both individuals are compassionate enough with our partners so that we tailor our fights in regards to the feelings of the other person. We do this because we care about our partner, but also because we fear being left. Thus, our fights are geared towards winning while not hurting the other person.

But the third evolution of a relationship, I believe, only comes after marriage. This type of relationship is an acceptance without truly understanding. What do I mean by this? As an example, I don’t think my wife will ever truly understand why unkempt blankets bother me so much. In truth, I don’t think she will ever understand many things about me, and I don’t think I will understand many things about her. However, although I know I can never understand these aspects of her, I have learned to accept them and love her for it.

This kind of patience without understanding is incredibly difficult and very much against our nature. Human beings want to be able to reason things and logically understand them. When we fight, we fight because we cannot logically understand our partner’s perspective, and in fighting we hope to sway them to the truth. I would never pretend to be anywhere near perfect or even good at this. When we fight, I still want her to understand my side of the argument, and the same goes for her. However, I like to think that we are both growing together and slowly learning to be accepting of those things that we can never hope to understand.

For me, even within the first 3 weeks, marriage has helped me to exercise my patience and humility. Giving up a fight is never easy. However, I’ll have to remind myself of this the next time I see Mrs. K drinking out of the bottle of grapefruit juice straight from the fridge.

-Mr. K

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