When Old Folks Go to Fussin' and a-Fightin'

If you live long enough with one person, eventually you'll have been married more years than the number of cards in a deck. I'm only saying this because I know a lot of people in this category who have gone that distance and beyond. So do you and maybe you are part of one of those amazing couples. I am in awe of you folks because I know those years weren't all perfect and peaceful. One of the wonders of a long marriage is the ability to disagree and keep going. Keep going means that you may momentarily not like your partner... but you never stop loving them.

The Shaffers are pikers... we've only known each other since 1979. It was a very good year but we didn't make our relationship official until 1981. In other words, we kind of did a test drive of marriage... not a bad idea since it was Mr. S's first marriage and my third. It should be said that neither one of us ever doubted that we'd be together as along as we could... no matter what.

An important note here is that we were in our early 30s. While that is not an old age...it is one which is thought to include some intelligence and good judgment. I will say that in our case that was not really a factor. We were loonier than tunes. I had always played life pretty seriously until I met Mr. S. He was pretty darned funny and lived a lifestyle which followed the path other Vietnam Veterans I knew and took a liking to.

Before Mr. S, I was an observer. After Mr. S, I was a participant. It was the first time since childhood that I learned to play. It should be noted here that adult play is very different than childhood play, at least most of the time. If there is a problem here, it's in the definition of play and how much of it is good and how much of it is not good. Of course there are a lot of other agreements made before marriages are launched. The trick is to stay with them.

The fussin' and a-fightin' starts when friends, money, habits, prior agreements or raising children become topics of loud conversation, door slamming and couch sleeping. Learning to be married is not an easy task. When you are young arguments which can't be resolved between the two of you will usually end in divorce. Of course there are kids involved so fighting has to be limited to what we think they can't hear. Ho ha! Kids know more about what is going on in their homes than their parents do. There is no payoff in staying together for the kids. They just want you to be happy because without that... they can't be.

So, if you are lucky enough to get through this phase and all the ups and downs which accompany your first years together you will start the process of becoming the same person. No laughing. This is a true thing. At 10 years you are still honeymooning and too busy with work to fight. At 20 years the same thing is true but you might have taken a vacation and discovered that you still really liked being with each other. You still knew how to play... you had just forgotten.

Just about this time, at least in our case and I fear yours, we encountered some very serious health issues. From then on we spent a lot of time in hospitals. We spent our retirement money on vacations because we didn't know how many years were left for us.

In our 37th year of marriage, it turns out that the worst of our disagreements are memories. It turns out that this is our time for fussin' and fightin'. We've refined the process of being peckish. We are the official Geezer Tribal Crabs. We have been left to concentrate on why Mr. S didn't say something about me making the bed. Or, why he used my white washcloth to clean his cast iron skillet. In the meantime, he asks where his holey socks went and why his favorite casserole from last week isn't in the fridge. Gosh, I don't know. There is also the Who erased my show from the cue? battle.

The funny part is that we don't yell hardly at all. Mr. S is the master of eye rolling. He believes I don't see him do it... but I do. Sometimes he just gives it away when he throws his woobie over his head. That eye-rolling bugger. He's under there thinking... she'll NEVER win this one! Geezers: God love ‘em.

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