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The Minute-Long Summer

And How Many Fights Have You Had?

A graduate student meeting with me yesterday asked about my family—admittedly, it's hard to miss the pictures of them when you visit my office. He asked how long Peter and I had been married and when I replied, "forty years," he had a follow-up question. "And how many fights have you had?"

The odd thing is that I had an answer.

"Two", I replied. (Bickering does not count as fighting—if he had asked how many times we've bickered, the answer would have been "thousands.")

I vividly remember one wintery day twenty-some years ago when Peter and I were out running. We were fighting about the children (that time and also in the other major battle we had). I was so angry that I refused to keep running with him, and he went on by himself. I could tell you today the exact place where I stopped, but I can't recall the details of the fight, possibly because he was right. I was miserable the rest of the day, but he seemed to bounce back immediately. (Holding on to anger is a subject for another time.)

My guess is that the graduate student fights a lot with his wife. I know they have had some challenges to work on. I told him that I don't think that the number of fights is a good measure of the success of a marriage. But the question was an interesting one.

And how many fights have you had?


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27 years and probably the same number in fights.
Three biggies, one that almost ended it all.
I think we're over the fights now as health & happiness has taken precedence over success or attending the rat race.


Hi Judy;
Perhaps I've stumbled upon a kindred soul. as well as a contemporary by way of Ronni's "Time Goes By".

I must admit, with a large dose of chagrin, that my wife of 30+ years and I argue/fight constantly and we have since we first met in London in 1971. I've spent the last 25 years trying to understand why and how and the best I can figure out is that - it's what we learned as children. My own parents separated permenently when I was seven. (The NY divorce was years later) My wife's parents argued from morning til midnight. So I guess that's what we learned married life was all about. When we played house it was "I'll be the daddy and you be the mommy: 'What the hell did you do that for?'-'None of your damned business"...

Now, I just can't handle it any more so I get away whenever I can. Right now, I'm visiting with my youngest child who is just starting graduate school at UW, Madison but I'm going home today and I'm not really looking forward to it.

How many fights? I would guess on average about one a week for the past 35 years. That's at least 1700!
If nothing else it sure is a horrible waste of energy

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