I asked Peter if he wanted to write a few words for 70-something. Here he is, making a guest appearance on the subject of bickering:
Recently, Judy wrote about the silly things she and I argue about, like where we should park at Costco. I've noticed that we're not the only couple that gets into dumb arguments.
In a book I was reading (Zeitoun) for our neighborhood book club, the author (David Eggers) writes about how Zeitoun and his wife bicker. To their children, it sounds like arguing, but to Eggers it seems like a sign of a strong marriage because it shows that their relationship is strong enough to allow disagreement-- like in a democracy.
I bicker with Judy in ways I wouldn't bicker with someone I wasn't close to and, although it sounds like arguing to our children too, I take it as a sign of intimacy.
Intimacy can take strange forms. When I was in the army, we used to call our good friends insulting names-- names I wouldn't have dared to call someone I wasn't close to. In our young-man way, we took our ability to insult each other as a sign of intimacy.
I used to think that the only way a couple could express intimacy was sexual. We still do that. But we also bicker.
When I was young it would never have occurred to me that intimacy could be expressed by bickering. But life, like Judy, is full of surprises.
And I love them both.