Monday, May 14, 2012

What happens when you just don't agree?

I realize I'm not married yet, and that I am asking for advice well in advance of my real needs. However, last week we experienced a situation that neither of us (my fiancé and I) knew how to handle. Since I do not want to get into the personal details of our lives (I promised Honey I would never do that), I will present the situation as an analogy...

We happened to find ourselves, one day, without toothpaste at home. After all the normal bickering (Honey: How can you NOT notice that we are running out of toothpaste? You know all you have to do is ask for money and I will give it to you so that you can go buy toothpaste! Me: How do YOU not notice? You brush your teeth daily, just as much as I do, and since you have the money YOU could have gone and bought it...), we decided to go together to buy the toothpaste. We quickly kissed and made up because it is stupid to quarrel over toothpaste, and it was neither of our faults. I mean, nobody wants to wake up on a Monday morning and realize that, aside from the fact that the weekend is over, there is no freaking toothpaste. No one does that on purpose. And we both should have noticed, and we both should have said something, and we both should have offered to buy it (and pay for it). So, we both made a mistake, we laughed, and enjoyed our shopping...

...until we reached the toothpaste area.

I suggested the cheap, less-than-a-Euro toothpaste. He requested Colgate. I said that was silly: the cheapy one has the same components (I actually have no idea if they do, I was just trying to make an argument to support my claim) and cost one whole Euro less. He said that Colgate was clinically tested, and that 9 out of 10 dentists recommend it (he was just reciting one of the latest ads). I said it was silly and pointless to waste "so much money" (come one, it is 85 cents versus 1,79!!) on the same crap as the cheapy stuff. He said the cheapy stuff did not make his mouth feel minty and fresh. I said he was stupid. He said I was stupid and had bad breath. I said he had badder breath (because I am mature like that). He said he would buy his own toothpaste, which I would not be allowed to use, and he would buy me whatever product I chose - and he promised not to use it. I said that was ridiculous, that we were just buying one, and that it would be the in-between brand (not the expensive Colgate, but also not the cheap knockoff). He said no, and he put his foot down. And I said yes, and put my foot down.

We left without buying anything (had to rely on gum for the rest of the day) and did not talk to each other until the next morning.

**Please let me remind you that the above story was just an analogy of the real situation... our dental hygiene is perfect and no, we do not quarrel about silly things like toothpaste. As the woman in charge of the household, I buy whatever I choose to buy with his money - and it always is Colgate.**

The issue is, what happens when you just don't agree? What happens if you both find yourselves in a situation where neither one nor the other are willing to give in? And although the above situation was just make-believe, the real Apple of Discord was just as pointless. We were not discussing children nor death wishes, nor country of residence - things that actually matter. Our discussion was as pointless and toothpaste brands. But neither of us would back down. We both believed that our "toothpaste brand" was the best for the situation. We both believe that the other's "toothpaste" was not only not the best choice, but rather the absolutely wrong choice to make. Our arguments were based on principle, on morals, on values, on experience. Both arguments were valid (of course mine was more valid) and both arguments were well supported. Both arguments made sense, and both arguments were sound and based on good facts.

But we both felt strongly enough about our toothpaste that we felt it necessary to make a stand and not back down. We felt it necessary to "fight" about it.

Of course all is well now. We settled on buying the normal Colgate, which costs 1 Euro. It is still the Colgate brand, which pleased him, but it does not have all the minty-crystal-whitening crap that not only does not work but also costs more. Everything worked out and now we are back to our pre-wedding happily ever after.

However, I know this will happen again. It won't happen over toothpaste, but it might happen over juice, or bed sheets, or beer. It will happen again, and I have to ask, all of you successfully married couples, what happens when you just do not agree with your partner?

Do you let it go and take his/her side just to bring back the peace?
Do you stick to your principles and to your argument until hell freezes over?
Do you just not talk about it in order to avoid a quarrel?
Do you write a blog about it?

This is not a rhetorical question: I seriously want to know, what happens when you just don't agree?


  1. I usually go for the first solution. I normally agree with her just to stop the snowball that is forming over nothing. Thing is that somethimes, when is about things that matter or that really ticks me when she doesn´t agree with me...then we will fight...and you will fight as well, the thing is, if you decide to cave from time to time, fights will be less often and not so infuriating :P

    1. Sí, pero... what if the source of the argument really goes against what you believe? I mean, if it's just toothpaste it's stupid and I agree with you. Pero... what about if you were talking to your future wife about abortion. And you disagreed. That is something serious, you know? Would you still give in?

    2. Wow, well yeah it is kind of difficult. I mean good thing we haven't reached a touchy subject in which we both disagree. I mean, for instance, kids, non of us want them, so cool, marriage, same thing, future plan...But there are stuff that are miningful, like we plan to open our own business and we disagree in some stuff..So again what we do is yes, we fight and don´t speak to each other and all that but in the end we try to fix it up looking for a neutral ground kind of conclusion, you know what I mean? Una situación gana-gana

  2. It's hard. SO hard. Just, no matter what, treat each other's convictions with respect.

    1. That is the best advice. Thanks.