The Partner and I do not do well under pressure. We fought for the entire week before our wedding, came to an armistice in time for the rehearsal ceremony, and were back at each other's throats by dinner. The day of our wedding dawned peacefully, but the honeymoon was over three days in.
We have stood back-to-back, with arms folded, for three out of five anniversaries. Valentine's Day hasn't fared much better. Birthdays are hit or miss. Only Independence Day has emerged unscathed. There's no pressure there, just beer and a barbecue and friends who kindly insist that we shovel up the bullshit, stick in a firecracker, and watch it burn a hole in the ozone.
The main issue is organization versus chaos. It's common sense versus distraction in the face of shiny objects. It's The Partner's desire for a well oiled machine and my belief that I can get by just fine without lube.
This Christmas was no exception. I failed to order the cards in a timely manner. Then I realized I didn't order enough. I ran out of tape while wrapping presents on Christmas Eve. The layers of laundry in front of the washing machine collided--continental Dreft?--and formed a mountain.
None of this amuses The Partner. In fact, if we have, by some chance, smoothed things over by the time he reads these words, the reminder alone will piss him off all over again.
The other day, a friend asked me if The Partner and I like fighting. She was perfectly serious and so was I when I answered, "I guess so." I mean, my husband and I both knew what we were getting into when we started making each other miserable eleven years ago. There are few surprises in a relationship based on the premise that one party is perfect while the other is tragically flawed.
The excitement is in seeing who can yell louder, act deafer, and hold a grudge longer while stomping all over a foundation that defies human engineering in its solidity.