Fight or flight

I would be telling a lie if I told you Matthew and I never fight. Although to tell you that we do fight is  rather inaccurate. What happens typically is that Matthew is irritated about something I do/have done and then says the wrong thing and then I would be aggravated because he’s irritated about what I do/have done. The argument that follows naturally is about whether or not that thing is the right thing to do. And more often than not, I am proven right.

On such occasion, it is tempting to gloat and do what women do: punish or extract generosity. These days, what I normally do is just give him a mean stare and facial expression that says something along the lines with “D’uh!” And close the argument with “Why haven’t you learned that I am always right?”

Since we both decided to be together for eternity, fights bring us to a bigger question: “So what are we going to do moving forward so we don’t have to have the same fight again?”

I mean if we’re going to fight in the future it’s okay (and expected!) and I’m fine as long as the fight is not about the same issue. I think a healthy friction is necessary and should be the way to smoothen or sharpen the relationship instead of inflicting fire and destruction.

What we usually do is to assess the root of the evil. Why was he/she irritated by what I do? Does it have anything to do with his past/childhood/ego/pet peeves? If what I do is deemed necessary, the next question is how to make him/her work around his issue. Basically: how to live with each other without being irritated.

Most of the time, when Matthew sees that it is done for his own good he will grow into it. Sometimes what he has to do is to let it ride for a little while, grumble silently if he has to, and wait to reap what I sowed.

Easy example: one morning, I prepared a light grey suit for him to wear that day because he would have a day-long meeting with the CEO of Hong Kong/Asian headquarter in his office. He normally only wears suit if he has a meeting/event outside. I knew he was reluctant to wear the suit because “It’s only in my office. We’re not going anywhere.” … He did wear the suit. The suit did get complimented verbally. They did go out to dinner in the end.

The great thing about Matthew is that even though he does have his male alpha dog Aries ego, he also has a humble heart. He always admits when he is wrong. His pride stops at the evidence of my being right. And because of that, I just cannot gloat. At the end of the day, I am glad that the well-intentioned thing I do for him really does him good.

Matt wearing the grey suit jacket the day he got his Indonesia 1-year stay visa!

One thought on “Fight or flight

  1. I remember when I first told my mum and dad directly and with true reason and intent “sorry” for something I said, during one of our surprisingly few arguments when I was a teenager (I didn’t have a rebellious or confrontational stage, really).

    I said something and walked out of the room. Then I looked at myself and my behavior; I told myself that one day they would not be there to say sorry to, and walked right back in and said it, and that I was wrong. Mum said that it took a lot to say I was sorry, and that stuck with me.

    I also know that I value humility in others and also in myself. One gains nothing from stubbornly sticking to the wrong path. We’re all learning and we can all learn from each other. Some of us learn more quickly, of course. I seem to be a slow learner at times and at other times a veritable prodigy.

    Humility is also essential in the face of people telling you that you’re the best, the greatest, the most… (insert word here). No-one is perfect; we are made imperfect. We strive for perfection and we stumble along the way. The art is getting back up again, proudly, and moving forwards, head held high, with fresh perspectives.


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