Merry Christmas and to all a Fair Fight

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Tis the season to be jolly….or maybe tenser than any other time of the year. This time of year can either bring great joy or great sadness. The multitude of decisions, extensive preparation, and social obligations serve as a great test for the strength (or lack thereof) of your marriage. It’s probably no coincidence that, historically, the highest divorce rate is around the middle of January. The crucible of the holiday season is one of the purest tests for your relationship. If you share values, and communicate well and often, you and your spouse could have a truly wonderful season. If not,,,,,well, fa la la la laaa la laa laa laaaa.

The other day Crystal and I had a minor disagreement. After thirty seven years, we don’t fight anymore. We just have disagreements. At least I think that’s what we decided. It actually had nothing to do with Christmas, but a pre-Christmas gift we had agreed to give one of our daughters. This was one of those disagreements due to a financial misunderstanding (a common Christmas fight theme). We have learned a few things over the years. There was no name calling or swearing. I wound up leaving the house in a huff, determined to get and deliver the present. Crystal had been shocked when I told her how much it would cost. However, while driving and cooling off, I thought of more places I could look for the present. I wound up with a much better deal than I originally anticipated. It was still more than Crystal had envisioned, but the quality was excellent. My daughter was thrilled. By the time I returned home she had already called and thanked her mom. Crystal and I apologized for our disagreement and had a very nice evening.

Why am I sharing this? One of the purposes of this blog is to support marriage relationships. In marriage there will be disagreements. How you handle them can be the difference between a “good” and a “bad” marriage. We can learn some things from the above example. First, there never had to be any disagreement. Think about it. We were both in total agreement to give this gift. We just had never talked money. When I told Crystal what I thought it would cost, I failed to mention the store research I had already done. She immediately reacted based on what the item should cost from a materials point of view. Point number one is always try to be specific and when making a plan; and don’t leave out important parameters (like money).

The second problem was that, in my mind, I had scheduled that day (“when” is another important parameter) to get the job done. I never told Crystal until I was ready to leave. Point two is work together on scheduling. A calendar would be helpful.

Those were really our two main problems. They really both came down to, as do most marital problems, communications. We can also learn from things we did well. When I left the house, we each took time to decompress. Remember, you can’t always fix things immediately or in the heat of battle. It is sometimes better to take a break before you say things you can’t take back. Also, as mentioned, there was no name calling or swearing. It only makes sense to respect the person who (don’t take this wrong) you are stuck with for life.

Another lesson we learned a long time ago is that, even when upset, we listen. Even though I thought Crystal’s figures were way off, I heard her. By telling me her opinion, she had changed my mission. I was now determined to find the best deal possible and still meet my daughter’s needs. I checked out a number of additional stores. The eventual purchase, while still higher than Crystal’s estimate, was about half of mine.

Finally, while it seems simple, ask any married person, it isn’t, we apologized. Perfect people never have successful marriages. That’s because there are none. We are all hopelessly flawed. When we try to live together, without forgiveness, we just multiply each other’s failures. So remember this holiday season, love and forgive like the one perfect person ever and the reason for the season.

As with Scrooge at the end of “A Christmas Carol”, take the spirit of this season throughout the year. Always do your best to be kind and caring to all, but especially to those closest to you.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Ron & Crystal


This is me with my girls at Michelle’s wedding in October.

Category: Make Marriage Last

2 comments on “Merry Christmas and to all a Fair Fight

  1. I remember a night very early in your marriage when Crystal called up for Dad to come and get her. Crystal and Dad arrived home with her suitcase. She cried with Mom on the couch. Not sure she even took off her coat. Anyway, Ron, you were not far behind. Few words were spoken and you two were back in each others arms. None of us were surprised. It never happened again. You two were so (and are so) in love.

    Little Sis

  2. Thanks for that memory Sis. I have always respected your father, and I get where he was coming from. With three daughters of my own, I always have three suitcases ready for rescue duty. However, I have learned from painful experience, that marriage is an ongoing process of discovery. A parent’s main role is only as a sounding board, not a savior. No one can teach you to love and understand your spouse. I think it takes an act of God. Your sister and I have been lucky.

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