For a moment there, the fate of our marriage seemed to hinge on the placement of the litter box.
Donnie would say I’m being overly dramatic, and I’m sure he’s right, but when you are 6 months in, a marriage is as fragile as a sheet of ice. Even the most mundane argument can cause it to slip through your fingers and melt into a pool around your feet.
The argument, which had persisted for nearly as long as our marriage, was this:
Donnie wanted to keep the litter box in the garage because litter boxes smell horrid. I wanted to keep it inside, because I liked the idea of the cat being able to reach the litter box, and that would mean leaving the door to the garage open and consequently, having to pay to air condition the entire Earth.
I was, of course, right.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Why not install a pet door?” And, yes, that would have been sensible, but doing so would entirely skirt the real issue, which was, “Who gets to be right here?”
I feel the need to defend our former selves by saying that we were not just being immature.
This argument would set a colossal precedent and forever decide who would be King of the Bullheadedness Mountain. In addition to the spoils he would reap (i.e. a God-awful box of cat poop), the loser would have to publicly acknowledge the victor’s superior obstinacy. Henceforth, all stalemate arguments would be decided in the victor’s favor.
I don’t remember the exact point at which I realized Donnie was going to win. I don’t think I had ever been truly out-stubborned until that point.
However it happened, I eventually came to the realization that the need to win was so throughly woven into the fiber of his being, that losing this argument would unwind him.
I had finally found my match, and if I wanted to keep him, I would have to pretend not to notice that he had, again, dragged the litter box out to the garage.
I would not–could not–admit to him that I had given up on the argument. Thankfully, he knew me well enough to know that doing so would have destroyed me. We are woven from the same cloth.
The argument did set a precedent, and perhaps the fact that we settled it early is the reason that we are still happily married 10 years later.
We’ve become more and more expert at anticipating which arguments will lead to a stalemate, and silently agreeing to avoid them whenever possible.
When we reach a standoff, I am almost always the one who eventually gives in, regardless of how thoroughly right I am.
10 years later, the cat box is still in the garage, and I don’t regret it for a second.
Happy Anniversary, Donnie.