Dumb Argument #5: The Snowball Fight
Amanda and I had only been dating a few months, and I went to visit her family in Amelia. The weather channel was warning of a sudden blizzard, but the fury of snow wasn’t the only storm we had to endure.
A foot of snow was dumped on Amelia, and Amanda gets excited to go play in the snow. I’m ecstatic about this – because I love snow anyway.
We head outside, and we are having a good ol’ time frolicking through the fields of snow, while Amanda’s dad and sister build a snow man. Even Amanda’s dog Prissy is having a good ol’ time.
There was a bit of a deep snow drift under the basketball goal where Amanda and her sister were standing. Amanda had avoided making any snow angels with me because she didn’t want to lay down in the snow, but I was going to make sure she did anyway.
“Hey Amanda! Watch out!” I said, as I pushed her into the snow pile. Amanda falls into the deep snow, and the look she gives me makes it very clear she is very unhappy – if not even angry.
“WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?” She whined at me. I started laughing.
Obviously annoyed with my banter, Amanda responded with a rather simple gesture: she shoved me.
Well this did not jive with what I teach about how to have a successful relationship –which is built upon what you can trust the person to be. So I get mad.
I start thinking in my head, “It might only be a shove now, but it could be a fist later.” I had already stopped talking to two girls that year because of sudden unprovoked outbursts that showed me who they were faithful to be when I did something dumb. I was looking for someone who would be faithful to love me – even when I did something stupid.
“Did you really just shove me?” I asked Amanda. “That is not okay, and I don’t want to talk to you right now.”
Amanda looked even more confused at me, and so she just walked away and went to help her dad with the snowman. I stood there alone with Amanda’s sister, whom I leave after saying “It is never okay to physically express your frustration or anger onto someone else.”
I had contemplated breaking up with her because she expressed her frustration physically, and she contemplated breaking up with me because I acted like a little sissy over a shove that didn’t even hurt. To me, it was the principle of the whole thing but to her, it was trying to get me show her respect.
Later, we talked. “I barely touched you! Are you that big of a wimp, Ben?” She asked.
I respond, “If you get mad for me being dumb now, why should I believe you won’t get mad at me being dumb later?”
Then she said some words that showed me her character. “I’m sorry I did that. I love you, and I will not do that again. I should have played along.”
With her kind unexpected response, I realize how big of an idiot I’ve been. “Well – I shouldn’t have done it to begin with- since I knew how mad it would make you. It’s my fault too. I’m sorry.”
It’s like a drama playing out in kindergarten.
We start laughing. I was so afraid of dating for the wrong reasons again that I had become very legalistic in how I interpreted any actions at all, and Amanda came to realize that I am usually the roughest with the people I love the most. “I’ve never had brothers,” she says. “I don’t really know how some guys show love.”
Relationships endure not only because we learn to endure the flaws of the other – but because we are willing to learn from our mistakes to not intentionally hurt the one we claim to love. Both of us learned a bit more about each other – and there are many other things we have learned about each other since. The fact that we care to learn what hurts the other – and avoid doing those things is – itself – an expression of love.
Amanda and I both agree today – it was dumb for her to get mad at me because I pushed her into the snow, and it was even dumber for me to get mad at her when she shoved me for it in jest.
But as dumb as this fight was – number #4 is still even dumber.
And yes – that is possible.