I can’t remember how The Fight started. Kupa and I were still in bed. Something that started out as an apology suddenly ended up in an argument.
I’m typically the even-tempered one in our relationship. But I found myself gritting my teeth as he spoke. The hurt and anger lurking within betrayed the thin disguise of my calm exterior.
He said some stuff and I said some stuff. Then he said some more stuff and… I LOST IT.
I swung back the covers and leapt out of bed, exposing my partially-dressed bottom before storming into the washroom. I felt the heat of rage all over my body–including my incredibly uncooperative bottom. (It’s hard to make a dramatic exit with all the jiggling. For the love!)
I brushed my teeth in a frenzied state.
Maybe I’ll take the car and work from a coffee shop today. Maybe I’ll leave without giving an explanation and leave my phone behind. Maybe I’ll show him I TOO can be an introvert who “needs” her space!
I caught a glance of myself in the mirror after putting on my contact lenses. Woah! Who was the Jerry Springer Crazy staring back at me? I burst into tears.
Really, Tina? Sit your butt in a chair. Do. Not. Escalate.
Once my crazy soup was down to a nice, medium simmer, I attempted to diffuse the situation.
“What would you like to eat for breakfast?” I asked, waving my invisible white flag.
“Nothing,” Kupa said, staring blankly at me.
Woah! Was HE escalating?
Oh no you didn’t!
Ol’ Crazy Eyes was back. I returned to work in seething silence.
An hour later, Kupa walked into the living room.
“When I said I didn’t want breakfast it wasn’t because I was mad. I just wasn’t hungry. I’m sorry…” he said.
He looked sincere enough, so I mumbled, “I’m sorry too…”
I watched him walk a few steps to the center of our kitchen. Then he stopped, turned around dramatically and stuck out his arms.
“Would you meet me in the middle?” he asked, smiling his smug, knowing smile.
I melted like a stick of butter in a hot skillet. Gosh, I hate that smile.
I walked over and gave him a shy, begrudging hug and he kissed me until I giggled. Suddenly…I couldn’t remember what had made me so crazy just minutes before.
“Can I make you some Bacon Cheddar Scones?” he asked, mid-kisses.
“Are you sure? It’s your day off.”
“Well, that’s what I want to do today.”
I went back to the kitchen table and continued to work, glancing at Kup as he pulled ingredients out of the fridge. “Who is this guy?” I thought.
He was frying the bacon when I smiled a big sunflower smile. Kup broke into a bashful smile and looked away abruptly.
“What was that?” I chuckled.
“I feel vulnerable!” he shouted back, half-laughing.
“Vulnerable?! Why?” I was confused.
“Because I just apologized, told you that I love you and now I’m making scones for you! Who the heck am I? I would never do this for ANYONE. Not even myself! Why do you have this weird power over me? Oh gosh: so vulnerable right now!”
[Tina charges towards Kupa]
[screen goes black]
[sounds of kissing and bacon sputtering]
That’s when I grabbed my camera.
I knew that I was smack dab in the middle of a life lesson, and if I so much as sneezed, I’d miss it entirely.
I needed to remember the moment. I needed to remember that marriage is never about winning. It’s about Peacemaking.
Peacemaking doesn’t have quite the cinematic appeal of revenge. I mean, who wants to slump down in a couch and talk about the difficult, putrid, ugly things? Can you imagine if The Godfather was about a big Italian family that sat around a table, talked about their feelings, forgave one another and blew snot into their shirts?
No, fighting for peace is rarely a glamorous affair. The icky work of peacemaking is about leaning into discomfort and swallowing your pride. It’s the scary undertaking of feeling ALL the feelings–and choosing love anyway. It’s sticking around for tough conversations when you’d rather stab a pillow. It’s parking your butt in the vinyl kitchen chair and meeting in the middle instead of hiding out at Starbucks. It’s baking scones for your love when you’re feeling vulnerable and exposed. It’s choosing to believe that your husband isn’t going to break your heart, even though your ex-boyfriend butchered it beyond recognition. It’s refusing to say scarring words–the ones you can’t take back and that he’ll never forget; words that will break both your Humpty Dumpty hearts forever.
Peacemaking is “Grab the Clorox and clean the toilet bowl” kind of work.
It’s also beautiful, sacred, holy work.
And sometimes it looks like this:
Sometimes peacemaking looks like bacon cheddar scones after Jerry Springer fights in the morning. Gently working butter into flour before building everything up into a glorious mix of cheese, chives and crumbled bacon. Stirring in cream so the dry crumbly bits on the bottom of the bowl don’t go wasted. Slicing shaggy dough into 8 wedges and brushing it with cream in the hopes of a perfectly golden crust.
Sometimes your peacemaking scones come out burnt and charred on the bottom–even though you followed the instructions perfectly.
Still. What really matters is what you do with peace once you’ve made it. Even though the bottom of your scones are burnt, you don’t chuck the baking tray from the balcony in frustration. You wait. You let everything cool. You take the scones over to the sink and scrape off the charred bits with a butter knife.
You place what’s left onto a clean plate.
You eat the bitter bits and buttery bits all the same.