Every couple has at least one…it’s the fight that never gets resolved and it’s about something petty, small, insignificant. With my former in-laws, the fight was about a Christmas tree stand. With my parents, the fight was the use of ceramic vs glass coffee cups. For Husband #2 and I, the culprit was the cabinet doors. It’s no surprise…the fight we’re having is not the fight we’re having.
Ah, the cabinet doors.
For us, the kitchen cabinet doors required something along the lines of a Middle East Peace Accord to bring down the seething tempers and feelings of anger.
Our disagreement was such: one of us wanted the cabinet doors closed all the way when not in use, the other was a little more lax in whether the doors were open or closed at any particular time. There were arguments from both sides. Leave the cabinet doors open and one of us could get hurt on the pointy corner being in an unexpected place. Close the cabinet doors and it was like giving in to someone else’s (perceived) OCD.
Looking back, this turf war wasn’t really about the cabinet doors. It was about respect vs. control.
One of us wanted respect. Closing the cabinet doors said, “I respect you. I care about your safety. I don’t want you to hurt yourself on the pointy corners when you’re working at the counter.”
The other one of us wanted to avoid being controlled. “I don’t like it when you tell me what to do. I’m leaving these cabinet doors open because you’re not my mother. I can do what I want, this is my house too. You don’t control me.”
In retrospect, the easiest solution would have been to break out a screwdriver and remove all of the cabinet doors. That way they wouldn’t be opened or closed. Respect and control would not have been combatants in the cabinet boxing arena.
But would that have been a solution or an avoidance?
The fights we have are just stand-ins for the deeper issues we wrestle with at our inner, personal level. Our battle for respect or control-avoidance would have found another area for nitpicking.
Like Christmas tree stands and coffee cups.