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Emily Morrison Emily Morrison
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You, me, we?

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Have you ever found yourself in a useless argument? Have you ever wondered why you're so upset you could easily tattoo your husband's forearm with something grotesque and still not feel better? Could it be that what burns your biscuit today would leave it only slightly toasted tomorrow?

Chances are we've all found ourselves in irrational disputes, and though we may legitimately believe that we are fighting for the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we probably aren't in danger of losing our constitutional rights anytime soon. So why does it feel like every time we have a disagreement with those we love, life will never be the same again?

Because we humans are not rational creatures. We just aren't as smart as we think we are. Sure, we've figured out electricity, the boob tube and YouTube. We have phones that can locate the closest Arby's, send someone a 10 second picture of ourselves, or look up the migrational patterns of the blue jay. But even though we think we've got this world all figured out, the one issue we still haven't managed to solve stares us in the face on a daily basis: each other. Why can't the people we love do and say what we want all the time? Why do they have to be so 'them' anyway? 

Really, this is what every argument boils down to. It's not that what we're fighting about isn't real. Bills, family, time away, cleaning, thoughtfulness - these are all real issues in real relationships. The problem comes down to 'I think' this is the right way to deal with this issue and 'You think' differently. It's the me and you, us and them mentality that trips us up. When we approach our differences from two different sides of the fence, of course they are going to divide us. 

The key is changing our fighting words. Keep the colorful ones that make you laugh later (douche canoe, for instance. It's a little more powerful than douche kayak, less powerful than douche bag, and has a nice sound to it) but lose the 'I' and 'You' lingo. Psychologists would tell us to do just the opposite. The experts would tell us that in our more heated moments we should make I statements like, 'When you don't listen to me, I feel upset.' 'When you say 'You're acting like a crazy woman, want to bludgeon you with a heavy, blunt object.'' But all of these I statements ultimately lead back to the same problem: I'm not you. You're not me. We don't agree.

Instead of attacking the problem (and each other) from the world of me, myself, and I, why don't we look at it through the lens of you, me, and WE? We have an issue we need to solve. We don't think the same on this. We can agree to disagree. We will get through this together. It's so easy to say the word me and so hard to change it to we. This goes back to the second truth of human nature: On top of being irrational cretans, we're selfish to boot. And who can blame us really? Before spouses became couples, before couples had kids, before kids had siblings, we all started out the same: leader of the solo wolfpack.

Wasn't it glorious, the wind in your wolf fur, the setting sun at your back, howling at the moon when it waxed full? Yes, yes. Glorious, and lonely. Every time you find your knickers in a twist because someone you love has forgotten to consider your side of the fence, remember that quote about fences. Not the one about good fences making good neighbors. That's just common sense. The one that says, 'There are no fences in love.' Google it. It's right up there with douche canoe. 

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