BY J E SOLOMON
Occasional petty bickering and arguments are a normal part of human relationships. No relationship can exist without differences. In fact, the healthiest intimate relationships we often look up to with admiration or envy are definitely not without occasional tensions.
However, any relationship characterized by tendencies that tend to degrade the couple in public is not a healthy relationship. Also a relationship consumed by irreconcilable differences that have become a hindrance to the greater good of both partners is certainly unworthy of being sustained.
Instead of enhancing the lives of the parties involved, such relationships will rather deplete the spiritual, physical and mental energies of the couples. They will no doubt affect the overall health of the couples.
I was entering a big supermarket some time ago when I saw a couple ahead of me, each pushing a shopping cart into the store. I would guess they might be in their late thirties. They were arguing. In fact, loudly enough anyone around could hear them. It was none of my business. However, I made it my personal business, and I did it in a way they could not have noticed.
I knew what items I wanted to buy, but I deliberately started picking some items I wasn’t going to pay for. The idea was to try and hang around the raging couple for a while so I could enjoy the unfolding drama. It was amusing.
Some items had been conspicuously displayed near the entrance. You couldn’t miss them as you walk in. I saw the woman pick four containers of a clothe-washing detergent that was on sale. The man yelled, “We don’t need that much. We already have enough.”
“They’re on sale,” the woman responded in a voice that easily betrayed some anger.
“They’re on sale.” The words echoed in my ears. Those were familiar words. I have heard them many times.
I stopped by the meat section and attempted to be doing a selection. Heaven knew for sure I wasn’t going to pick any of those packaged meat. The vegetarian bias that I am! There was no way I could’ve put even one item of a meat product into the cart. I was only playing tricks.
The next thing I heard, again, was the dissenting voice of the man. “There you go. Paper towels! You’re always buying paper towels. We can conveniently use napkins to reduce cost.”
“How much does it cost? C’mon! M-a-n, stop trying to be cheap,” the woman countered, adding almost with contempt, “Convenience, convenience. Which is more convenient, paper or napkin?” Meanwhile, she had put a pack of Bounty paper towels into one cart. A pack contains 15 rolls and costs less than ten dollars when on sale.
When a relationship gets to a point where the couple loses their sense of propriety; where they cannot keep their petty squabbles within the confines of their home, then they don’t need to go out shopping together. Why would any civilized couple degrade themselves openly? Unless of course, they’re as immature and socially uncultured as this particular couple I encountered in the store.
It’s very important for such couples to come up with a predetermined list of items they really need. They also need to decide on the quantities to be purchased before they leave home. All the arguing and yelling should be done at home, and preferably in the absence of their children, if they have any.
Needless public display of such raging tendencies among couples is as demeaning as they are unhealthy. Stress and its attendant health problems are the obvious "rewards" to be derived from such relationships.