Well friends, your pal Lauren is back on the blog after being delinquent all summer!
I feel terrible about not writing for so long, but I’ve been busy arguing with my husband about gun control… which isn’t totally true, but it’s a great seque into today’s post.
So. GUNS. I’m coming off a hiatus with GUNS.
Last week was my husband’s birthday. The totally unromantic thing about buying each other birthday presents is that we set the budget together, and usually just end up “giving” each other cash to go toward some bigger purchase, a la Jerry Seinfeld:
Except that we actually like getting cash.
So all summer, he told me that he wanted to buy a gun for his birthday. Most of the time, our conversations about buying a gun went like this:
Him: I want to buy a gun for my birthday.
Him: OK, well I’m going to get one.
Did I miss anything? Hmm, nope. That’s pretty much how all of the conversations went.
Here’s the thing about disagreeing with your spouse: you get married and people tell you to learn how to deal with disagreements, because you’ll have them. It’s an inevitability. And intellectually, you know you’ll have them, and you’ll probably have some bad ones. But deep down, you think that all disagreements will end with one person eventually seeing the other’s person viewpoint. Maybe not right away, but eventually. Either that, or you’ll just decide that it’s not a big deal, and then the disagreement will no longer matter. But you (meaning, me) don’t really think about what will happen when you disagree about something and no matter how much you talk about it or pray about it, you’re just not going to agree for the foreseeable future.
This is the story of a couple two and a half years into marriage who had their first disagreement stand-off, shall we call it.
He, a southerner by birth, and by heart.
She, a not-totally-anti-gun-but-very-very-cautious Henri Nouwen lover.
Why didn’t I want him to buy a gun?
We live in an extremely safe community where most random acts of violence that occur include toilet paper.
Guns in the home are more likely (statistically!) to be used to unintentionally kill/hurt someone than to stop an intruder.
I don’t completely know how I feel – philosophically – about owning a gun. And I do not want to be rushed to figure it out!
Someday soon, we will have small children in our home, and the thought of having babies + guns under a roof makes me antsy. And yes, I understand that a baby cannot open a safe but STILL. I cannot rationalize this fear – it just makes me nervous.
And then the biggest reason: I just. do. not. get. it. Give me $500 and I’ll go buy clothes, or take a trip to see a friend, or buy a boatload of concert tickets. Reasonable purchases, I say – reasonable. The idea of buying a gun just doesn’t compute in my brain. Why would a human ever buy something that they had to keep locked up? It’s this same logic that makes me unable to understand why a person would have a pet snake. If it’s just going to sit in a box, and it has no sentimental value, why would you want it?
And I think this was my biggest hangup.
Because as much as I think our culture has a major gun problem (but that’s a post for another time), my issue with my husband buying a gun isn’t safety. I know this man wouldn’t put my safety at risk, and I know he’ll always protect me. He stood up in front of God and said so!
My issue is that he wants something that I don’t understand.
And so, for a while, I just told him, “too bad – not. gonna. happen,” and secretly hoped he would forget about wanting the gun before his birthday and just ask for a damned Keurig that his wife could enjoy too is that too much to ask geez.
But alas, August 13 creeped closer and closer he never wavered (unwavering obsession being both one of my favorite and most frustrating traits in him).
He was like, “I have birthday money. I’m getting a gun.”
And I was like, “Well I don’t like that decision.”
And then we just looked at each other and I realized, the standoff cannot continue, and I – being the one with the weaker argument – was going to lose. He was to be the Hank to my Walt. (When this season of Breaking Bad ends, I may have to reverse that analogy).
And then I mentally flashed forward to someday having children and disagreeing about some aspect of how to raise them, and I freaked out and then I realized one of the most obvious things in the world:
We are DIFFERENT!
We are different people. For as much as we’re similar and don’t have to argue about so many things because we already agree on them, we have certain opinions that not only differ, but have actual consequences for our daily lives.
Sure, we can disagree on a lot of theoretical issues and/or issues we don’t have much control over (read: politics), but at the end of the day, we often can just agree to disagree and move on. In this case, though, one of us was going to buy a gun and one of us was going to be like, “uh, no. no, no.”
I knew it was not enough for me to relent and say “FINE do what you want.” I had to be an adult and learn to approach this decision with humility and understanding. UGH! Being an adult sucks. I did not WANT to be humble.
So this weekend, I was sitting at my vanity getting ready. I just bought new eyeliner, so I unwrapped it, sharpened it, and started putting it on.
As usual, most of my deep thinking happens while I’m getting ready, so I started thinking about how weird it is that women wear eyeliner. Like, you take this crayon thing, and put a line on the edge or your eyelid. Who came up with this? Why do we do this to ourselves?
And then, it hit me. (I know, this sounds like a bad sermon illustration, but stay with me): I am a human being who has spent a good 33 hours of my life – according to my rough calculations – lining my eyelids. And that’s a conservative estimate. Why do I do it? Because it makes me look better. WHY DOES A LINE ON ONE’S EYE MAKE HER LOOK BETTER? I have no idea. Don’t ask me to answer that.
And I realized: sometimes people just do things because they want to do them. And they have good reasons, but those reasons might not make sense to others. Sometimes, they don’t even have good reasons, but the thing they want isn’t going to harm their spouses so they do it anyway.
But the onus is not always on that person to explain themselves to others – the onus is sometimes on the other person to understand them, and accept their decision even if it’s not what they wanted to hear.
And so, a logical person might say, but Lauren: guns and eyeliner are quite different.
Yes, they are.
But it proves a point: at the ripe age of 26, I’m learning that we are all allowed to be different people, and that we’re supposed to love other people even when we don’t understand them. It doesn’t mean we can’t ask questions and we won’t walk away from discussions with them saying, “what the hell is he thinking…” – it just means we allow people to be themselves and we don’t require them to provide a satisfying explanation for every damn thing they do.
So, I’m trying to remember those words. And the next time you see Dave and I, he’ll probably be a gun owner and I’ll probably be wearing eyeliner.