Please visit our home site at

Anke and I live aboard WAYWARD, and wrote about it's design and construction at

Access to the net comes and goes, so I'll be writing in fits and spurts.Please feel free to browse the archives, leave comments where you will and write... I'll respond as I can.

Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirly gmail daughter com

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Fussin', Fightin' and Working It Out

Calvin and Susie
by Bill Watterson

Now we may fuss and we may fight,
But it ain't like that all the time.
I love her and she loves me...
  Oh my goodness!
    Oh my Gawd!
      Oh my Ruby Pearl!

-- From Ruby Pearl by the Hackensaw Boys

Fussin', Fightin' and Working It Out

Anke and I are quickly approaching that age where folks ask, what's your secret? Old couples most always answer, never go to sleep mad.

In fact, folks have asked us all along the way. Why? Because we live together pretty much round the clock (a very young friend thought both of our names was Davanke),  in itty bitty spaces and build / work on / sail boats. Any one of these can spell deep trouble for a relationship.

We do fuss and we do fight, but it ain't like that all the time.

It doesn't feel like a secret. We just like each other. Okay, we like each other a lot! The rest is easy. But we do have a toolkit.

When we fight, we don't fight hurtful; no blame or tearing down.
We work from good to gooder, and avoid right/wrong, too much/little, good/bad; no disappointment.
We work to get back to talking, rather than fighting;
We work to please both of us; Win-win rather than winner-loser, even for a single round.
We always try to remember we're loved; it never comes in question.

'I' statements help; 'When this happens I feel this or that', rather than 'you make me feel this or that'. 'I feel' this or that rather than 'you are or do this or that'. More accurate and feels better. Takes bite and blame out of expressing or hearing about strong emotions.

Okay, bear with me on this one. We call them false if-thens. They are of the form:

If you do, say, believe, think A, then you must believe, think B.

Sounds logical, right? Logical and outrageous! B is totally offensive and unacceptable! A fight ensues.

Most always wrong. The if-then connection is false - A does not imply B. Once that's sorted out, turns out there is no outrage, no offense. Almost always a perfectly acceptable something else that had nothing to do with that connection. No foul, no problem.

Go through enough rounds of offense taken/offense defused, and it becomes clear that those if-thens are suspect in the extreme.

The most untrue if-then of 'em all? If we fuss 'n fight, then we must not love each other. BS. Obviously.

Fussin' and fightin' don't seem inevitable. It feels like something we're growing out of. We learn that the other is never disappointed, that we have their esteem. We learn to give enough slack that connection is easy. We learn that the other always, always, always has our satisfaction and well being at heart. Always.

Oh, yeah. Never go to sleep mad. That old standby is good advice.But if for some reason you have to, table it and make a date to talk it out at the next opportunity.

So kiss and make up!



  1. 20 years... not the first marriage for either of us.. our secret? Anytime you start to get upset, stop and remind yourself that there is at LEAST a 50/50 chance you are the one who is wrong to start with... so you better re-evaluate your position before you open your mouth. Think long and hard before you say something that cannot be taken back....

    1. Hi TMM,

      Good advice... like "Measure twice, cut once" for relationships!

      Dave Z

  2. BTW,

    Just about the time Anke and I met, a book came out entitled GETTING TO YES.

    Never read it, but just the title is a great mantra/reminder for interpersonal relationships in general. Helps drop the adversarial pose.

    Dave Z