Opinion: Dying to win an argument


A woman who keeps quiet during an argument with her husband is four times more likely to die from heart disease, according to an article in the journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, something I don’t generally read, but my doctor’s office lobby had a choice of that or a 1993 Reader’s Digest.

So, if I argue with my wife, I’m a boorish brute. But if she argues with me, she’ll live longer? More and more women will begin taking issue with their husbands’ point of view in the hopes of staying healthy. This puts men in a tough spot. My favorite phrase to Mary Ellen, “Would it kill you to agree with me for a change?” has a new meaning.

This journal also claimed that drinking several cups of coffee a day is good for you, only months after the same publication said coffee causes heart disease. For a long time, they also said it was tea that is good for you, so now I’m drinking both tea and coffee four times a day, just to be sure. I might not live longer, but since I can never fall asleep, it will certainly feel longer.

My wife and I have argued about some odd stuff through the years (argue is the wrong word. Mary Ellen doesn’t want readers to think we don’t get along). We talked about this the other day as our voices got louder and we shook our fingers at each other. In the end, I would have said I lost the argument, but now I know I simply got annihilated in a friendly discussion.

We have debated just about everything in our 42 years of marriage: How to eat popcorn; when to nap; how to load a dishwasher; how to cook a scrambled egg. We once debated whether my mother knew how to raise children. I thought my mom had done a pretty good job, but I must admit, Mary Ellen provided some strong proof to the contrary. Me!

I must not be a good debater, because I lose exchanges even if I present facts. For example, I was sure this past July was my wife’s 71st birthday, but she claimed she was only 67. I knew she was just kidding, but I liked the challenge and the chance to win an argument. I asked to see her passport and her driver’s license to bolster my position.

“Not only that, Mary Ellen, but I’m 75 and when we got married, I was four years older than you,” I said. “That hasn’t changed.”

“Oh, Dick, you’re living in the past. That was 42 years ago.”

She keeps reminding me that if she digs in and holds her ground in a disagreement, she will live to a ripe old age.

“Dick, don’t you always want me to be around to take care of you?”

No argument there.