Why having a tiff with your partner is normal

George Clooney and his wife Amal have never had an argument. How can that be true? Kerry Parnell believes it’s pretty healthy to bicker with your partner here and there.

Who in the world never fights with their partner? George Clooney, apparently, who says he and Amal have never had an argument.

Let that statement sink in for a moment: Never. Had. An. Argument. I had to read it three times to understand what those words in that order meant.

“I feel very lucky in so many ways to have met her. We haven’t ever had an argument,” he told People magazine this week.

And just as you are gasping for breath, he follows it up with a sucker punch saying lockdown was a cinch Chez Cloones, on account of them getting on so well.

“You know, everybody’s been slammed together because of the coronavirus and a lot of friends’ relationships have been tested. For us, it’s been really easy,” he said.

Shush, now George. Look, I’m glad you’re happy, but you’re making the rest of us look bad.

It’s one thing saying the moment Amal came into your life, she gave it meaning. That’s really nice, very touching. But when you declare you haven’t had one argument, that’s a whole other level. It’s a little bit, well, weird.

Admittedly, if I was married to George Clooney I probably wouldn’t squabble with him either. I wouldn’t say anything at all ever again, as I’d be speechless.

George and Amal are probably a bit busy fighting for human rights to have a bust-up over who’s steaming the broccoli for their three-year-old twins Alexander and Ella.

But no other squabbles at all? No bickering over biscuits, needling over Netflix or digs over dishwasher-stacking? I feel they’re missing out.

There’s something to be said for a satisfying skirmish. Nothing serious, you understand, just some low-level argy-bargy to maintain one’s position.

After all, if it wasn’t normal, why are there so many words to describe a little set-to; tiff; squabble; quarrel; ruck; ding-dong; bust-up; barney; spat; bicker; rumble. I could go on and on. Ask my other half.

And surely, even if they are of the same political opinions, the perfect couple can’t agree on every single thing in life, from books to TV, movies to music? No irritating rellies and bozo buddies they secretly despise? Wouldn’t that be a bit bland?

The idea of agreeing on everything fills me with horror.

“Differences of opinion and interests can enrich a relationship,” says Relationships Australia.

In which case, my relationship is so enriched it’s like a Christmas cake that’s been maturing in the cupboard for 25 years. Delicious. Or gone off. One of the two.

Thankfully, for all of us miseries, Dolly Parton has come to the rescue with an alternative relationship perspective. This week, the country legend shared the secret of her 54-year marriage, saying she and her husband are frankly sick of each other.

“My husband and I have been together for 57 years and married for 54, and I’m sick of him and I’m sure he’s sick of me,” she told Jessie Ware’s Table Manners podcast.

The singer, 74, married Carl Thomas Dean, 78, in 1966 and he has kept out of the public eye ever since — rarely watching her perform.

They live like Islands In the Stream, you could say, even if it’s Oceans away from George.


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