"Fine, then. We're done," I hissed, slamming the door as I bolted from my boyfriend's dilapidated Chicago apartment.
"Come back, honey!" he yelled. His number blinked on my cell phone as I climbed into my car. I chucked the phone into the back seat and drove without a destination. Hours later, I called and waited for him to apologize.
After eight years and two children, I can't remember what he did. I'm sure it was horrible—something like buying me chocolate for Valentine's Day (I hate candy and he knows it, so he must not understand me at all), or forgetting to ask about a big project I had going on at work (he must not care).
Raucous, dramatic fights like this—me yelling, threatening to end things, and disappearing while he waited for me to simmer down—raged weekly in our early relationship. But as guests in sport coats and tea length dresses cheered our first kiss as man and wife, I realized our fights would have to change. How could I threaten to leave him when I had promised to stay with him forever? How do you know he's serious about saying "it's over"?
By the end of our wedding day, I had already shushed my inner drama queen once—the first step toward learning how to fight like a wife. I kept my mouth shut when he unjustly insisted on paying the driver who showed up with a limo strewn with broken beer bottles. Why "Wife" Is A Dirty Word
It was easy to tell myself I would pick my battles—harder to actually do so. After the wedding, he quit his job so I could work as a newspaper reporter in Florida. While I worked, he filled out a handful of job applications, swam laps in the pool at our apartment complex and served ball after ball on the tennis court. He acquired a tan; I comparison-shopped for the least expensive spaghetti sauce to keep us out of debt.