It's up to you to do this right.
But what people won’t tell you is that marriage is REALLY all about fighting. Or, at least, knowing how to fight the right way.
Because fighting is a vital part of any marriage. It’s something that’s just going to happen. It’s unavoidable. There’s simply no way you can open up your life and your heart to one person for the rest of eternity and not occasionally want to kill each other.
When you love someone, you care enough about them to WANT to fight with them. You give enough of a damn about them that they can make you angrier than anyone else in your life, which is a dual-edged sword, to say the least.
However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any rules when it comes to fighting in a marriage. There are. You can’t go all scorched-earth on someone who’s pledged to love you forever. It’s careless. It’s not fair.
When I fight, I get loud. My volume gets turned to eleven, my face goes red, and I start making big, sudden hand gestures. I’m a blustery, big-mouth jerk when I get angry, but I also blow myself out quickly. I explode… and then everything is fine.
I don’t hold grudges. I don’t like prolonged bouts of anger. My pressure valve erupts and then I’m done.
My wife, on the other hand, couldn’t be more different in terms of how she fights.
She gets QUIET, scary quiet.
She broods. She turns cold. If I let off pressure in one big burst, she releases her anger at a slow, steady, deliberate pace, like a gas leak that can kill you in your sleep.
And, early on in our marriage, we fought more about our fighting styles than the topics we were actually arguing about.
She’d constantly reprimand me for my volume. She’d exaggeratedly flinch every time I gestured with my hands. I yelled at her for not talking our problems out. Or I’d resent how she’d make our fights stretch out over days upon days rather than just having it out in one big burst.
Eventually, we realized how stupid we were being. We’d been together for a long time. We knew each other. I was going to yell and she was going to brood. Getting mad about that would be like getting mad at the sun for setting. It’s just what happens.
So, instead, we started to work on our own attitudes towards fighting.
I knew my volume was an issue for my wife, so, even though I can’t always control it, I made an effort to rein it in and she could tell. I stopped getting frustrated with her for clamming up when we argued. I knew that trying to force her to talk was pointless and that I should just walk away and give her some time.
We learned how to accommodate our differing fighting styles and, once we accepted how each other fought, we found ourselves fighting A LOT less. And the fighting that we do now gets resolved so much quicker than it used to.
Yes, when you’re married, you have to learn how to do the other person’s laundry and how to deal with their families and things like that, but I can’t stress how important it is to learn how to fight properly with your spouse.
It’s one of the most important things you can learn when you’re married. Because if you can’t learn how to live with your partner when you’re at your worst, how can you ever expect to spend the rest of your lives together?
Fights happen, so don’t try to avoid them. Just learn how to fight smarter.