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  1. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    934
    My husband and I have a very unique relationship dynamic. We agreed at the very beginning that communication was going to be at the core of our relationship; no keeping secrets, no suppressing our feelings, no bottling things up. Just being honest and communicating with each other constantly, no matter how good or bad or trivial the topic. We both have history with relationships in which lack of communication led to alienation and misunderstandings at best, and even in my case, abuse.

    Because of that, we actually argue a lot more than your average couple. We're both really vocal and opinionated, and we forget to act differently in public than we do at home, so if we're in a group and we disagree with each other on some intellectual point, we'll discuss it right then and there, lol. It freaks some people out because they are used to the type of marriage where the couple is afraid to disagree lest that mean the relationship is in jeopardy. I don't like the idea that people think all we do is argue because of the negative connotations that come along with that, but I would never in a million years trade it for one of the sterile relationships of my past where I was just supposed to be a good little girl and nod and smile and never voice my opinion.

    The idea that conflict can be healthy seems really counterintuitive, but in our case it's so true. If one of us is hurt by something the other did or didn't do, we say it. We make all of our family decisions mutually, with lots of thought and discussion. We air out our feelings as soon as they occur (and given that I'm a Leo and he's a Pisces, that is a LOT of feels!) and work through to the point where one (usually both) acknowledges a fault and the other forgives, or we find a successful compromise.

    If at any point we cross over from arguing into fighting, it's usually over really fast. The feelings tend to explode and then in the aftermath we're both devastated that we hurt each other. Tears, apologies, and make-up cuddles immediately ensue. If the issue is important enough that it still needs to be resolved, we'll talk it through in a much calmer, gentler way because we're much more sensitive of each other's feelings after having just hurt them. Half the time, in the aftermath of a fight, we'll decide the issue wasn't even that important, so we each let it go in favor of maintaining our closeness with each other. We just can't stand to have anything between us.

    Like I said, our relationship dynamic is weird. I don't know any other couple in our circles that operates this way, that places as much of an emphasis on feelings and communication. But it works for us. I would never trade it for a relationship that appears fine on the surface but in their hearts, the two are strangers.

    We have no kids yet, so I can't answer to that. Sorry if this is TMI or just totally unhelpful!

    ETA: By fight, I don't mean screaming and throwing things...I mean temper-driven arguments rather than disagreements; the kind where you're lashing out because you're just mad, so you say things you regret. There have been some raised voices and the occasional slammed door, but neither of us have EVER screamed at the other or called them names or gotten physical. Those things are taboo in our house kinda by default.
    Last edited by sleepysessha; September 17th, 2013 at 02:31 PM.
    Zion Nathaniel ~ Solomon Fable ~ Balthazar Wolf ~ Malachi Sparrow nn Kai ~ Tobias Rowan ~ Ender _____ ~ Caspian _____
    Alice Willow ~ Ophelia Fawn or Ophelia Wren ~ Lucia Pearl ~ Eve Wisteria nn Evie ~ and second-guessing River Selene

    GPs
    Cirina Wryn, Narnia Rose, Luna Seraphine, Parthenia Nyx, Astoria, Illyria, Gwyneira, Farasha, Serafina, Senara, Soraya, Faerydae
    Orion Melchior North, Tobias Loki, Edmund, Frost, Oberon, Hawthorne, Kenshin, Bastion, Remiel, Atreyu

  2. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    321
    We rarely disagree to the point of irritation. I think that irritation is actually repressed resentment, and resentment is poison to a relationship. So 1) don't practice irritation, and 2) air these things out. Say "This is starting to irritate me, and I'm afraid I'm moving into resentment, let's clear it up before it goes any farther." Avoid resentment at all costs--not by ignoring it, but by dealing with it--and you'll see the irritation melt away. Also, remember that your partner is not perfect, and that's OK. You don't have to think their failings are "so cute," and you don't have to worry whether you chose the wrong partner because dishes are constantly left in the sink. You (both) need to see the other as an autonomous and authentic human being.

    I think bickering is a bad habit for couples, and we try to avoid it. Bickering, to me, is completely unproductive, and only makes both parties feel worse. My husband and I probably have what could be called a "fight" or "argument" maybe once a month (usually he says, "we're not fighting, we're just talking about this stuff, and it's good that we're talking about it."). Sometimes the discourse can become passionate, but we work really hard to remain respectful of each other and open to hearing what the other is saying. We're not perfect, we fail a lot, but it's something we both constantly work at.

    It is so important to work disagreements out. We are pretty good about bringing things up before they get to the point of resentment, and dealing with them completely. Sometimes we have to agree to disagree, yes, but it's always from a place of respect rather than bitterness. My sweet husband sometimes says to me, when we are both exhausted from disagreement, "no matter what, nothing will change how much I love you." It's the absolute best gift he's given me, because it comes from a place of deep respect, commitment, and love.

    We dated 10 years before getting married (2.5 years married), and we did not live together before marriage. Our rate of fights/arguments/disagreements has remained fairly steady throughout--although I must say, we have not always been so good about addressing issues as they arise. Earlier in our relationship, I especially had a tendency to withhold what was bothering me until it exploded unexpectedly and awkwardly, and he had a tendency to not admit to himself that he was bothered about something until the same thing happened to him. When we got married, there was a significant and sudden change to the nature of our "fights." Because when you're dating (I don't know if this is true for couples who live together/have kids before marriage), there's always that question of "what if this is the fight that breaks us up?" But when you're married, you're committed for the long haul. You don't want to drag all this baggage with you for the next (hopefully!) 65 years, so you try to neutralize problems before they become chronic. I remember shortly after getting married, we were in the middle of an important decision and I didn't like the way he was leaning, and he said, "I need you to support me on this" and I realized...I'm his WIFE. Wives support their husbands always but ESPECIALLY when they are feeling out on a limb and needing some support. And vice versa, of course--but as it was ultimately his decision (work related), I realized that more important to me than getting what I wanted was having a husband who felt 100% supported at home.

    We have some reoccurring issues, some new issues. Usually the new issues have some basis in our "core" weaknesses (my insecurity and callousness, his avoidance and rationalizing), but again--since we try not to let small issues become big issues, that is a little bit to be expected. Marriage, more than anything--except maybe parenthood, once it arrives--challenges me to be a better person. My husband told me once, as I was attacking myself in a bout of self-pity, "Don't say those awful things about yourself, because you are my wife, and when you say those things about yourself, you are saying them about me." It absolutely blew my mind. We are one unit now, not two, so there's a lot of responsibility that goes along with that. If he's leaving dirty dishes in the sink, I have two options. 1) Shame him directly or indirectly for being a slob. 2) Recognize the role I'm playing in his behavior in my lack of authentic communication about how it bothers me. Work on what I can actually change (myself), and trust him as the responsible man I married to actually respond to me.

    So I guess it all comes down to: avoid resentment, practice respect and responsibility.
    Current favorites: Olive, Louise/Louisa, Magdalene/Madeline, Phillipa, Talitha, Mallory, Blythe, Eliza, Mercy, Talia; Calvin, Charles, Gideon, Abram, Jude, Reuben, George, Reid, Clark, Holden.

  3. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    934
    capturedcastle – I don't want to quote your entire post, but I agree with all of it! You explained things way better than I did, haha. Granted, I think my husband and I take more of an emotional approach, but for the most part we handle things in the same way. My husband says the same thing about our disagreements having nothing to do with his love for me, and I find it very validating. He also tells me, "I'm not afraid of your emotions," which is very meaningful for me, because past relationships and family experiences had taught me that crying was manipulative and disgusting, and if I wanted to be understood, I had to remove all emotion from the equation and express myself logically and rationally. So my husband giving me "permission" to be emotional, and being willing to express his own emotions to me, is one of the most healing things anyone has ever done for me.
    Zion Nathaniel ~ Solomon Fable ~ Balthazar Wolf ~ Malachi Sparrow nn Kai ~ Tobias Rowan ~ Ender _____ ~ Caspian _____
    Alice Willow ~ Ophelia Fawn or Ophelia Wren ~ Lucia Pearl ~ Eve Wisteria nn Evie ~ and second-guessing River Selene

    GPs
    Cirina Wryn, Narnia Rose, Luna Seraphine, Parthenia Nyx, Astoria, Illyria, Gwyneira, Farasha, Serafina, Senara, Soraya, Faerydae
    Orion Melchior North, Tobias Loki, Edmund, Frost, Oberon, Hawthorne, Kenshin, Bastion, Remiel, Atreyu

  4. #12
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    6,610
    We've only been married for 2 1/2 years so maybe it'll be different in a few years, but we really don't "fight". I'm not the screaming type and neither is he.
    We get irritated with each other every once in a while (max once a week I'd say, usually stuff that can just be let go), and we've had a couple tense conversations--sort of "this has bothered me and I don't feel like I can just let it go and I need to express this, please listen" with explanations between us. We've yet to come to something where we outright have opposite opinions and a mutual decision needs to be made. Not looking forward to it, but I think we've got a firm respect for each other that will help us weather eventual larger disagreements.

    Regarding "fighting" being good for you.....I don't know. I think it depends on your personality. Irritation and disagreement with respectful words may be one couples form of fighting, but not work at all for another. Another couple may be able to handle much louder and angrier fights without it tearing them apart. I just don't think it's necessarily fact that if you don't fight your relationship is unhealthy. Sure bottling things up and never discussing anything negative isn't a good thing, but some people simply have less dramatic personalities and don't need to take things as far or they haven't run into issues where they're unable to find common ground quickly.

    Re: @Capturedcastle irritation/resentment
    I agree with you about dealing with things before they get to the point of resentment.
    It's a fine line knowing how far to let things go before it's something worthy of being mentioned. What should just be grace and not a big deal and what can you not stand if it keeps happening.
    Last edited by kala_way; September 17th, 2013 at 03:06 PM.
    Livy/Lucy : Geneva/Gwen : Coralie/Alice : Noelle/Eve
    Eli/Bennett : Jude/Zane: Luke/Leo : Levi/Phineas


  5. #14
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Orange County, CA
    Posts
    321
    @sleepysessha - thank you! I really admire your more "emotional" approach as well...I grew up in an environment where emotions were invalid, so it's been a lot of work to get to where I am right now. The thought of being completely open absolutely terrifies me; thank goodness I have a lifetime with a trusted partner to work on peeling back those layers one by one, and the more I do it, the more I realize it is not scary but powerful and healing.

    @kayla_way - yes "grace" is such an appropriate word!
    Current favorites: Olive, Louise/Louisa, Magdalene/Madeline, Phillipa, Talitha, Mallory, Blythe, Eliza, Mercy, Talia; Calvin, Charles, Gideon, Abram, Jude, Reuben, George, Reid, Clark, Holden.

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