About a century ago, when I was first married, I was chatting with another newlywed woman in our neighborhood and the subject of fighting came up. She proceeds to tell me that she had thought she and her husband would never fight. As I start to giggle because I think she is making a joke (I'm thinking this girl is HILARIOUS - no fighting! Ha! Good one!) I happen to glance over at her somber face and realize this was no attempt at humor. Her statement had been made with all the earnestness of a kid on Santa's lap. Like a deer in the headlights I spend the next thirty seconds in shocked silence desperately trying to figure out how to play this gaffe off but eventually give up and just stammer, "Really?"
When I got home that evening my husband asked me if I had a good time with our neighbor. To which I replied, "She and her husband are going to get a divorce."
Now don't get me wrong, fighting with your adult partner like you did with your eight grade boyfriend is not normal. So if that is going on in your household just cut it out. But there isn't one strong marriage out there that hasn't had a dark time or two. And don't give me this crap that your grandmother and grandfather never fought because it's not that they didn't it's just that you were so young when it happened you were easily fooled. Let's face it, when you were seven you were much more invested in your Easy Bake Oven than what was happening in the adult relationships around you.
So if everyone is doing it why do we never really hear about it. Or you tend to hear about it only after the storm has passed and your friend and her husband have kissed and made up. I think it has something to do with the fact that no matter how much our logical brains tell us that fighting is "okay, healthy, and necessary" our guts are twisted up in the same puke inducing knots that we'd experience if we had to speak publicly - naked.
So next time you and your partner are getting heated - and not in a sexy way - just try to remember:
1. This too shall pass
2. Once you've both gotten it all off your chest, let it go.
3. Don't be afraid to say you are sorry first - even if you are right (which as women we always are). Because you probably are sorry about the way you said what needed to be said - even if technically you were right.
4. Tell a friend about it. This will make you feel better because chances are you and your girlfriend will dissolve into giggles over the creative names you thought up for your partner. But even more importantly, it shines a light on the fact that fighting once in a while is part of every relationship. It doesn't mean the end is nigh and you will get through it - especially if you throw a little laughter in there and aren't afraid to be the bigger person.
And just remember fighting doesn't typically lead to divorce - it's unmet and unrealistic expectations that do. Take a lesson from my former neighbors, who've been divorced about ten years now.
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